It seems that I always have luck on trips like these, and everything seems to just fall into place the way it was meant to be as long as you bend like the reed, or as Chaz has taught me, water can tear down mountains as long as it continues to flow. Stagnant water soon becomes pusillanimous. So I decided to follow my folly, and go next to Bouguereau’s birthplace; La Rochelle. It is located on the Atlantic about 4 hours train ride from Paris. It was formerly the jumping off point for anyone bound for America bound. I’ll wave across the pond at you.

Today I went to a couple different museums, some good…some crap! If anyone can explain to me why Renoir is even discussed as a viable artist, and make me believe it I will give you $100. God, there is a sucker born every minute. Thank the heavens, I have a pass that gets me into the museums without waiting in line. If I had to wait for THAT I would be pissed. But at the Musee de L’Orangerie they do have Monet’s Epic “Water Lily” paintings. They aren’t the best painted things, but that wasn’t the point. They surround you encompass you, and make you feel as if you were there standing on his little bridge in his garden in Giverney, and you feel it. I think it could be done better, but hell I like them. I’ve stitched the photos together so you can see the entire painting. There are eight paintings all together, these are just two, both are about 50 feet long and 7 feet tall. They are presented in to elliptical rooms, one painting I’ve straightened out, the other gives you a sense of proportion.

After that I went the Musee Jacquemart-Andre. It is a private museum, but what a nice collection they have. I was fortuntate enough to not only see the works that they possess which include David, several Winterhalter, Chardin, Reynolds, 4 Rembrandt, Quentin Del La Tour, 4 Van Dycks, Vigee-Lebrun, several Tiepolo’s, and many others. This is one of their finer Rembrandts.

There was also an exhibition being held there of a private collection of Spanish art from a Mexican collector. The pieces were astoundingly good. The show was called El Greco to Dali. They had several excellent Murillo’s, Riberas, Picasso, Gris, Dali’s, and others, but the pieces that stole the show were the Sorolla’s. Here are some of the highlights.

This Murillo is so simple, yet so elegant. The man could certainly draw.

This Sorolla blew me away. It is a small piece, maybe 14 x 20 inches. But composition wise, it is a masterpiece. So smart. A simple rule of thirds and hourglass comp, but how well it works. Like Sargent he places the darkest dark on the third, so wonderful.

This Sorolla though was the show stealer. It is a masterpiece in composition. It uses inverted triangle, rule of thirds, and phi, golden mean, Fibonacci number sequence what have you. He balances the color composition well too. Purple vs. yellow, and Red vs. Blue. No orange is used at all, and he uses a green stripe that runs diagonally down the painting. I saw this in some other works as well. Really heady stuff.

This morning I went for an hour long run. Man it has been so long since I’ve run that long, and it felt great. I ran all the way down to center of the city and back. Along the way I discovered the Louis Pasteur Monument. I never really thought about it until I saw the monument, but really, he is really responsible for saving millions of lives.

I also ran to the Hotel des Invalides. Which is basically an VA hospital/retirement home. At one time there 60,000 soldiers living/dying there. It was the first such edifice of its kind, and because of it, the enrollment in the arm dramatically increased when you knew if you lost your leg or arm, someone would take care of you. It is a beautiful building.