When it’s this gloomy all day, –when there is no sense that there has ever been a sun, –ever will be a sun, I miss places where the sun was guaranteed: Provence Hawaii
Turns out that memories of the American West for me are also light-filled. My own images from early trips there did not involve electronic cameras. However, at the Princeton University Art Museum just now, there is a splendid array of The Moderns from the Phillips (Gallery, of Washington, D.C.) My favorite museum in the capital, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips’ own home, — this haven proves a gateway to the paintings of Bonnard. No one, –not even Matisse–, equaled this artist, who had lived one hill over from me in my life in Cannes. Especially, no one seemingly has even attempted light in mimosa, such as he so magnificently evoked in canvas after canvas.
To my delight, amongst European moderns, such as Picasso and Braque, there is a high proportion of American art. Even a Georgia O’Keeffe I do not know — with a torn red leaf asserting its power despite having been altered… One of my all-time favorite of our artists is ‘our Turner’, Thomas Moran. His views in Yellowstone National Park involve all the senses, so that we can nearly hear his waterfalls.
The West was never easy for me — whether sightseeing or skiing. Coming from the storied East, where most mountains and rivers involved our War of Independence, and even the tragedy mis-named Civil War – I often felt as dwarfed as the figures in this scene of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Moran dared another favorite site, Venice. I remember light there, also, dazzling, more than doubled by all those wrinkling canals. Especially the Easter morning when I stood alone in St. Mark’s Square, in absolute silence, even to the pigeons. I hadn’t realized that all the bells of Venice had been silenced on Good Friday, when we’d arrived. At the moment of dawn, all the bells began their clamor. The birds rose as one, swirled like sandpipers, in grey clouds, imitating the DNA spiral. Church bells and wings and the light of a Venice dawn…
Master of Venice, indeed. But Moran was most at home in the American West.
And I learned, anew, that one place where one can count on light is inside any art museum, no matter what is going on outdoors in any season.
Thomas Moran Country
This man can find light even in the most formidable mountain passes.
Moran’s Dawn at Sea — favorite experience, whether crossing on the France, the Mary, or the QEII.