A Visit to the DIA

I haven’t been to the Detroit Institute of Arts in about twenty years, even though I live within 100 miles of it! It’s a travesty. So, when my friend Carla pointed out they have a great exhibit featuring art by some big name Impressionists like Cezanne, Degas, Van Gough, and Monet, we snagged the opportunity to take an overdue visit to the incredible DIA!
Here are some amazing facts about one of the country’s best art museums (I’m not being biased! It floats around in ranking on all the “Top Ten Best Art Museums in the U.S.” lists.)
– It houses about 65,000 pieces of art (not counting the drinking fountains, which are works of art too, if you ask me.)
– It has more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium, 380-seat lecture hall, art reference library, and cute café that smells amazing.
– Van Gogh’s self-portrait is there, which is the first of all his paintings to enter a U.S. museum.
– Punch and Judy are retired there. More on this around Halloween.
We saw many of our favorite pieces (The Thinker, Portrait of Postman Roulin, Madame Paul Poirson) but the real joys were discovering paintings I hadn’t known about before. Just as I was telling Carla I wasn’t a fan of Picasso, we saw this painting from his early career, that I loved!
Before his portraits were all angles and cubes.
 It was placed directly beside these two and we marveled that they were all done by the same man.
Not my style.
No, thank you.
Here was another portrait we agreed was just beautiful by John Singleton Copley. The face was so realistic we could have sworn his eyes were actually watering.
“Head of a Man” You must go find this when you’re at the DIA!
We found a whole family of talented artists in the American gallery. The Peale family had art in their genes, the same way my family passes down the ear-wiggling gene (you’re welcome, daughters of mine!) Here are three works by three separate Peales. (Sorry for the crappy crop jobs, btw. I take all my pictures crooked, then don’t fix them. It’s just one way in which I like to express myself artistically.)
Rembrandt Peale- Self Portrait. With a name like Rembrandt, you’re bound to be good at art!
“Still Life with Wine Glass” by Raphaelle Peale. Another strong art name.
“James Peale” by Charles Peale. This one made me weepy.
Needless to say, we took one million pictures. Most of mine were in burst mode of my freckly arm, but I do have more to share if you tune in next week!

A Visit to The Art Institute of Chicago

The girls and I recently tagged along on one of Jim’s work trips to Chicago. He loved having the four of us there as he worked. He acted like he didn’t love it, but I know he did.

One of our first stops, naturally, was the Art Institute of Chicago. Dreamy! I had only been there once before (in high school) to see a visiting Degas exhibit, and that was all we got to see. I didn’t know that ALL the amazing things were there!!! Name an artist. Go on and name one. Not DaVinci. Another one. That one had art there!! Thankfully my daughters’ art teacher is incredible and has introduced them to artists I didn’t have the slightest clue about at their ages. Picking a favorite is too overwhelming, even though I forced the girls to do it (sometimes motherhood means being a hypocrite) and here are their picks.

Molly picked Monet’s Water Lily Pond, because duh. Last year this was their main art project at school, so she was pretty familiar with it and pumped to see it in real life. I sang Jessie J’s “Price Tag” the rest of the day. (“It’s not about the Monet, Monet!”)
Adrienne was super excited when she learned the museum was home to The Wave by Katsushika Hokusai. Unfortunately, it turns out it’s almost never on display it because it is so old and so fragile. I’m going to write about it more tomorrow because it really is beautiful. Happily, A is also a giant fan of Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte because ohmygoodness, how can you not be?!

CeCe loved the Degas ballerina statue, (Me too. That ribbon in her hair about does me in, I love it so much.) but somehow, we didn’t get a picture of that one so here are the girls playing air guitar in front of The Old Guitarist by Picasso.

This last one is a pictures Mols took on the sly and later showed to me proclaiming this is what I look like before my coffee in the morning. Funny girl, that one. 

We can’t figure out who painted it though! Do you know? If so, clue me in!