Monday, December 19, 2011

almost paris, la deuxieme partie

I never thought that I would ever be face-to-face with the masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay. I was close enough to touch them, and in fact there were quite a few times that my nose was just a centimeter or two away from the glass protecting the paintings. Plus the National Museum of Singapore allows photography-- woohoo!

My pictures are just a pale shadow of those works, though. The colors, the techniques, the scale, the subject matters, the overall FEEL-- overwhelming, incomparable and beyond description. Me so happy to be there.

The Cardplayers, oil on canvas, 1890-1895, by Paul Cezanne.

Dancers Climbing a Staircase, oil on canvas, 1886-1890, by Edgar Degas.

A Box at the Theatre des Italiens, oil on canvas, 1875-1878, by Eva Gonzales.

Stadhouderskade or Going Fishing, pastel, watercolour and charcoal, 1898-1900, by Piet Modrian.

Whenever I see or hear "Renoir", it reminds me of Duran Duran's '80s anthem The Reflex which goes "I sold the Renoir and the TV set..."

Young Boy with a Cat, oil on canvas, 1868-1869, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

It took a monumental effort to resist tracing the brushstrokes with my fingers.

There are other works in the exhibition which are not as famous, but no less stupendous.

The Birth of Venus, oil on canvas, 1863, by Alexandre Cabanel.

The King's Daughter, oil on canvas, 1865-1866, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

The Young Girl and Death, oil on canvas, 1908, by Marianne Stokes.

The Harvest or Breton Landscape, oil on wood, 1888, by Emile Bernard.

War or The Cavalcade of Discord, oil on canvas, 1894, by Henri Rousseau.

Venus in Paphos, oil on canvas, 1852-1853, by Jean-Auguste Dominique.

Summer Night, oil on canvas, 1890, by Winslow Homer.

Besides paintings, there were prints, photographs and all sorts of oeuvres-- hundreds and hundreds of pieces.

The Last Task of the Day, black and coloured crayons on vellum paper, 1891, by Giovanni Segatini.

The Weaver's Workshop in Dinan (Brittany), charcoal on sepia paper, 1893, by Léon Lhermitte.

But if I had to choose just one as my favorite (excluding Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh which is in a class of its own), it would be this lovely 125.5 x 91.5 cm oil painting by English artist Steer. Doesn't look like much, but I was totally blown away. I could have stared at it for hours.

Young Woman on the Beach or Young Woman on the Jetty, oil on canvas, 1886-1888, by Philip Wilson Steer.

Tips: Try to join the free guided tours. I just love listening to the museum docents' different points of view. My guide on the 11am tour on 9 December 2011 was an elegant Chinese lady in a Chanel jacket, who showed us a picture of a Mondrian-inspired dress by Yves Saint Laurent on her Blackberry. Afterwards, I rented the audio guide for S$3 and just took my time browsing... until they kicked me out at 6pm.

Note: The white dots on my photos are the museum's spotlights reflected on the glass. The little green rectangle is a reflection of the "Exit" sign.

Dreams & Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing & Photography from the Musée d'Orsay Paris runs from 26 October 2011 to 5 February 2012 at the National Museum of Singapore. The exhibition is open from 10am to 6pm everyday, except Saturdays from 10am to 8pm.


  1. Wow, one of my hopes is to see these in person too. You're so lucky.

  2. :-) yes, the timing of my trip to singapore was perfect.