Roberta on the Arts
A Tour of Favorite Works and Spaces at the Museum of Modern Art
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A Tour of Favorite Works and Spaces at the Museum of Modern Art

- in the Galleries: Arts and Education


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A Tour of Favorite Works and Spaces
At the
Museum of Modern Art
www.moma.org
11 West 53rd Street
NY, NY 10019
212.708.9431

Paul Jackson, MoMA Communications Manager

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 1, 2016


With assistance from Museum of Modern Art notes on The Collection.

I began a recent, mid-February tour with brunch at Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) Terrace 5 and ordered smoked salmon on toasted rye, with a steaming cappuccino. Describing food served at MOMA is almost like describing its vast, permanent art collection, as each dish is served with modern flair. Unfortunately my visit was during the winter season, when the terrace and garden are closed, and the window garden views were blocked as well, but I did peer down at the garden later in my tour, and a full garden exploration will be forthcoming when it’s high season at MOMA. Following a relaxing brunch, I headed for an exhibit that was about to close, Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern. The first three photos below are of "Manolita Piña", 1905, "Dama de negro" (Lady in Black), 1906, and “Street Scene", 1920-22, all by Torres-García. Had I not visited MOMA during this exhibition, I would not have known about these late 19th century drawings, paintings, sculptures, objects, notebooks, and publications, created by the Uruguayan, Torres-García, from the late 19th century through the 1940’s. After this serendipitous exploration, I moved on to my favorite works, enveloping myself in the familiarity and warmth of the aesthetic connections.

"The Olive Trees" and "The Starry Night", both painted by Vincent van Gogh, were strong and stunning, as always. The artist painted both works in Saint Rémy in early summer of 1889. Both paintings were awash in swirling greens, blues, and white, with “The Olive Trees” depicting a billowing cloud in daytime, floating over the Alps, and “The Starry Night” depicting stars and galaxies in motion in nighttime. I also focused on two renowned paintings by Henri Rousseau, "The Dream", 1910, and "The Sleeping Gypsy", 1897. Rousseau, a toll collector in Paris, who never left France, painted wild, exotic, surreal scenes, largely from his imagination, with the help of the Paris zoo and botanical garden, as well as the current literature and photography. Only in Rousseau’s fantasy could a nude woman lie on a couch, surrounded by female lions, an elephant, and a figure blowing a horn, and could a male lion happen upon a gypsy in the desert and curiously observe her sleeping. Three works by Picasso, whose sculptures were recently exhibited at MOMA, "Woman with Pears", 1909, “Head of a Sleeping Woman", 1907, and “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", 1907, were illustrative of Picasso’s early exploration of the visual art style known as Cubism. In “Woman with Pears”, Picasso’s muse, this time, was Fernande Olivier, who accompanied him to Spain. Ms. Olivier’s face is divided into shapes of rectangles, diamonds, and even a heart-shaped mouth. “Head of a Sleeping Woman”, with a woman’s upper torso and face a series of sharply outlined ovals, like an African sculpture, was a study for “Nude with Drapery”, which followed. But, it’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” that intrigues me the most, of these three, with five nude women, two with African mask motifs for faces, wrapped in draped sheets, with melon and grapes nearby. This is a truly primal view of women.

“Unique Forms of Continuity in Space", 1913, a massive bronze sculpture by Umberto Boccioni, exudes masculinity, modernity, muscularity, and momentum. I was not looking for Boccioni, but he found me. That’s the nature of visiting a good museum, the element of surprise, fascination, and enrichment. “Sun, Moon, Simultaneous 2", also dated 1913, by Robert Delaunay, reminded me of looking through a kaleidoscope, with shapes of colors intersecting like a mosaic. Delaunay’s circular painting bunches most of the brightly colored shapes to the right side, with the left side featuring what could be a white moon, surrounded by a ribbon of light, evoking a mysterious universe. Three paintings by Gustav Klimt, “Adele Bloch-Bauer II", 1912, “The Park", 1910, and “Hope, II", 1907-08, were riveting, after seeing the film “Woman in Gold”, about Maria Altmann’s prolonged battle for the return of five Klimt paintings, stolen from her family by the Nazis in World War II. “Adele Bloch-Bauer II” was one of those five paintings, and it is now on a long-term loan to MOMA. It’s just exquisitely elegant. “The Park” evokes the Pointillist style of painting in tiny dots of overlapping color, but without prismatic effect. “Hope, II” depicts a pregnant woman in tune with her womanliness, with Klimt’s fine, gold leaf paint in the woman’s long dress, under which additional women can be seen reverently bowing.

One of my favorite Chagall’s, "I and the Village", 1911, was painted soon after Chagall moved to Paris from Russia. Here he reimagines, through memory and emotion, his beloved Vitebsk. He recalled animals and villagers existing in the same community space, with a cow, perhaps, thinking it’s time for milking, amidst gentle, Cubist shapes and a figure upside down. Two Matisse works, "Dance" (I), 1909, and "The Red Studio", 1911, always draw me in. The minimalistic painting, “Dance” (I), was the study for a commissioned panel for a Russian Merchant. The final panel, “Dance”, can be seen in St. Petersburg at The Hermitage. “The Red Studio” depicts Matisse’s recent works in his own studio. The color red surrounds each work as a full-space frame. A standing, surreal clock is drawn with no hands. In stark contrast to these spellbinding paintings was a collection of six Brancusi sculptures, smooth and refined, sculpted from cherry, bronze, marble, oak, and limestone: "The Cock", 1924, "Bird in Space", 1928, "Maiastra", 1910-12, "Socrates", 1922, "Mlle. Pogany" (I), 1913, and “Blond Negress, II", 1933. MOMA’s professionally planned lighting was key to these striking sculptures standing apart, yet enhancing each other against the white backdrop.

