For some reason my husband and I both have a hard time remembering our anniversary every summer. For some other reason, I have a really easy time remembering our proposalversary. I never forget it, and it is today! We don’t celebrate, except I may use it as an excuse to buy myself fancy chocolate. But I just do that on random days too. Even better than chocolate (Maybe? That’s up for debate.) is art! So to celebrate my (very, very long-awaited) engagement eighteen years ago, here are some sweet, lovey-dovey paintings.
Let’s kick it off by steaming up the windows with Watteau’s La Surprise. Jean-Antoine Watteau was a French Rococo painter, who, in true French fashion was enamored with love. His paintings are all titled things like, The Worried Lover, Pleasures of Love, The Feast of Love, and other things that would make any kid bear his cootie-protector like a cross to a vampire. My favorite is La Surprise, which is the most intimate of his paintings, in my opinion. But the most interesting part, I think, is the guitarist. He is watching unabashedly, while tuning his guitar. Critics seem to think he is sad or lonely, but I think he just looks intrigued. Way to make things weird, guy.
Fast forward a couple hundred years and Kerry James Marshall is creating beautifully intimate works about love. (Fun Fact: Marshall was named as one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 most influential people in the world in 2017!) Marshall painted a lovely, tender reimagining of Harriet Tubman and her husband, that I love. (And that sold for a cool 5 mil.) He also painted Slow Dance, which I think captures the everydayness of love. But I think my favorite Marshall piece that (literally) says “Love” is Vignette #2. There is a whole series of vignettes at the Art Institute of Chicago, but how sweet is this one? For once, I’m thankful for the lack of color. I think it is so dear in its simplicity.
Finally, a steamy painting from Roy Lichenstein: We Rose Up Slowly. I love words as much as paintings, so you can imagine my delight when an artist include words in their art. Lichenstein’s comic-y vibe really speaks to tweenage Julie, who spent a full summer reading Archie comics, weeding through them for the few glimpses of romance. I didn’t care if it was between Archie and Betty or Archie and Veronica. I didn’t even care if it was Moose and Midge. Lichenstein’s portrayal is a little more grown-up than what I remember in the Archie series, but it makes me nostalgic and romancey. (Sidebar: Roy Lichenstein was born in 1923!! Does that surprise anybody else?!)
Let’s hear it for a great November, my friends. And tell me- do you have/celebrate/remember your proposalversary?