Finding Inspiration In Paris, Part 2

Bienvenue au musée d'Orsay

Inspiration for us is not limited to water lilies… 🙂 We also too the opportunity to visit the Musee d’Orsay which is home to one of the finest art collections in the world and houses one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings in the world (no surprise there!). Here’s just a few highlights, starting with Claude Monet:

Here’s a better view, courtesy of the web:

Claude Monet, Essai de figure en plein-air: Femme à l’ombrelle tournée vers la gauche, 1886

The artist’s technique, when combined with light and color gives the above figure an almost ethereal appearance- individual detail is not as an important as overall effect. What’s also interesting is that the sunlight is somewhat soft and diffuse rather than harsh. The above painting was one of a set of two with the figure facing both to the left and right:

And there’s the fabulous Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe by Manet:

This painting is a lot larger than what I was expecting. Here’s a better version, courtesy of the web:

Edouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1863

Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe was considered somewhat risque in 1863, especially in terms of subject matter. One can read many interpretations into this art piece but for us, this represents a freedom of form that runs somewhat counter to the tightly corseted clothing forms characteristic of the period. It’s an interesting contrast.

Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette provides another interesting study in the play of color and light:

And once again, a better version, courtesy of the Musee d’Orsay:

Renoir, Bal du moulin de la Galette, 1876

Now, while it can be argued that paintings only go so far when replicating the natural world, that really misses the point in that we’re not looking for strict realism, rather we’re looking at the artist’s interpretation of the natural world and it’s that interpretation that engages our interest and thus, inspires. The play of light and color is immensely fascinating to us and it often serves as a point of departure our design process. Impressionism is especially compelling because of its focus on light and color, especially when the color can change with the light due to factors such as shade, time of day, and distribution. Renoir’s Bal du moulin de Galette, pictured above, provides an especially good example of this.

And just because, below are some more examples, starting with one of our favorites, The Swing, by Renoir:

Auguste Renoir, La balançoire, 1876

The individual details of the objects and people are somewhat blurred but the colors go a long ways towards filling in the details. Also, we can tell that the woman’s dress is an princess line dress. 🙂 Monet’s A Bridge Over A Pond of Waterlilies is another favorite:

Claude Monet, Le bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte, 1899

The play of the various shades of green are striking and even more so viewing them up close and in person. Just for contrast is Monet’s Houses of Parliament depicts of London on a typically misty/foggy day where the sun is trying to burn through:

Claude Monet, Londres, le Parlement. Trouée de soleil dans le brouillard, 1904

Paris is the perfect place for fashion inspiration and during our short stay, we didn’t even scratch the surface of its amazing potential. However, we’ll be going back soon so we’ll have another opportunity to be inspired up close and personal. Au revoir!

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