19th-century painting

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Five Ways of Seeing Van Gogh’s Irises

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3. Alone

With a little luck and an early arrival to the museum, you just might be able to enjoy Irises alone. If you arrive right at 10 a.m. when the museum opens, the quiet gallery provides a perfect backdrop to really examine the painting. Solitude and seclusion gives the gallery a sense of intimacy that makes it one of my favorite ways to see it.

4. Multiple Times

Detail of IrisesDuring my observations I noticed people often came back to see the painting multiple times in one day. I wonder if it’s due to its emotional complexity. One visitor felt the painting is filled with melancholy and sadness, pointing out Van Gogh’s stay in an asylum and the lone, white flower in the midst of the vibrant, purple irises. On the opposite end of the spectrum, another viewer felt the painting is full of joy, pointing out how vibrant the colors were, and how they manage to rise out of the seemingly dry, brown dirt.

5. Internationally

Visitors from all across the world viewed this famous Van Gogh. In just one hour I heard multiple languages—French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and more. Irises seems to rise above cultural boundaries—a Dutch painting inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints—to strike an emotional resonance amongst all viewers. DH0A5398 One of the great things about art is how we all bring our own perspectives t

A suggested menu of ways to see Van Gogh’s Irises More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

This Just In: Édouard Manet’s “Spring”

Spring (Jeanne Demarsy) / Manet
Spring (Jeanne Demarsy), 1881, Édouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 29 1/8 x 20 ¼ in. The J. Paul Getty Museum

For Manet, fashion and the femininity were metaphors for the skilled artifice of painting itself. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

The Radical Artistic Vision of Manet’s “Spring”

Spring as installed at the Getty Museum / Edouard Manet
Spring (Jeanne Demarsy), 1881, Édouard Manet. Oil on canvas, 29 1/8 x 20 ¼ in. The J. Paul Getty Museum

This beautiful painting contains the germ of modern art as we know it. More»

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Long Looks from Island to Island

Old Couple / John Currin
Artwork © John Currin. Photo: Robert McKeever

Two paintings of lovers, decades and centuries apart. More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Who Was James Ensor?

The Skeleton Painter / James Ensor
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Brussels. Image © Lukas-Art in Flanders vzw, photo Hugo Maertens

Belgium’s most eccentric, scandalous, and shocking painter is the focus of an exhibition at the Getty Center this summer. More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Explorations in Darkness and Light: Odilon Redon

Then appears a singular being having a man’s head atop the body of a fish / Odilon Redon

My job as research assistant to Marcia Reed, chief curator at the Getty Research Institute, and Louis Marchesano, curator of prints & drawings, might be described as “research becomes eclectic.” In addition to investigating a wide array of potential acquisitions… More»

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A “French ‘Mona Lisa’” Comes to L.A.: Manet’s “Portrait of Madame Brunet”

Portrait of Madame Brunet / Edouard Manet

Museum-quality paintings by Édouard Manet still remaining in private hands are exceptionally rare, and the Getty Museum is extremely fortunate in its most recent addition to the paintings collection: Manet’s Portrait of Madame Brunet, which goes on view at the… More»

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In Need of a Géricault “Fix”

Portrait Study for The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault, 1818–19

Even though it’s been more than a decade, I remember it as though it were yesterday. Like so many art history students, I made my first pilgrimage to the Louvre—tantamount to mecca for an art nerd like me—to feast my… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Center, Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Naked or Nude? Gérôme’s Provocative Bodies

snake_charmer

During a tour of the new exhibition The Spectacular Art of Jean-Léon Gérôme, curator Mary Morton stopped in front of Gérôme’s Snake Charmer and asked the audience, “What do you see?” Murmurs spread through the crowd. One brave little girl… More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

85 Years After John Singer Sargent

Portrait of Therese, countess Clary Aldringen / Sargent
Portrait of Therese, countess Clary Aldringen / Sargent

During the late 19th century, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was the most fashionable portrait painter in England and the United States. An example of his iconic style, his Portrait of Thérése, countess Clary Aldringen (1896) is now on view at… More»

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      It’s been 125 years since Van Gogh’s death, today we celebrate his life’s work.


      5 Ways to See Van Gogh’s Irises

      Through observations, visitor conversations, and some sneaky eavesdropping, we’ve compiled the top 5 ways people enjoy this painting.

      1. In a Crowd
        One of the most obvious ways that people see the painting is in a crowd. The gallery is almost always filled, and you might have to wait before you can get up close. The anticipation builds as you start in the back row, and slowly move until you are close enough to see the brushstrokes of Van Gogh’s thick paint.

      2. Online
        David from Colorado said that this was his first visit, but he had already seen the painting online. In addition to being available through the Getty’s Open Content program, the painting is often seen on social media. Just search #irises on Instagram for a taste of the painting’s popularity. 

      3. Alone
        If you arrive right at 10 a.m. when the museum opens, the quiet gallery provides a perfect backdrop to really examine the painting. Solitude and seclusion gives the gallery a sense of intimacy. 

      4. Multiple Times
        Repeat visits can give rise to multiple interpretations. Is it a melancholy or joyous painting? Expressive or depressive? 

      5. Internationally
        Visitors from all across the world viewed this famous Van Gogh. In just one hour I heard multiple languages—French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and more. Irises seems to rise above cultural boundaries—a Dutch painting inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints—to strike an emotional resonance amongst all viewers. 

      What is your favorite lens to view Van Gogh’s work through? 

      07/29/15

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