Tuesday, 8 February 2011

London on a Grand Scale

Got off the tube at Green Park this morning, a part of London I haven't seen in many years. I was immediately impressed by the tall, grand, old buildings, as I passed the Ritz Carleton Hotel, what seemed to be various other grand hotels, Patisserie Valerie, and then as I walked down St. James's past a window displaying Cuban cigars, and another window belonging to a perfumery. I was headed for King's Street, and the famous auction house Christie's. I had been told that Christie's were having an auction of impressionist paintings in the next few days, and that prior to the auction the paintings were on display and could be viewed by members of the general public, something that would never have occurred to me. I thought that with my track record as regards art galleries (I managed to live in Paris for more than a year and never set foot inside a gallery or museum, but that's another story...), I had better take the opportunity to see these works of art. The display was quite impressive, several rooms of paintings, all from private collectors, featuring painters like Picasso, Renoir, Gauguin, Pisarro, Chagall, and many others that, not being an art expert, I had never heard of before. There were also a few Rodin sculptures and a Henry Moore. My favorite painting was one of a blue vase with pink flowers on a blue background, Les Lys Magiques, by Marc Chagall. I also loved the colors of Terrasse a Vernon by Pierre Bonnard, the blues and greens, and for some reason I also decided I liked the pale mauve monochromatic Brume sur l'Oise by Gustave Loiseau.

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