Paris masters at the NGA – worth the wait

Much has been said about the long queues at the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. We waited for less than an hour but it was worth it to see some of the magnificent artworks from Cezanne, van Goph and gang. Impressionists, neo-impressionists, after impressionism – it was all very impressive. And let’s not forget the symbolism.

Pual Serusier's Still Life: The Artist's Studio – one of the masterpieces at the National Gallery of Australia exhibition 2009–10

Six rooms at the National Gallery were dedicated to the exhibition of works from the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. Some of the more well-known works such as Starry Night by van Goph were featured on prints for sale in the very large shopping space adjacent to the exhibition (the seventh room). The crowds jostled and fought to grab everything from mugs covered in art works to socks and, did I see correctly, underwear?

I am no expert on art – the closest I have come is to study photographic composition. Brush strokes and clever painting techniques are not my thing. Is the painting beautifully balanced? Does it evoke some emotion? Does it make a statement? These are the  things I think about when looking at art.

Toulouse-Lautrec's Rousse, La Toilette at the NGA for the Masterpieces of Paris Exhibition 2009–10

I found several I have not seen before that I loved. At the top of my list was Paul Serusier’s Still Life: the artist’s studio, then Toulouse Lautrec’s Rousse (La toilette).

What a great thing art is for the human spirit. The success of this exhibition shows that people of all walks of life and of all ages, will make the effort to see truly wonderful art. I loved it and hope to see these works and more, perhaps in Paris at the Musee D’Orsay!

If you miss the exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, you can see the paintings as arranged room by room at the NGA on Google Images.

The exhibition is on until 18 April 2010. Best option is to purchase tickets on line at the National Gallery of Australia website. It saves time in the queue.

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