Yesterday I went into Chicago and spent a few hours at The Art Institute, enjoying their special exhibition called Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity and visiting my favorite Monet pictures in their permanent collection (like this one). When I was young and foolish, I didn’t understand or value the importance of art; in many cases I still don’t understand it (especially modern art) but I definitely do appreciate all of it much more and I am trying to make up for lost time. I have a membership at the Art Institute so I make an effort to visit as often as I can and take advantage of the programs.
And it also gives me a good excuse to read and learn about artists and art history! The museum’s shop was offering a 20% discount for members yesterday, and they have an excellent book department, so I couldn’t resist making a few purchases:
Technically, The Ladies’ Paradise by Zola is not about art, but it is a nice tie-in to the Impressionism/Fashion exhibit. Zola’s The Masterpiece is about a struggling artist’s relationship with a childhood friend who has become a successful novelist (rumored to be based on Zola’s relationship with Paul Cezanne)
I’m not original by saying that I love Impressionism, but I do not know much about the artists who made this style so immortal. Based on the size of the book, I know I won’t learn everything by reading The Private Lives of the Impressionists, but I’m sure it will lead me to other books.
And the Van Gogh biography. I will be making a short visit to Amsterdam in early December (yay!!) and I hope to visit the Van Gogh Museum, and I would like to learn more about the artist and his work.
I’ve read several novels about pieces of art (I Am Madame X, The Girl with the Pearl Earring to name a few) as well as a few fascinating non-fiction books about art crime, most recently Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art. Each of these books have inspired me to learn, which in turn adds more books to my to read pile – it will never end!
Do you have any favorite art-themed books? Do share!