Thursday, August 10, 2006

Americans in Paris at the Museum of Fine Arts

I went to the Americans in Paris show at the Museum of Fine Arts tonight. Me and Tommy and our friend Harold Prenatt had such good fortune - it was a quiet night at the MFA. No giant, TALKY crowds - and only a few people with the self-guided tour headsets that squawked "DID YOU JUST HEAR THAT" (Uh, duh - she was listening to the same tour as you Mr. Man in powder blue Penguin shirt with eyeglass case clipped into the pocket and beige health shoes.) Anyway - the show is officially called "Americans in Paris, 1860 - 1900" and it was gorgeous. The show was hung & lit beautifully and represented many wonderful artists.

Many of the artists from this important time in American art were on the walls: John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassat, James Abbot McNeil Whistler and Winslow Homer. Harold remarked, and I too was surprised at the number of women artists represented. Two that stood out for me were Cecilia Beaux and Ellen Day Hale.

What a delightful not-weekend treat. It was such a time of elegance and everything is framed so beautifully. I spent a lot of time looking at the amazing frames - some original to the time of the paintings, some reframed - but done well. Everyone enjoyed the show at their own pace and we all met up in the final room of paintings before you exit to the special exhibit gift shop.
After the show we had a light repast and a sip of wine in the downstairs cafe -

my compliments to the chef and staff. They feature themed plates now, so Harold and I had the New England plate which featured a tasty bowl of New England Clam Chowder, a mini lobster roll in a perfectly toasted bun and roasted chicken and cranberries on real brown bread. Just enough food to be happy, not so much you would feel guilty. Tommy had the Spanish plate with olives, Manchego cheese, figs, Spanish almonds and Serrano ham. Delish.

In the gift shop I bought a totally uncalled for "Americans in Paris" tin of mints featuring Whistler's Mother on the top. I'll send those to Watson in New York who will call and laugh at me. The young lady in the gift shop was totally into the gag - she gave me a gift box for the mints! Watson will laugh even harder when he finds out I tossed a coin between buying him the Whistler's Mother mints or the tea towel.

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