Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Sunday, 04 November 2001

Jackie and her mom and I all took the train up to Chicago and spent the day at the Art Institute. There's a special exhibit there "The Studio of the South" with paintings by Van Gogh and Gauguin from before, during, and after a fairly brief period when they shared a studio in the south of France.

Taking the train to Chicago works pretty well. The City of New Orleans leaves Champaign right around 6:00 AM and gets to Chicago a around 9:00 AM. In the evening we have our choice of either the Illini, which leaves at 4:00 and gets in around dinnertime, or the City of New Orleans that leaves around dinnertime and gets in around bedtime.

The Van Gogh and Gauguin exhibit, on the other hand, was virtually a waste of time. You have to have tickets to get in, but they seem to limit the number of tickets based on what the fire marshal will allow, rather than the number of people who could actually appreciate the exhibit. It would have been too crowded with one-third as many people. One-tenth would have been about right.

Jackie fled after about five minutes. I pushed on, making a sort of forced march through the crowd, saw a few very nice paintings (mostly from a distance, over people's heads), and escaped about 20 minutes later.

The paintings, of course, were fabulous. They had two versions of the "Starry Night," the famous one from after Gauguin had left, and an earlier one, with reflections in the Rhone, side-by-side. There were also some nice Gauguin nudes from Tahiti.

I don't think I'll bother going to any more special exhibitions at the Art Institute, though, unless I hear that they're very poorly attended.

We did see some other neat stuff. The Japanese woodcuts, impressionists, south Asian art, and the textile exhibits are always favorites of ours.

Jackie's mom leaves tomorrow for home. It's been great having her visit.


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