Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pink Saturday - A visit to the Getty Museum

Pink Saturday - Beverly at the blog "How Sweet the Sound" hosts Pink Saturday. Let the color pink inspire you!
Pink bougainvillea along a terrace
Would you believe I live only a few miles away from one of the most heavily visited art museums in the world? And would you believe I hardly ever go there? Well, this week I decided I had no more excuses - I would visit the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A current exhibit is called Paris: Life and Luxury. It shows what life was like for elite society in 18th century Paris.

The Getty Museum sits high on a hill above the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles. The huge compound includes assembly halls, galleries, cafes and restaurants, open plazas, gardens, and separate research facilities that are closed to the public. When you ride the small white tram up from the parking lot, you truly feel you are rising up and away from Los Angeles, that you are entering another world.

The entrance plaza

Francois Boucher - "The Toilette of Venus" - 1751
From the moment they awoke to dress, to the moment they said their prayers before sleep, the exhibit is structured to show the way the richest of Louis XV's subjects lived. We see the clothes, the furniture, the household implements and personal knick-knacks, the games and amusements these pampered Parisians used to pass their days.

The elite decorated household articles like clocks and tableware in themes from Greek mythology. Ladies doing their morning toilette or preparing for a night out did so while gazing on paintings of goddesses and nymphs being bathed and primped by heavenly attendants.

Porcelain clock 1751
Bronze and ormolu, silk and brocade, soft-paste porcelain and inlaid fruit wood marquetry, polished silver and lacquered chinoiserie - it's all so luxurious and mouthwatering. It was the perfect way for a convalescent romantic like me to get away from it all.

We see Francois Boucher's plump, pink-and-white Odalisque, lounging amid disheveled silks and draperies,  peeking coyly at the viewer over one pearly naked shoulder. Madame Pompadour gazing serenely at us, her fan casually held in one hand. Putti and cherubs tumbling and playing amid the rosy-tinted clouds or lolling at the feet of languid goddesses.

On one wall, 1727 Noel-Nicolas Copyel's painting "The Abduction of Europa" is awash with brilliant light and reflections. Here the placid, flower-becked cow chews his cud, bearing away the swooning maiden while in the foreground, a fat little cherub dives into the waves, sassily showing his plump bare bottom and the soles of his feet to the viewer.

The exhibit makes it all real for you, mingling paintings of aristocrats in domestic situations with actual domestic artifacts. A mother dresses her daughter's hair, with clips and ornaments from a small casket. An actual casket, with mother-of-pearl inlay and marquetry, sits just to the side of the portrait. Boucher's paintings of upper class women in their brocaded gowns are followed by a mannequin dressed in an actual gown.

A bewigged gentleman dips a quill into an inkwell in a pastel portrait - nearby, a bureau with bronzed mountings sports an actual inkwell with shell cups and curved bronze feet.

Although the Paris exhibition is narrowly focused on French rococo, the Getty's permanent collection is on view, with other decorative treasures to see on a summer afternoon.

Here James Tissot's 1866 portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, nee Therese Feuillant is a burst of bright pink in the gallery of European painting. The Marquise is pictured in a ruffled peignoir, standing by the mantel at her husband's chateau in the Auvergne region of France. Behind her, a Chinese painted screen shows her interest in the latest fashion of Asian-inspired arts.

In another gallery, a pastel drawing "Girl Shading Her Eyes" by Czech artist Frantisek Kupka seems to echo the brilliant sunlight outside in the white plazas and green gardens.

And when you visit, don't miss the gardens.

The garden, designed by Robert Irwin, features a tree-lined rocky stream flowing down to a grand circular maze-like garden. The path zigzags back and forth along the stream, crossing and turning, bringing you through light and shade and back through again. Here pink hydrangeas bloom next to the colorful spikes of dracenea.

From above, you can see the sculptural shapes of the design, against the backdrop view of West Los Angeles.

Below, you can see the amazing plantings - the designer loves bright splashes of color, contrasting foliage shapes and colors, and exotic plants.

After touring the galleries, stop at the Garden Terrace Cafe - enjoying the view and the sun.

Won't you join me? I need to remind myself to come here more often. Maybe next Pink Saturday!


Beverly said...

Good morning and Happy Pink Saturday, Glennis. I am so glad you are home and venturing out. How are you feeling? And, how is eating? Are you on a restricted diet? And, have you had enough of my interrogation?

How wonderful that you live so close, and maybe now you will visit more often. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour you shared.

Love to you, dear friend.♥♥♥

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

The Getty Museum is definitely worthy of the must-see list.
I do hope the fact you are venturing out means that you are recovering well.

Unknown said...

How lucky you live so close. I live 15 minutes from Niagara Falls and avoid it like the plague! Happy Pink Saturday!

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

How fun! Wouldn't that be a great place to take the grandkids! I love educational activities for grandparents and grandchildren! And they love interesting museums! My senior mom, who so loves gardening, would have delighted to see those beautiful bougainvillea. It would be a perfectly Pink and multigenerational outing. Thanks for a lovely visit for Pink Saturday.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

It seems like we rarely visit the gems in our own backyard ! I'm happy you decided to visit and share it with us ...happy Pink Saturday (())

mypinkprettiesaboutme said...

I wish I could get an enmasse so full. Really enjoyed it.

Stay in the pink


Kathy Rogers said...

Love the building. Lovelovelove the gardens. A bit "meh" about the regular collection, but they do have some really clever special exhibitions sometimes.

Hope you're mending well!

Marti McClure said...

Thanks for sharing. I would love to go to the Getty. Happy Pink Saturday! ~Marti

The Artful Diva said...

I've never been to the Getty Museum either. It looks like a fascinating place. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Oh, how gorgeous. I could get lost there. Love places that offer an escape.

Thank you for stopping by yesterday. Hope you're enjoyed your pink saturday.

Much love!

SUEB0B said...

I love the Getty. I especially love it outside.

dana said...

I am waaaaay late visiting this Pink Saturday, but just wanted you to know I did!!! I also loved catching up on many of your recent posts.

I hope you're feeling better by now....and taking it slowly til your body is all healed!!

Have a great weekend!


katie eggeman said...

I love the Getty too, both of them. Good thing you went this week as the 405 is closing in that area for a few days this month, I am sure you are looking forward to that! You have a great blog.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post! I love visiting museums. I wanted to let you know that I shared a photo from this post (the Tissot painting) on my blog with a link back to yours. I recently saw this painting in an exhibit but I didn't take any photos! Merci!