Thursday, September 20, 2012

friends and strangers

There's instant gratification for those who enter the Dallas Museum of Art from Harwood Street; the Jackson Pollock painting Cathedral, 1947, hangs on the left wall.

I've a fascination with Pollock's work; how the method in the madness produced such intricately balanced paintings.  In Cathedral, lace meets lunacy in my mind's eye.

My friends and I talk about such things when we get together, our enthusiasm making up for our limited knowledge.  Such fun it is though and how often these interesting conversations seem to take on a life of their own and continue in time, in wonderfully unexpected ways. 

At Ann's on one of our wine sipping evenings together, I brought a magazine article which featured a painting by Edouard Vuillard titled The Little Restaurant.  I had been instantly and intensely drawn to the painting the night I saw it, my socked feet resting on the coffee table, Jeannie Bryson singing softly in the background. 

My attraction was puzzling for aside from Madonnas, angels, and one sketchy Picasso drawing, there are no people in the art on the walls of our house.  I'd see them as strangers and though senseless, I can't bring myself to welcome them into our home.  (I may one day make an exception for Renoir's Dance at Bougival because my mother loved it and when I look at it, I think of her.)

Passing the magazine to them, Cindy thrilled when she recognized the artist's name and she then told us of an excursion she took many years ago with her cousin Monta who is a very talented artist.  It was a clubby bus tour of private homes in San Antonio and though some details have faded, Cindy recalled the striking presence of a huge painting by Edouard Vuillard in one young woman's home. 

That was interesting enough and the coincidence might have ended there but as seems to happen with our trio, it didn't. 

A few weeks later, I was in the Dallas Museum of Art gift shop, passing time before an event by stocking up on correspondence cards.  They've a great collection of cards, some featuring the museum's own collection and some of world famous art.  I mail the cards to friends for all occasions but I also like to prop a few favorites around the house. 

That night I spotted in the rack, a card from the museum's permanent collection; The Little Restaurant by Edouard Vuillard!

I couldn't rush to locate the painting that night but I bought three cards, one for each of us.  Mine rests on a kitchen counter ledge, a muted peek into a lovely cafe, diners' faces (thankfully) blurred but a clear reminder of how connected I feel to these dear friends.

Edouard Vuillard, The Little Restaurant, 1894
Dallas Museum of Art, oil on board
The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985

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