Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 34/60: Portland Museum of Art

Today was about the Portland Museum of Art, PMA, in Maine, not to be confused with the Portland Art Museum, PAM, in Oregon. We got there about 10:30 on a cold gray morning. A Starbucks was located strategically across from the entrance in an old flat-iron building. I had a double tall latte and a 2-bite cherry pie while Dan took a photo of the facade of the museum. It is a handsome brick building that fits in with the other brick buildings around, and copies their arches, and yet is modern in a grand way. One of the young security/info people said it was designed by a member of the I. M. Pei firm; the style seems consistent with his principles. The interior has dome-like sky-lights, much like those in the museum's original building. I was never really conscious of moving between buildings.

Façade of Portland Museum of Art
Jan's photo, late afternoon

The great treat was an amazing exhibit of paintings by Winslow Homer, all seascapes he made at nearby Prouts Neck, which we had visited the day before. There were several great works from the Clark Institute in Williamstown, and other great museums around the country. Lighting was perfect; no photos allowed. The sunsets really get to me, so luminous, with painful streaks of red. And when you get right up to these paintings (most were unglazed), they look like awkward daubs of house paint, but at the right distance those rocks and waves can break your heart.

This is the type of painting shown in the exhibit "Weatherbeaten."
This photo is poor quality because I shot it from a balcony "illegally."
Jan's photo
PMA had a good permanent collection. Two stars were two gorgeous paintings of fishing scenes by N.C. Wyeth; great light effects. N.C., the father, was a bold and generous painter with the eye of an illustrator.

Dark Harbor Fishermen by N.C. Wyeth, 1943
Dan's photo

Lobstering Off Black Spruce Ledge by N.C. Wyeth, 1941
Dan's photo
His more famous son, Andrew, was restrained and gloomy, thoughtful and poetic.

Raven's Grove by Andrew Wyeth, 1985
Dan's photo
We had lunch in their basement café amidst displays of historical glassware, quite lovely. The wait for our food seemed interminable, but our Andalusian meatloaf with sweet tomato chutney was very tasty; plus salad to moderate. Still my mouth was burning, so we split a piece of home-made tasting apple pie.

We spent another couple of hours there.

Diana of the Sea by Marguerite Zorach, 1940
Dan's photo
Wreck of the D.T. Sheridan by Rockwell Kent, 1949-53
Dan's photo
Royal Arches, Yosemite Valley, California by Albert Bierstadt, 1872
Dan's photo
The Great Mogul and his Court by Edmond Lord Weeks, 1886
Dan's photo
Sailboat in Southampton by Maurice de Vlaminck, 1912-14
Dan's photo
The Lotus Eaters by Thomas Moran, 1895
Dan's photo
Around 3:30 we had pretty much seen everything twice, so we went looking for Longfellow's House and the Portland Historical Museum. It was bloody cold and I whined all the way. We got there in time for the tour that started at 4:00, but it was going to last an hour and neither of us felt ready for that; we just wanted to have a quick look around and take a few photos. On the way back to the car, we stopped at Starbucks again. I had a latte and we split a cup of fruit; fruit is hard to get on the road.

Dan wanted to go some place interesting for dinner, but the restaurants all seemed far away; it's hard to go out in the cold and dark. I was satisfied with whole wheat toast at the motel's restaurant. Fortunately Friday nights they have a buffet, if they have enough guests to warrant it. Tonight a few large tour groups arrived and the cafe was packed. The buffet had ham and salads and all the regular stuff. Dan watched some baseball game. I went back to the room and ironed a pair of pants for him. I nearly fell asleep standing there.

This motel has worked out well. The café is a good thing; the elevator works well; the heating works well and is not too noisy; the bed is OK. Bad: fridge froze my Diet Coke every night; bathroom is cramped and has a very low counter. It is an easy drive to downtown Portland, where hotel rates are 50% higher.

1 comment:

  1. As an older art collector since my wife passed away, I must admit to being very partial to collecting nudes in art, as original paintings or as good prints, that I have displayed all over the house. (I like to see the surprised faces of my new visitors).
    This one,
    http://en.wahooart.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LHTDD, by Emile Munier, is hanging in one corner of my bedroom and was printed by wahooart.com, where I am a very good customer.

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