My Reminiscences of events, old and new, and travels, far and near
Friday, September 27, 2013
An Exhibition in Atlanta
While reading up on local Atlanta events for the month of September, I saw that, starting September 8th, 2013, and running through December 8th, 2013, Oglethorpe University was having a special exhibition in their Museum of Art. It is called "Picasso, Braque & Leger: 20th Century Modern Masters" and includes 80 works of lithographs, etchings and aquatints by these painters. I drove by Oglethorpe University many times but never really visited the campus - just seen the campus on old postcards.
Sunday 8th September was a sunny and warm day so we decided to visit this exhibition. It opened at noon but we went a bit early so we could walk around the university. Arriving close to 11 am the campus looked deserted, or asleep, which was nice for photo taking.
Oglethorpe University is a small liberal arts college which was chartered by the state of Georgia in 1835 and started operations in 1838 with four faculty members and 25 students in a small town near Milledgeville, which was then the capital of Georgia. It was named in honor of James Oglethorpe, the founder of the state of Georgia. Because its students enrolled in the Civil War the university was closed in 1862 and the buildings were used for barracks and hospitals. In 1913 it was re-chartered and building started in 1915 on Peachtree Road in Atlanta its present location on the 100-acre (0.40 km2) campus. Several of the buildings, in Gothic style architecture, and the stadium are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The university is also home to the Georgia Shakespeare Theatre Company. (Click on collages twice to enlarge.)
It was quite warm that Sunday but the breeze under the large old trees helped. We walked around on the beautifully kept lawn. We did see one student on a bicycle and later on another one talking on her cell phone. We took several breaks and sat in the armchairs or benches which are plentiful.
While my husband sat in another armchair under a large tree, a Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) which dwarfed him, I went to look at a sculpture. I found out later that it was an eagle by American sculptor Duane Hanson (1925-1996.) Hanson was an art professor at Oglethorpe University between 1962 and 1965. I walked by the imposing doors to the interior halls, wondering what the interior looked like.
The carillon stroke at 11:45 am, so it was time to get back closer to Lowry Hall where the museum is located. After looking down at the bricks on the ground, adopted by former students, I looked up to the 42-bell carillon which is the only cast bronze bell carillon in Georgia. The sounds of these bells created the right ambiance for the Gothic style campus.
Later on I did find out that there were 1,144 students enrolled in 2011 (41% male / 59% female) - the total cost for the academic year 2012-2013 was $44,480 (tuition and fees $30,150, room and board $10,840 the rest for books and other expenses.) However, 99% of the students receive some type of financial aid. I am giving these numbers for my readers overseas who obtain free education so they can see why some young people cannot afford to travel far. The small museum, with two galleries, was opened in 1984. We took the elevator to the second floor of Lowry Hall, where the museum is located. (Entrace fee $5.00.) Belowis the poster greeting the visitors. It is by Fernand Leger - an illustration to Arthur Rimbaud's poem Fetes de la Faim (Feast of Hunger) 1949.
A card was given to us, explaining the exhibition. It said that "these fine prints were the result of collaborations or interpretations of major literary works by post WWII writers and poets such as Le Cocu Magnifique by Fernand Crommelynck and illustrated by Pablo Picasso; Le Tir a l'arc illustrated by Georges Braque and Arthur Rimbaud's poem Fetes de la Faim illustrated by Fernand Leger." These three artists illustrated many art books. I took a couple of pictures in the hall of the museum but photographs were not allowed in the gallery. Below are two Picasso lithographs illustrating a book published in 1961 Picasso de 1916 a 1961 (Monaco, Editions du Rocher) about the 45-year friendship between Picasso and the French poet Jean Cocteau. I found two of them on a French free site.
Jean Cocteau (French poet, artist, designer, dramatist, playwright and filmmaker - 1889-1963) had met Picasso in 1915 and remained a close friend. Below is a photo showing Cocteau on the left, next to Picasso, next is Igor Stravinsky near Olga Khokhlova in Antibes, France, in 1926. Olga was Picasso's first wife. She came from the Russian Empire and became a ballerina in Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. (Photo courtesy French Wikipedia.)
The Oglethorpe Art Museum has two large galleries. In one of them were the Picasso, Braque and Leger drawings and lithographs. I found some illustrations by these artists on free sites on the French web and I show them below as example of the works that were shown in the gallery. Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963) was an artist and sculptor who, with Picasso, started the "cubism" movement. He was fascinated by birds and used them in many of his illustrations - he illustrated more than 50 book. Braque is on the right below and the illustration on the bottom left says "Avec l'age, l'art et la vie ne font qu'un." (With age, art and life are one.)
Fernand Leger (1881-1955) was a French painter, sculptor and filmmaker. He also created stained glass windows, tapestries, ceramic works and illustrations. He met Picasso and Braque in 1910. His illustrations showed modern life and included dancers, cyclists, musicians, plants and mechanical objects. There is a museum Fernand Leger in Biot, near Antibes on the Riviera. This was the place where he painted until his death. In 1950 Leger created 63 black and white and colored lithographs for a book on the circus. It is shown below with some other of his work.
Below is a photo of Fernand Leger and a page from his book on the circus.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881. He came to Paris in 1900 and spent most of his life in France, but he did not become "French" in attitude or spirit - he always stayed loyal to his Spanish origin. His body of work was prodigious. He illustrated more than 150 books during his life time in addition to all the other work he created - paintings, sculptures, ceramics, tapestries, drawings and more until his death in April 1973, aged 91 years old. He loved books and was the friend of many writers and poets. Below is a white eagle, one of the illustrations he did in 1936 for L'Histoire Naturelle (Natural History) written by Buffon. Picasso also illustrated works by the poet Guillaume Apolinaire (1880-1918.)
In 1970 Picasso participated in the design of an art book "Le Gout du Bonheur" (A Taste for Happiness.) Here are two lithographs made from Picasso's drawings.
This was a small exhibit but, this way, we had more time to read the explanations near each illustration. I was happy to see that these artists had loved books.
We visited more exhibits at the museum, on other subjects, so they will be featured in future posts. We went downstairs and tried to find the library, but could not find it, just an illustration of one of Virginia Woolf's books.
By then it was only 1:45 pm or so. We decided to have lunch close by. We stopped at "Au Rendez-Vous" a French Bistro. It has relocated in a small house and does not really look like a bistro (it is the owners' home with the restaurant in the front area,) but the interior was nice and airy. I had read about this small French restaurant in Chamblee (2 miles from Oglethorpe University), the Oriental area near Atlanta, and was intrigued. All the reviews were very good. The owner, Jean-Claude Changivy, is Vietnamese but trained in France. Our server spoke perfect French. They serve classic French family cooking and the menu included many traditional dishes. (Au Rendez-Vous, 4102 Clairmont Road, Chamblee, GA.)
It was hard to decide which entree to select. Should I have the Cassoulet ($11.90) or Choucroute Garnie a l'Alsacienne ($11.90) or Couscous de Volaille ($11.90) or Coq saute aux Champignons ($11.50) ? I finally decided on rabbit, the Lapin roti a la sauce moutarde ($13.50) and my husband selected the Beef (tenderloin) a la sauce poivre ($11.50.) Both dishes were delicious, served with home-made mashed potatoes. To end the meal my husband had the chocolate tart with raspberry coulis and I had the chocolate fondant - both so yummy! The prices are quite reasonable for a French restaurant in the Atlanta area - we will be back. It certainly was a nice ending to our afternoon in town.