A Palette-able Delight!

Do You Really Need Another Great Reason to Take My New York City Portrait Artist Workshop?

During my New York oil portrait artist workshop I will spend one day, with my students, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ll be analyzing a number of great master portraits and talk about how they relate to my teaching.

Today I visited the Met’s 19th Century European painting wing. I went to check out William Bouguereau’s Breton Brother and Sister, one of my two favorite paintings in the museum’s permanent collection. (OK since you asked, my other favorite is Tea Leaves by William McGregor Paxton.) Boy was I pissed off when it wasn’t there. Just typical, I thought. All the crappy paintings by “historically significant artists” clogging the walls and they have to take down a genuine work of genius. Where do these curators buy their eyeglasses? It’s bad enough they took down Lord Leighton’s Lachrymae (Mary Lloyd) a couple of years ago.

As I wheedled my way through the galleries bemoaning the loss of a major landmark of my tour I entered Gallery 827, and low and behold, there was Breton Brother and Sister after all…but wait a minute–I must be hallucinating–there, smack dab in the middle of the gallery’s main wall, now hangs Bouguereau’s major masterpiece, Nymphs and Satyr. It’s beautifully presented and looks beyond spectacular. I’d seen it twice before at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown MA. I was told it will be at the Met for a two-year loan while the Institute undergoes renovations. I am so excited to share this with my portrait workshop students. No reproduction can even begin to replicate its splendor. I will be pitching a tent. I hope they still serve crow sandwich in the cafeteria.

Until next time…


  1. You made me laugh, Marvin. I’d love to get a photo of you pitching a tent at the Met! I probably won’t be able to see the painting this year, but with any luck, maybe next year. In the meantime, I can visit La Mère Patrie at the museum here in Portland 🙂

  2. Your writing is always clear and to the point. But I must admit in ‘I will be pitching a tent’ I loved the use of a double entendre.

  3. This is fantastic – the painting, but more that it is accessible for a while. Since I can’t come in for the summer workshop… really hoping it’s still there for the fall classes!

  4. I have gotten a few emails pointing* out that ‘pitching a tent’ is a euphemism. Although I am familiar with that usage it was unintentional on my part*. It was late, ok? I’ll admit, I screwed* up. Even though standing in front of ‘Nymphs and Satyr’ is a positively orgasmic* experience, and I got very excited* when I saw it, in no way was I trying to sully this family oriented blog. It’s hard* enough to come* up with blog topics without having everyone jumping* in with their own conclusions. If I wanted to write a blog about sex I could easily bang* one out. I hope this issue is now officially put to bed* and we’re finally over this hump*.

    *the above words have no intended sexual connotations. If you believe otherwise, please go take a cold shower

    • Matthew Innis says

      The insertion of that unfortunate choice of phrase was indeed quite a boner.

    • Must be a NYC, translation… I figured you meant to “park” or “remain” right in front, (or something related to the Mets or Yankees).

      Back to the topic, a trip to any museum would be great–your slide show was one of my favorite parts of your workshop–and whoa, what a find in your museum, I was thrilled we had more than our ” girl with porridge”‘ which is open storage. I’m guessing we needed the wall space or the 9 Renaults we so generously received from a lady who must have wallpapered her home with them. Aaauuuggghh

  5. Christopher Hickey says

    I am embarrassed to admit that I had to look up the double entendre for “pitch a tent”. I guess we are pretty sheltered down here in Atlanta or perhaps I need to listen to more blues! I have also had the pleasure of seeing Bouguereau’s painting “Nymphs and Satyr” at the Clark and the work commands the room. Like many art students in the 1970’s we were taught that Bouguereau represented the worst in 19th century art. That he, Gerome, or anyone connected with the Academy were to be dismissed as facile technicians. Those challenging the status quo were making the great works. In the past several years I have been revisiting the work and instruction provided by the academicians and have learned to appreciate their love of craft and grounding in life drawing. While I still struggle with the content of many 19th century academic works (I know I am coming with a 21st century bias) there is no doubt that much can be learned from these remarkable painters.

    I was surfing the net a couple of nights ago and came across Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s, “Exhausted Maenides after the Dance”. Do you know it? It is amazingly current with the fusion of finished areas and sections in process.

    Enjoy “Nymphs and Satyr” for its New York visit!

    • If I only had said camp out. I plan to write a blog post–in the not too distant future–about biases, with regards to art, and how they cloud our ability to benefit from things we summarily rule out.

  6. That Bouguereau is some crazy stuff. Rather than pitch a tent, I’d be tempted to build an altar, with a libation of paint thinner and burnt offering of brushes.

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