All summer I had “Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Modern Woman exhibit” on my ‘To Do’ list, and all summer, for some reason or another, I never made it downtown to attend. Co-workers and family raved about how interesting the exhibit had been, and with works coming from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, I knew I would love it too. But alas, Labour Day long weekend was upon us and in the busyness that comes with that time of year, seeing the exhibit before the closing date of September 6th slipped my mind. Instead I was caught up in all the family events and socializing to do in the last real weekend of summer.
But the stars would align despite forgetfulness, and they proved not to need my organizational assistance.
What started as an afternoon allotted for a female shopping frenzy ended up being a bit more cultured than I had expected. After browsing retailers in Pacific Centre, and the mandatory stop at Sephora, we walked by the art gallery and I realized it was now or never to catch the exhibit! I was thrilled when my girlfriend agreed to check it out!
The works displayed were wonderful. They provided a glimpse into the life of women in France from the 1850’s. Artist’s quotes were scattered on the walls. I wanted to share a few that really spoke to me…
“For me a picture should be a pleasant thing. There are quite enough unpleasant things in life without the need for us to manufacture more.”
– Pierre-Auguste Renoir
“The nude is not the same as the undressed, and nothing is less nude than a women emerging from a pair of drawers or one who has just taken off her chemise. The nude had modesty only if it is not a transitionary state. It hides nothing because there is nothing to hide.”
– Camille Lemonnier
“It is as if she were removing her modesty along with her skirt. She sees herself watched by artists eyes, she sees herself standing nude before the pencil, the palette, the studio, nude for art, in that almost sacred nudity that quiets the senses.”
– Edmund & Jules de Goncourt