Finally, I arrived in the gallery housing Monet’s paintings of water lilies, large and larger, the artist’s homage to his beloved home and sumptuous gardens in Giverny, as well as his paintings of his gorgeous Japanese footbridge over the pond. The "Water Lilies" paintings photographed below were painted between 1914 and 1926, while “The Japanese Footbridge" was painted between 1920 and 1922. Monet’s "Agapanthus", of purple, perennial lilies, was also painted between 1914 and 1926. As a lifelong admirer of Monet, I look for the melting bold colors that Monet chose when he was losing his sight in the later years, compared to the softer, crisper versions of the Giverny scenes in the earlier years. "The False Mirror", 1928, by René Magritte, and "The Persistence of Memory", 1931, by Salvador Dalí, are magnetically Surrealist, the first with an eye of sky and clouds gazing at the viewer, as the viewer gazes at the interior view, and the second of melting clocks, with time stretching and falling. At the finale of this must-repeat-soon tour of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, as well as the Torres-García exhibit, I headed for The Bar Room at The Modern for a snifter of Armagnac.



Smoked Salmon on Toasted Rye
and Cappuccino
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Manolita Piña", c. 1905
Oil on canvas, by Joaquin Torres-García
Museo Torres-García, Montevideo
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Dama de negro" (Lady in Black), 1906
Charcoal on paper, by Joaquin Torres-García
Yvonne Kook Wescott
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Street Scene", 1920-22
Oil on canvas, by Joaquin Torres-García
The Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Gift of Morton G. Neumann, 1977
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Olive Trees", 1889
Oil on canvas, by Vincent van Gogh
Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest, 1998
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Starry Night", Saint Rémy, June 1889
Oil on canvas, by Vincent van Gogh
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Dream", 1910
Oil on canvas, by Henri Rousseau
Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Sleeping Gypsy", 1897
Oil on canvas, by Henri Rousseau
Gift of Mrs. Simon Guggenheim
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Woman with Pears", 1909
Oil on canvas, by Pablo Picasso
Florene May Schoenborn Bequest, 1996
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Head of a Sleeping Woman" (Study for "Nude with Drapery"), 1907
Oil on canvas, by Pablo Picasso
Estate of John Hay Whitney, 1983
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", Paris, June-July 1907
Oil on canvas, by Pablo Picasso
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Unique Forms of Continuity in Space", 1913 (cast 1931)
Bronze, by Umberto Boccioni
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, 1948
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Sun, Moon, Simultaneous 2", 1913 (dated 1912 on painting)
Oil on canvas, by Robert Delaunay
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, 1954
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Adele Bloch-Bauer II", 1912
Oil on canvas, by Gustav Klimt
Private Collection
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Park", 1910 or earlier
Oil on canvas, by Gustav Klimt
Gertrud A. Mellon Fund, 1957
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Hope, II", 1907-08
Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas, by Gustav Klimt
Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder and Helen Acheson Funds,
and Serge Sabarsky, 1978
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"I and the Village", 1911
Oil on canvas, by Marc Chagall
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, 1945
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Dance" (I), Paris, Boulevard des Invalides, early 1909
Oil on canvas, by Henri Matisse
Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Red Studio", 1911
Oil on canvas, by Henri Matisse
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, 1949
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Sculptures by Constantin Brancusi
"The Cock" (Cherry), Paris 1924, Gift of LeRay W. Berdeau
"Bird in Space" (Bronze), 1928, Given anonymously
"Maiastra", 1910-12 (White marble, limestone), Katherine S. Dreier Bequest
"Socrates", 1922 (Oak and limestone), Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund
"Mlle. Pogany" (I), 1913 (after 1912 marble) (Bronze/black patina/limestone)
Lillie P. Bliss Bequest
"Blond Negress, II", 1933 (after 1928 marble) (Bronze, marble, limestone, oak)
P.L. Goodwin Collection
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Interior View, The Museum of Modern Art
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Partial View, "Water Lilies", Giverny, 1914-26
Oil on Canvas, Three Panels, by Claude Monet
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Partial View, "Water Lilies", Giverny, 1914-26
Oil on Canvas, Three Panels, by Claude Monet
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Japanese Footbridge", 1920-22
Oil on canvas, by Claude Monet
Grace Rainey Rogers Fund, 1956
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Water Lilies", Giverny, 1914-26
Oil on Canvas, by Claude Monet
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, 1959
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"Agapanthus", Giverny, 1914-26
Oil on Canvas, by Claude Monet
Gift of Sylvia Slifka in memory of Joseph Slifka
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The False Mirror", 1928
Oil on canvas, by René Magritte
Purchase, 1937
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



"The Persistence of Memory", 1931
Oil on canvas, by Salvador Dalí
Given anonymously, 1934
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Bartender and The Bar at The Modern
VSOP Castarède Armagnac, France
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net