A Rainy Day in July

July 5, 2012 Blog Post

My second visit to the Matisse and Modern Masters Exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery was short and sweet. I quickly admired my favorite artists in the Cone Collection:

Van Gogh – a later work he painted in the last years of his life. It is believed this work was created during his stay as a psych centre near Paris. One must admire his unique brushstroke technique.

Picasso – the focul point is his esteemed Blue Period work. I believe the subject to be a homeless woman or perhaps a struggling prostitute. You can see the hardship in her eyes. It reminds me of the challenges we face in our Downtown Eastside.

Picasso – self-portrait. A gift to Etta Cone from Picasso. The humour is pivotal in this work with his matted hair and protruding belly.

Matisse – I’m a huge fan of Matisse but I feel this collection lacked some of his more colour-centric works from the Fauvist movement. In fact, my favorite piece is right at the end of the exhibit in the “Vancouver Collects” enclave (don’t miss it). The work is titled, “L’homme Endormie,” a small aquantint that perfectly illustrates Matisse’s understanding of female form. As I gazed upon this work, my body relaxed. There is something serene about a simple line drawing/aquatint of a lady. Perhaps it removes the complexity of women.

In all honesty, the second floor is predominantly not for me. I did a quick jaunt through the collection, majority photographs, and landed upon a painter I have never heard about, Rebecca Brewer. She was the highlight of the second floor, in my opinion. There is one particular work, “Beuys Painting.” This work has hints of cubism and caught my eye due to the fact that the imagery and subject is meant to be an artist, Beuys, painting, however, what I saw was a man leaning his right temple against the barrel of a vertically placed shotgun. Maybe I am too sinister, however the work made me think of the hardships most artists face throughout their careers and perhaps have contemplated suicide while painting and desired the brush to be a loaded shotgun.

On to the third floor. Yes! Cy Twombly! One the artists New York art dealer giants Leo Castelli and Ivan Karp hand selected to feature along side other legendary artists, such as, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and more. Cy Twombly may be one of the first popular “graffiti” or “urban” style artists to exist. His critical works were during the mid to late sixties. Vancouver Art Gallery boasts, “11 Grey Paintings,” which are actually lithographs by Twombly. I missed these the first time round and was pleasantly surprised to soak these works in before moving on to…

Six Andy Warhol, “Marilyn’s!” This is by far my favorite section of the current VAG set up. What a treat to see 6 perfectly executed silkscreens by Warhol of one of the most famous and iconic figures of the 20th Century. I sat down and thought, “which one of these six gems is my #1 pick?” I came up with an answer and quickly changed my mind, and then my mind changed again, and again, and I came to the conclusion that each work is equally brilliant. The pleasure it must bring collectors to hang a true Warhol on their working or living space wall. A moment I hope to share, one day, with visitors to my humble abode. Note: they are not signed on the front, however I glanced at the side of the paper where it curls up just a bit, and they are signed on the verso. While I was prospecting for a signature the security guard was giving me questionable looks, so I settled for seeing just one signature.

To all who ready this, do not miss out on the current exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery, it is well worth seeing.


Paul Erik Becker
love your collection – evolve your collection