June 19-22, 2019
We have been to Boston many times to visit the many historical sites, but on this trip we found ourselves nearby in Foxborough and decided to visit Boston to take in a couple of noted art exhibitions. Our RV Park, Normandy Farms is conveniently situated about a 30 minute drive from the Riverside Train Station, which is the end of the Green line from Boston. We hopped on the train towards Copley station and then switched to another Green line train and exited at the doorsteps of the Museum of Fine Arts . The entire trip from Foxborough to the museum was about one hour, easy as pie.
The Museum had two wonderful exhibitions , Toulouse-lautrec and Frida Kahlo . Either one of these is a treat in itself but to find them together, special. Needless to say we spent most of our day perusing these two exhibits. The colorful prints of Lautrec allowed the viewer to step into the bohemian life of the Paris of 1890s. Popular stage artists and dancers were part of Lautrec’s world and he depicted them in elegant caricatures that made these artists famous.
The Frida Kahlo exhibition was an intimate look into the life of this colorful artist. She loved collecting “arte popular” (popular art) the colorful childlike images of smiling skeletons, coconuts carved with faces and such objects that eventually made it to her thought provoking paintings. There were also photographs of her private life and particularly her bathroom which her husband left intact and locked after her death. She suffered greatly from injuries she received in a traffic accident. The bathroom photography, shot by a friend of theirs after her husband died, shows in graphic detail her daily struggles and suffering. Despite these images the exhibition was beautifully put together and gave me a different perspective into her life.
We made a lighting tour of some of our favorite pieces in their permanent collection because this museum is vast and it requires more than one day to properly see it all.
One museum is never enough so we walked to the Isabella Gardner Museum mainly to see the famous John Singer Sargent painting “El Jaleo”. This is one of Leo’s favorite paintings and he missed seeing it the last time we were in Boston. We were just in time for a docent lead tour, which I absolutely loved. The tour lead us through the museum which is a building that was originally her home and destined as a museum. Mrs. Gardner was a prolific art collector and the museum houses an impressive representation of European, Asian and American Art. There is a beautiful courtyard reminiscent of a Venetian palace that was meticulously landscaped with gorgeous potted plants and marble statues of powerful women of antiquity.
The salon that houses El Jaleo (meaning exuberant dance) was designed by Mrs. Gardner to resemble a Sevillana hall with Moorish tile work on the walls and Spanish bric-a-brac and pottery. At the end of this hall hangs this masterpiece depicting a gypsy flamenco dancer in a whirlwind of flowing skirts. Your eye is first drawn to the dancer where the light highlights the white satin skirt and shows Sargent’s master hand in handling luminous fabrics. We were thrilled to see it and were surprised as to the size, it is huge. It was a perfect ending to our day in Boston.