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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s collection offers an overview of modern art, which includes works of painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, prints, illustrated books, artist’s books, film, and electronic media.

A Tour of the Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA), NY

A Tour of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

  • “Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond” by Claude Monet
    • “Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond” by Claude Monet is a monumental triptych portraying a water-lily pond, from Monet’s garden in Giverny, with the sky and clouds reflecting off the lily pond. Monet aimed to give: “the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank.” Monet attempted to capture the continually changing qualities of light, color, water, sky, and lilies by dissolving all the elements in: “the refuge of peaceful meditation in the center of a flowering aquarium.”
  • “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh
    • “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh depicts the view from the east-facing window of Van Gogh’s asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. “The Starry Night” is regarded as one of Van Gogh’s most beautiful works and is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture. In 1888 Van Gogh had a breakdown that resulted in the self-mutilation of his left ear, and he voluntarily admitted himself to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole lunatic asylum. The asylum was housed in a former monastery that catered to the wealthy and was less than half full when Van Gogh arrived. He was thus allowed to occupy a second-story bedroom and also to use a ground-floor room as a painting studio. During the year Van Gogh stayed at the asylum, he produced some of the best-known works, including the Irises, many self-portraits, and The Starry Night.
  • “Broadway Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian
    • “Broadway Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian was created after the artist moved to New York in 1940. Compared to his earlier work, the canvas is divided into many smaller squares. Although Mondrian spent most of his career creating highly abstract work not directly related to reality, this painting was inspired by the real-world examples of the city grid of Manhattan, and the Broadway boogie-woogie, a type of music that Mondrian loved. The piece is made up of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas, and seem to shimmer, drawing the viewer into those neon lights of New York.
  • “Le Grand Nu” by Amedeo Modigliani
    • “Le Grand Nu” by Amedeo Modigliani is one of the dozens of nudes created by Modigliani in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces and figures that echo precursors such as Titian, Goya, and Velázquez. However, Modigliani’s figures differ significantly in the level of raw sensuality they transmit. Unlike depictions of female nudes from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, in which female nudity is couched in mythology or allegory, this series of paintings are without any such context, highlighting the painting’s eroticism.
  • “The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau
    • The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau is a fantasy depiction of a lion musing over a sleeping woman on a moonlit night. Rousseau portrayed an African Gypsy in a desert wearing a colorful costume, sleeping in the desert with an Italian stringed instrument, and a jar of water. This painting has several elements from different cultures, and Rousseau has mixed them all into a unique image. Rousseau described his picture as: “A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, laid down with her jar beside her and overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chance to pass by picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic.”
  • “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth
    • “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth depicts a woman semi-reclining on the ground in a treeless, mostly tawny field, looking up at a gray house on the horizon. A barn and various other small outbuildings are adjacent to the house. Wyeth was inspired to create the painting when he saw a woman crawling across a field while he was watching from a window in the house. The woman was suffering from a disease that limited her mobility and was 55-year years old. Wyeth explained that the woman: “was limited physically but by no means spiritually.” Although the older women inspired the subject of the painting, Wyeth used his wife Betsy as a younger model to pose as the torso for the art. Wyeth wanted to: “do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless.”
  • “La Goulue arriving at the Moulin Rouge” by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
    • “La Goulue arriving at the Moulin Rouge” by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec depicts La Goulue, which was the stage name of Louise Weber (1866 – 1929), a French can-can dancer who was a star of the Moulin Rouge, a famous cabaret in Paris, near Montmartre. La Goulue was the most successful can-can dancer of her time. Weber became known as La Goulue because, as an adolescent, she was known for guzzling cabaret patrons’ drinks while dancing. She also was referred to as the Queen of Montmartre. She initially worked as a washerwoman until she was discovered. At age 16, she was working with her mother in the laundry, but behind her mother’s back began sneaking off to a dance hall dressed in a customer’s “borrowed” dress. Having achieved both fame and fortune, Weber parted company with the Moulin Rouge in 1895 and strike out on her own.
  • “Gas” by Edward Hopper
    • Gas by Edward Hopper depicts an American gas station at the end of a highway. This composition was a composite of several gas stations that Hopper inspected. Hopper struggled with this painting, and he had trouble finding suitable gas stations to paint. Hopper wanted to paint a gas station with the lights lit above the pumps, but the stations in his area only turned the lights on when it was pitch dark, to save energy. The light in this painting gives the scene of a gas station and its lone attendant at dusk, an underlying sense of drama. Hopper also captured the loneliness of an American country road, which makes this picture memorable and leaves an impression with its combination of both natural and artificial light.
  • “The Dream” by Henri Rousseau
    • “The Dream” by Henri Rousseau is one of 25 paintings by Rousseau with a stylized jungle theme. The jungle plants are based on Rousseau’s observations at the Paris Museum of Natural History and its Jardin des Plantes. It features a portrait of Rousseau’s Polish mistress from his youth, lying naked on a divan. She is gazing over a landscape of lush jungle foliage, including lotus flowers, and animals including birds, monkeys, an elephant, a lion and lioness, and a snake. The Dream is the largest of the jungle paintings. It was his last completed work, a few months before his death in 1910.
  • “The Moon and the Earth” by Paul Gauguin

 

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC

  • Name:                Museum of Modern Art, NYC – MOMA
  • City:                    New York City
  • Established:        1929 (87 years ago)
  • Type:                   Art Museum
  • Address:            11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
  • Public transit access:
    • Subway: Fifth Avenue / 53rd Street (E M trains)

A Tour of Manhattan Museums

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“Give me such shows — give me the streets of Manhattan!”
– Walt Whitman

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Photo Credit:  By Velvet (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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