The Musée d’Orsay is one of my favorite museums in the world and I’ve been blessed enough to have visited it twice. When I learned that the National Museum of Singapore would be exhibiting over 140 paintings, photographs, and drawings from the d’Orsay’s collection, well, I just squealed.
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This weekend, in between events at the Singapore Writers Festival, I popped into Exhibition Galleries 1 and 2 for a quick peek at Dreams and Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing and Photography.
I have a particular interest in early photography’s response to impressionist painting. There are several héliogravures, albumen prints, and cyanotypes on display including several exquisite portraits by American photographers Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen.
Mind you, none of the Musée d’Orsay’s most valuable treasures have made their way to Singapore. Gems such as Édouard Manet’s Olympia, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, and Georges Seurat’s The Circus are not on view here. Nonetheless, Dreams and Reality showcases a well-curated sampling of the range of art in the d’Orsay’s collection.
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I was quite surprised that there were so few people, perhaps 75 or so, in the galleries this past Saturday afternoon given that this is truly a blockbuster exhibit. Where are all the art-lovers at? Maybe I shouldn’t complain. Over the next few weeks, I plan to return several times. More solitude, contemplation, and inspiration for me!
(Additional credits: Clockwise, from upper lefthand corner: Monet, Claude, Study of A Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol Looking to the Right (1886). Oil on canvas, 131x88cm; de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri, The Female Clown Cha-U-Kao (1895). Oil on cardboard, 64x49cm; Degas, Edgar, Dancers Climbing a Staircase (1886–1890). Oil on canvas, 39×89.5cm; Gonzalès, Eva, A Box at the Théâtre des Italiens (1875–1878). Oil on canvas, 98x130cm. Images provided by the National Museum of Singapore.)