“Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art”

You don’t have to be an art fanatic to recognize the big names in the exhibit “Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art” currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Cézanne, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh — they’re all the best of the best. While almost everyone is familiar with the works, MFAH’s Curator of European Art, Dr. Helga K. Aurisch, insists an in-person visit is required. Not only do these works rarely leave the National Gallery, viewing the works live and in person is different from seeing them on a screen or in print.

“You can feel the energy, you can see each brushstroke, giving us an idea that we are part of the creative excitement of these paintings,” says Aurisch. Take Van Gogh’s Roses, for example. “They are phenomenal,” Aurisch continues. “When he painted them, they were actually multicolored: pink, bluish and white, but within a year, they faded away to a more uniform white. Up close, though, you can see the underlying traces of the colors Van Gogh originally used.” Aurisch said that conservators believe the effect was intentional, as Van Gogh would have known the so-called fugitive pigments he was using would fade.

“One of the astonishing things for people is realizing the size of the work,” she adds. “When [people] come to stand in front of it, people react to the very large size, or, in some cases, the very small size, of the works.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through May 23. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. $20.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 20. Continues through May 22, 2011


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