Guest post by Anne Daignault
It’s April and Paris is living up to its reputation, each day warmed by the springtime sun, the flowering chestnuts seducing the fastest walker into the nearest park to sit on a bench, smell the lilacs and listen to the children’s happy noises.
Equally seductive are two exhibits, the De Zubaran à Rothko: Collection of Alicia Koplowitz at the Musee Jacquemart André (158 Boulevard Houssmann, 8th, through July 10th) and Tokyo – Paris, Masterpieces of the Bridgestone Museum of Art at the Orangerie (Jardins des Tuileries, 1st, through August 21st). While the collections may be indoors, the senses won’t be disappointed.
As always, a visit to a fine collection of art is an opportunity to see works you may never have seen before, perhaps selecting the ones you would like to take home, or, at best, add to your postcard collection. These two exhibits got me thinking about collecting, the education necessary, the connections developed to find the very best, and the collector’s eye.
The selection of paintings from the Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo were collected by three generations of the Ishibashi family. Shojiro Ishibashi, who founded the Bridgestone tire company, began collecting works by Japanese artists influenced by western art of the beginning of the 20th century. He then added works of Pre-Impressionists, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. His son, Kan’ichiro Ishibashi, and grandson, Hiroshi Ishibashi, continued amassing an impressive collection now housed in the Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo.
The quality of each painting and sculpture is consistently high, from the early Japanese paintings in the Yoga style, such as “Reminiscence of the Tempyo Era” by Takeji Fujishima (1902) to the masterpieces of French art by artists including Daumier, Corot, Courbet, Pissarro, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Monet, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Rousseau, Modigliani, Picasso, Soutine, Bonnard, Klee, and Miro. A sculpture, “The Kiss,” by Brancusi graces the catalog, speaking to intimate love and underscoring the passion of the collector. This show touches the heart in its beauty and excellence.
The exhibit at the Musee Jacqumart André, “Alicia Koplowitz’s Collection from Zurbarán to Rothko,” presents a collection dedicated to the very best of European art from Renaissance to contemporary artists: Zurbarán, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Goya, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Freud and Rothko. We travel from religious devotions to a tourist’s idealized Venice, from Gaugin’s Polynesia to the fractured world of cubism and the daring universe of abstract expressions in contemporary art.
In the mix, however, we find once again the collector. Her idea of what is good and what pleases creates a whole that reflects who she is and what she values. She travels from the conventional to the daring, laying bare her passion in a most intimate manner, by collecting.
These two exhibits tell us as much about art as the passions, perhaps obsessions, of the collectors.