For the most part, I had the entire museum to myself today, except a delightful couple I met, a school group, and some pretty bad smelling people. As an aside: I’ve heard people talk before about how bad people in Europe smell, and I’ve never ever had that experience. When I coached in Germany, my little girls smelled ripe sometimes, but I think that they were just too young to bathe everyday. But, no joke, a lot of people smell bad in France, but I don’t see anybody caring. I went to a Moroccan restaurant where the owner himself waited on me. He was the nicest guy, and gave great service, but he smelled really bad. When he brought my food, I wasn’t sure which I was smelling…him or the food. But, the restaurant was packed, and no one else seemed to mine, so I didn’t either. Funny the differences you experience.

Anyway the museum here is absolutely terrific, and everything that I would have hoped for. I couldn’t have been happier today. I had an amazing world class museum, and I had it all to myself for the most part. Happy, happy, happy.

I learned from, and of a great many new artists today; well knew to me anyway. And, got to see some obscure works by some of my favorite artists some famous, and some not so much. I am smiling right now as I type this. I really had a great day.

Nobody, but nobody painted flowers like Fantin-Latour. Man, he was great. You can just feel the petals. His people are sometimes hit and miss, but his flowers are amazing. This piece, in my opinion, is one of his best. There was also one of his most successful figurative pieces there too. A real delight to see both.

Some totally obscure artist that I’ve never heard of, but wow what a piece. The over all “feel” of the wetness of this day that he painted was palpable. Also, there are a lot of little “in-jokes” embedded in the piece. It was very fun to let the story unfold in the piece, it was kind of like watching a movie, you could reverse and go forward and catch all the little nuances that you missed the first time round. Very cool. It gave the painting a 4th dimension.

This self-portrait by Nicolas Sicard was powerful. You could feel the gravitas of his stare. The paint was nice and loose, but when you stepped back it all pulled together. Superb piece.

I’d never heard of this painter before, Jean-Claude Bonneford, probably because he spent his entire life in Lyon. But, wow what a painter!!! When I first walked in the room I thought in might be a Bouguereau that I didn’t know about. The museum has about 5 of his works, and they are all this good. Absolute control of the brush, paint, and the drawing.

Here is another by someone that could paint circles around idiots like Manet and Renoir, yet totally unknown. There is no justice in the art world.

Architecture and landscape are not my strongest assets YET, but man did I get a great schooling from this guy Fleury Richard. The museum probably had around 12 works by him, and one unfinished piece that made it really easy to see how he pulled off such strong pieces. I think I made some great mental strides forward based upon studying this man’s approach.

On the other hand, I have absolutely no clue how to paint like this. I sat their for 20 minutes trying to figure out how he painted this lace, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. There are other parts of the painting, that I understand, but this lace…forget it. Amazing.

Ha ha!!! I was so happy to find this piece. This is a head study by Pierre Subleyras, the painter who so impressed me with the monumental piece in the Louvre. This is a head study for the one of the guys in that big painting, and is painted to scale. Such a great sight to see how this guy pulled together that big piece, and so informative too, it taught me a great couple of lessons. Interesting and of note, notice that the entire work was done with round brushes, yet has a broken brushwork approach, similar to the flat brush using impressionists.

Here we are again with our old buddy Phillipe De Champainge. The Louvre has 2 other versions of this same painting, and all three are different sizes. Man, if you got a good thing going, don’t stop. I love too how he gives this guy this pastel stylish sandal. Yeah, that is the sandal of fisherman! I’m sure that foot and sandal just trekked all the way to Jerusalem for Passover! But, man can the guy paint!

Finally, a revisit to our old friend Barocci. This head was quickly done when he was younger, and still following others’ way of doing things. It doesn’t have the characteristic blue under ground and undertones. But, having never seen this work before, it was like being able to say “HI” to an old friend.

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