Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At The Met with Eve and Florine

Last week I went to the Met with my Aunt Eve. Eve lives in New York, I grew up in a tiny Oregon town. I thought of her often and how someday I would visit her in the Big Apple- imagining a city as ripe and sweet as something that grew on the trees outside our house. I thought I would go the day I graduated from high school, but until last week I had never visited Eve. She's painted all the walls in her house, and her fireplace and shutters. She says this is the fourth time she has re-primed and painted the hearth:

We went to the Met, she wore at least a dozen colors and I was head to toe in black, she threw a crazy scark of me, so we would match. We wandered for hours, until we came to the Stettheimer wall:

I read the wall panel for my favorite of Florine's paintings, The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue:

Wall Panel: In each of her Cathedrals, Stettheimer uses architecture to organize her composition. In this case it resembles a real Cathedral, perhaps Saint Patrick's Church on Fifth Avenue, although the newlyweds emerge from underneath a bright red canopy and matching carpet that seem to belong more to the Plaza Hotel than to a church. All around this central scene, activities depicting other aspects of conspicuous consumption abound, seemingly unaware of the wedding taking place. This wild activity energizes the canvas just as it energizes Fifth Avenue on a Saturday afternoon in December.
I didn't say anything, and neither did Eve. We just looked. For a long time.
Later I was thinking about the painting, we were sitting on the couch together.

I said, remember that big painting with all the colors, on the wall- there were four of them- they were street scenes of New York. She nodded. I said, I think I would like to write about those for my blog this week. She frowned, I didn't like those paintings she said. Why? I asked. There was nothing I could find to like about those, but I loved the frames.


Kate said...

I agree with Eve. Great frames, great colors, the compositions...eh...

Anonymous said...

Amy, why do you like them?

Amy said...

You don't see a lot of paintings by women at the Met, and you don't ever see four enormous paintings by one woman unless it is a special exhibition. Maybe that is what I like about them.