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.)  Below is 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.


Note:  Blogger break - post pre-programmed.


Margaret said...

Really fascinating - beautiful campus - and that small, quaint French Restaurant looks ideal! (the Yew trees you admired on my blog are from the UK - I did not take the photo (but wish I had )

Kay said...

I agree with Margaret. This is truly a gorgeous campus. Thank you for all the beautiful photos. I've always admired Picasso and all the styles he developed. We have his famous sculpture in Chicago.

David said...

Vagabonde, I love the buildings at Oglethorpe University! They remind me so much of the buildings on campus at the college prep school I attended in Niagara Falls NY back in the late 50s and early 60s. I'm not much into modern art...although I do like some of Leger's works as shown in your blog. The food at "Au Rendez-Vous" looks great. I'll put it on my list should we head on down that way. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Always love learning about new places. What a novel arts display at an grand old university by US standards.

Elephant's Child said...

That is a truly beautiful campus, I would love to wander around it.
The exhibition sounded delightful too - and lunch was the icing on the cake.

Things and Thoughts said...

Incroyable parcours du campus universitaire et du musee!Combien de choses interessantes vous avez pu y decouvrir! Je suis etonnee des esquisses des peintres que je tiens a coeur, tels que Picasso, Braque et Leger.Comme j'aurais voulu vous accompagner au cours de cette visite, ce dimanche ensoleille...
Bon week end et un grand merci de ces publications tellement riches en corps et en ame.

DJan said...

The price of going to the university is astronomical. I cannot imagine how anyone would manage to attend, even with financial aid. The museum was very interesting, although some of the art looked very amateurish to my eye. I thought I could have done some of it! :-)

Mae Travels said...

Your post reminds me of how effectively a carefully curated exhibit can teach about an artist or an art movement. Or perhaps the effectiveness here was your care in describing these artists?


Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, when I read your postings--whether they are about your early life in France and your first years out in California or about gardens you've visited or exhibits, I am always aware that you are a cultured woman. In fact, I don't think I ever fully understood that term until I began reading your posts. I can remember someone saying years ago that Jacqueline Kennedy was a cultured woman. And a sophisticate. You, too, are both.

I recognized Oglethorpe's name right away from studying American History in fifth grade. I felt so happy that the name was familiar. I do wonder who Olga Koklova is--I need to look her up-- in the photograph of her, Cocteau, Picasso, and Stravinsky. When I don't know a woman's background I become aware that so much of the world's history and my history has been male dominated.

Thanks again for sharing this exhibit with us. Peace.

Vagabonde said...

Thank you so much Dee for your kind comments. I will go back and mention who Olga Khokhlova (Ольга Степановна Хохлова) was. She was born in 1891 in the Russian Empire and died in 1955 in Cannes, France. She came from Russia and became a ballerina in the Serge Diaghilev Ballets Russes in France. She was Picasso’s first wife and the mother of his son, Paulo. Even though she separated from Picasso in 1935, she never divorced him, and stayed married to him until her death in 1955. She had changed her name to Olga Ruiz Picasso.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What a Beautiful College and a Gorgeous Show---for such a small place. Your illustrations from the Internet are Exquisite!
I visited the Leger Museum when I was in the South of France in 1969...And got to meet the Great Picasso during that time in Cap d'Antibes, as well!
These ARTISTS---All, were true Giants, weren't they? Cocteau, too....
Your Meals looked incredibly delectable....!!! You take such great pictures, my dear, and you and your dear Husband go to the most wonderfully interesting places. Thank you for sharing this most special afternoon.

Nadezda said...

Nice trip to exhibition! I love cast bronze bell carillon and the campus in Gothic style! The lithographs and drawings of Picasso are always unbelievable, I remember the exhibition in Hermitage in 1967, it was stunning, crowds of people.

Vicki Lane said...

What a pleasant day! Such a beautiful campus and a nice little exhibition. And the bistro sounds wonderful!

Jenny Woolf said...

I'd have liked to see this - I always like anything of Picasso's. He was such an amazing artist, he seemed to create something unique whatever he did.

The university looks both grand and pleasant, two qualities that very often don't go together.

Magic Love Crow said...

What a fantastic day! Such a beautiful campus! The food looks so yummy!!

Friko said...

You have the most interesting and life-enhancing days out. This was another visit I would have loved to do with you.

How fortunate that you even found a delightful French Bistro to round off a day of culture and art.

Pat said...

What a super day you had.
I love Braque's face.
All that lovely culture
and a good meal to follow. Bliss.

claude said...

Coucou Vagabonde
Les bâtiments dans ce côté de l'Amérique sont vraiment de style très british.
Intéressante cette exposition.
J'aurais fait comme toi, au café bistro, j'aurais choisi du lapin et je pense que mon Chéri aurai choisi le même repas que le tien, même le déssert.

Jeanie said...

What a perfect way to cap off the day, with that delicious dinner! Sounds like all the elements of a divine time -- beautiful art (much of which I was not familiar with -- very different Picasso!) and the tour of the University, which is quite lovely! I always learn so much from my visit to VB!

This is Belgium said...

j aurais aimé cette expo et la visite au bistro, bien évidemment!

This is Belgium said...

j aurais aimé cette expo et la visite au bistro, bien évidemment!

This is Belgium said...

j aurais aimé cette expo et la visite au bistro, bien évidemment!

Mandy Southgate said...

Wow, so there are castles in America after all! I really love the look of this place and would have spent hours outside photographing it. What a great exhibition too.

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