Sunday, March 27, 2005

"You can't go home again."

Interesting Conversations No. 2: Flashback Style

One Christmas Eve party a few years ago, after grazing over a platter of shrimp cocktail at my cousin's townhome, I noticed a rather interesting painting hanging over the blue striped sofa. Seeing how I was an art major with plenty of classes under my belt, there was something familiar about the painting style.

Me: "That reminds me of a Pissaro painting."

My Cousin: "That' s because it is."

I started to choke on my shrimp cocktail.

Me: "Excuse me??"

How a $40k French Impressionist painting came to hang in the living room of a suburban Maryland townhome, was beyond me. It was later explained that my cousin's boyfriend (later fiance, later ex-fiance) was an art collector. And as I finished the rest of my shrimp cocktail and wine, I realized that this was a close as I would come to a painting like this outside of a museum.

Much like the shrimp cocktail, the boyfriend and the painting are long gone (the big diamond he gave her stayed), but I couldn't help remember my suburban brush with a real deal Impressionist painting this past Friday. That afternoon, having arrived in DC a day earlier than planned, I wandered the rooms of the National Gallery of Art in order to kill some time. In fact this was the first time I had been back to the National Gallery since my last day in DC on cold and rainy November day. Though it was March, the weather was very much the same.

I've been to the National Gallery so many times over the course of my life (yay for free museums!) that I have come to know it like the back of my hand. I know instantly when a painting has been removed or added and become rather sad when a much beloved painting goes inexplicably missing. The Pissaros were still there. So was Whistler's "Symphony in White No. 1."

Somehow wandering through the West Wing and later through a photography exhibit containing many images of New York, I realized that Washington was no longer my home.


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that the infamous "cockroach incident" has yet to make it onto your blog...

nycrouge said...

Ask and ye shall receive.