Les Nabis: Prophecy

Due to the amazingness of my sister-in-law, Sheila, we were able to slip away to San Francisco today to enjoy the Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond Post Impressionist exhibit at the de Young Museum.  My friend Jenni alerted me to this exhibit over a year and half ago after seeing an article about it in the NY Times and it’s been on my Google calendar since.  I was literally salivating about this opportunity the whole way there.  YIPPEE….I.  Heart.  Art.

Just over two years ago we had had the opportunity to see the Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night exhibit at NY’s MOMA and about 10 years ago (WHAT??!?) I was in France with my friends Hans and Steph.    Numerous prints from the Van Gogh exhibit were repeated here, as were pieces we’d see at the Orsay in Paris, but geez.  Art just doesn’t get old.  Well, it gets OLD, but I seriously love how you can see pieces again and again and appreciate the beauty.

And then there were some *newbies* that caught my eye…..

Les Andelys (The Riverbank) by Paul Signac.  I want to be that guy on the dock in this one!


LOVE the perspective on Dancers Climbing the Stairs by Edgar Degas.  Seriously.

This painting would be such a great story starter.


Oh, dear.  I could go on and on and on.  I wrote down so many artists and painting titles as we went around the exhibit.  So much beauty.  But the room that focused on Les Nabis (the prophets), a group of young student artists caught our eye.  According to Wikipedia, “the term Les Nabis was coined by the poet Henri Cazalis who drew a parallel between the way these painters aimed to revitalize painting and the way the ancient prophets had rejuvenated Israel.”  It was so true.  These artist really were prophets in an artistic sense, trying to usher in a new approach to art and painting.  You could FEEL it in that room.  Well, I guess it was that or that fact we were packed in there like sardines.  Who knows.

Matt and I were both spellbound by the paintings of Maurice Denis.  Neither of us had ever heard of him prior to today, and yet time and time again, we’d comment how much we liked a piece and then realize that, once again, he’d painted it.

The water in Regatta at Perros-Guirec….


The background in The Green Trees….


The texture in The Muses


I love how art can be so rich, full and thought-provoking.  When I would save every penny and then splurge on a summer trip to Europe during my earlier teaching years, Rick Steves’ “Mona Winks” book was my favorite paper companion to any museum visit.  Steves has a glorious writing style that makes art accessible, interesting to commonfolk like me!, and he’s hilarious.  Now the book has changed its title, but it’s still full of goodness!

Anyhow, without my trusty Rick Steves’ guide, I was left to my own devices, but it was a great stretch for me.  I just tried to let my mind open up and take all the pieces in and just enjoy.  I’m already marking my calendar for the upcoming Picasso exhibit that will be arriving from the Musee National Picasso in Paris to the de Young in June!


We had lunch at the de Young Cafe…..

Petite Cochon (california style braised marin sun farms pulled pork, sonoma pepper jack cheese,hass avocado, panorama rosemary potato bun, jicama slaw) and Mighty Leaf Tea

And you know you’re desperate when part of the fun day without kids, celebrate one’s upcoming anniversary is capped off with an hour and half shopping spree at IKEA.  But, yes, that’s how we ended our day.

The whole day was such a treat and we’re immensely grateful for family and friends who are consistently willing to care for our kids to make it possible.


I’m exhausted, so heading out to sleep amidst a crazy rainstorm.  Hang on out there….it’s rough waters.

The Man at the Tiller by van Rysselberghe, 1892



And relax.  It’s vacation week!


Madeleine in the Bois d’Amour by Bernard, 1888


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