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1 post from July 2014

my trip to Indianapolis

I was in Indianapolis for a few days a week ago.  I stayed at the Nestle Inn for two days, a lovely B&B downtown, just off Mass Ave.  On Wednesday I visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art then had dinner out with some friends; on Thursday I toured the James Whitcomb Riley Home Museum, strolled around historic Lockerbie Square area, wandered around downtown shopping, had dinner at a pub, then went to bed early.  Friday I helped move our Indianapolis office down one floor to a smaller suite, then Saturday I drove a U-Haul truck full of excess furniture back home to our Traverse City office.


I went to the IMA particularly to see an special exhibit, Face to Face: The Neo-Impressionist Portrait, 1886-1904.  It was very nice.   I particularly enjoyed Théo van Rysselberghe's trio of full-length portraits of the Sèthe sisters.  The first sister painted was Alice, in the blue was the artist's first attempt at pointillism, if I remember correctly the description I read of the paintings, and her face is blurry; the second, Irma, in the pink dress, is considerably more well done; and the third, which was completed six years later, of Maria, in the purple dress, is absolutely incredible.

327px-Theo_Van_Rysselberghe_portrait-of-irma-sethe-1894 298px-Portrait-Alice-Sethe-1888 425px-Kmska_Théo_Van_Rysselberghe_(1862-1926)_-_Mevrouw_Henry_Van_de_Velde-Sèthe_(1921)_-_28-02-2010_13-11-02

One of Van Gogh's self portraits was in the exhibit, but it did not have the vibrancy and energy of the one I saw at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years ago.  Thankfully there was one of his landscapes in the permanent collection that made my heart sing.  Van Gogh's paintings look so flat when seen as pictures, but in person they're spectacular...the dimension and depth of layers of paint, the brush strokes...the places he pushed paint away contrasted with the places he brushed it on....there is so much more color, and an energy, a passion...ahhhh.....

773px-WLA_ima_Landscape_at_St_RemyLandscape at Saint-Remy

I walked the entire museum, it wasn't that large (or that small, but 'just right').  I didn't stop for a closer look at anything in the African, ancient Mediterranean, ancient American, Native American, Oceanic or Asian art collections...they were very nice, but nothing really grabbed me.  The contemporary design collection is wonderful...I admired the collection, even though contemporary design is not my thing.  I spent most of my time in the European painting and sculpture rooms. Regrettably, the textiles exhibit was closed.

I'm not a fan of contemporary art's not that I don't like contemporary art, it's that I'm very particular about what I like, and that there is far more contemporary art I find distasteful than contemporary art I enjoy.   I was pleasantly surprised by the IMA's collection...their curator has very, very good taste. 

600px-Möbius_Ship_(2006)_by_Tim_HawkinsonMobius Ship (2006) by Tim Hawkinson

A9da23c9-bbf7-4ea7-a4a3-daf9be5f9733untitled mylar (2010) by Tara Donovan


The James Whitcomb Riley museum home was spectacular.  The use of cameras wasn't allowed inside the home, which is regrettable, I wanted to show you the beautifully painted walls and ceilings.    I didn't realize until the tour that the house was not really Riley's, but was owned by a wealthy Indianapolis baker, John R. Nickum and his wife, then their daughter Magdalena and her husband Charles Holstein, a lawyer, who invited the famous poet Riley to live with them.  The home is where Riley spent the last twenty-some years of his life.  The house was purchased and turned into a museum in the 1920s, shortly after the death of the last family member; the first tour guide was the family's former housekeeper, who had been with them since she was a teen.   The rooms, with the exception of the kitchen, are the same now as they were when the family lived in the house at the turn of the 20th century.  The tour of the house was focused more on the poet than the architecture, which I expected, but enough was said of the house that it was still interesting.



I took lots of pictures, especially at the art museum.  My new camera gave me an error message about not being able to save to memory toward the end of my second day, then seemed to be fine after I turned it off then back on again...I took a few more pictures, then it told me my memory card was full, which made sense, because I had taken a ton of pictures.  When I got back home the only pictures I had were the last five I took, between the error message and the out of memory message.  (The pictures above are from wikimedia commons.)  The five pictures I have aren't of anything noteworthy, just shots of architectural elements I liked and one of street art.  Ordinarily I wouldn't show these, but, since they're all I came back with....