Friday, January 18, 2013

toulouse, toulouse

We had planned this day together back in November.  It would start with a visit to the DMA for the Posters of Paris exhibit, touting Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries.  From the Arts District we would head over to Toulouse CafĂ© and Bar which I thought at the end of the day, would make for a nice meal and a most clever blog post.  "toulouse, toulouse"!

Life in Paris at the turn of the century was well documented with over one hundred pieces on display.  The poster era began with Jules Cheret, as did the exhibit, his large colorful prints the first you see when you enter.  One in particular turned out to be my favorite of all; Frascati, masked ball at the Frascati dance hall, the intriguing depth drawn three rooms deep.

Others followed: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, Jacques Villon, Georges de Feure, Jules Alexandre Grun, and more.

Spoke and I strolled through the images of Paris society, played out in the streets and behind closed doors.  Literary, entertainment and consumer trends were depicted in the poster collection and gave a glimpse into Parisian life at that time.

After the show, I ducked into the museum store to buy a couple of postcards, an enjoyable post-exhibit routine.  The card above, La Maison Moderne, was from a lithograph by the graphic artist Manuel Orazi, commissioned as an advertisement, the model and her surroundings showcasing jewelry, art, and home furnishings for the Paris store. 

My eye fell on another card, a Manet; Vase of White Lilacs and Roses which is part of the DMA's permanent Wendy and Emery Reves collection.  Off we went to the third floor so I could feast my eyes on it.

The Reves collection is huge, five rooms, rich re-creations of the couple's La Pausa villa with art by Cezanne, van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin, Monet, Degas, Rodin...  Spoke stayed near the entrance studying an array of pieces from Southeast Asian while I took off in search of the oil painting.

By late afternoon we were weary travelers, having gone from Paris nearly around the world, and the appeal of "toulouse, toulouse" had faded though the exquisite exhibit will stay with us for a long time. 

Instead, we headed toward home and stopped for Thai.

Posters of Paris; Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries
October 14, 2012 - January 20, 2013
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood Street, Dallas, Texas 75201

Saturday, January 12, 2013

more like a piece of him

I received an email from a friend today, with an attachment; 100 Great Photographs.  Since a hundred is an awful lot to view, I'm going through them a few at a time.

This is #95.  It is the old Metropolitan Opera House. 

The stage curtain was gold, almost bronze, the fabric patterned.

I've framed a swatch of it, a gift from my dad which was included in the Opening Nights At The Met gala's promotional recording he purchased when the opera house moved to Lincoln Center. 
It hurts that I can't show him this photograph and once again hear about his evenings at the old Met.  He saw many operas there, even met a few of the stars.  Those were happy days for him.

I'm going to try to be happy tomorrow for he'd want it that way. 

I'm thinking I'll spend the afternoon listening to one of his favorites, Puccini's La Boheme or Verdi's La Traviata. Either will make me cry, I know.  I'll just pretend the tears are for Mimi or Violetta.

National Archive Photo
Metropolitan Opera House

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

taking down

And I notice you in children's games
In those who watch you from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer

On display since May, Chihuly glass sculptures added sparkle and awe to the arboretum during a sizzling, dry summer.  But when fall arrived, I preferred the gardens be adorned with only pumpkins. 

Still I notice you when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what's to come
You are autumn

Fall may be my favorite season; something to do with brisk but sunny days, happy pumpkins everywhere, plump crab cakes offered on our Thanksgiving table.  I cannot fill my house or heart with enough pumpkins; classic orange, cream colored, scarlet, even pale, smoky blues!

I've tried the past few years to purchase pumpkins early, knowing before I'm willing, I'll be forced to discard them, the neighborhood Christmas lights and abundant yard art will suddenly surround, shaming me even before November has become December.


I took down pumpkins from shelves and bookcase crannies and the front concrete planter they shared with nubby gourds. 

Spoke took down the three green tubs that store those objects which transform a Thanksgiving house into a Christmas house; beautiful ornaments to admire, tapestry stockings to hang, and cherished Christmas books placed within reach, books like Gift of the Magi and A Child's Christmas in Wales. 

On New Year's Eve, we let down our hair.

Soon after, we took down Christmas.

Despite daytime temps hovering in the forties, Dallas air can feel like bitter twenties if it's cloudy and windy, which is why I declined the arboretum's recent public invitation to watch the Chihuly sculptures be taken down.

Chihuly with pumpkins at Thanksgiving and at Christmas and at New Year's was overwhelming; too many gifts, too much I say.  I was ready to see them go.

I've waited for empty January days to arrive, anxious to see the arboretum bare, so on the beautifully bright and crisp Sunday past, I did just that. 

Much had been taken down.  

The park was spacious, sparse, and subtle.  Spectacular! 

It won't be long before we'll have to take down the beautiful flocked tree which still stands proudly in our house at the window, reminding us there's much more winter yet to come.

And everything in time and under Heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white
All creation shivers underneath

This season too will pass and I'll head back to the gardens, ready to celebrate a different excess; that which spring will bring.

And everything that's new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
And what was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green.

Every Season, Nichole Nordeman