Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Degas’ Dancer Sculptures in Toledo

Second String City 
with a First Rate Art Museum

The Toledo Museum of Art
     Neil had been to The Toledo Museum of Art in the 1980s and was very impressed with the works by El Greco he’d seen there.  There’s an exhibition of Degas and the Dance through January 10 so we thought we’d check it out between Detroit and Cleveland.  One thing about late 19th century industrial cities’ movers and shakers, (in this case the Libbey Glass Company) they sure as heck pushed for major art showplaces.  
The Agony in the Garden, El Greco
As a follow-up and possible suspense killer, there is an El Greco painting.  What Neil remembered, according to one of the docents, was actually an exhibit.

Degas' Little Dancer of Fourteen Years
     Degas and the Dance features eleven sculptures and paintings about ballet.  The centerpiece is the three foot tall figure of a dancer from the Ballet School of the Paris Opéra, the wax sculpture modeled in 1881, but cast in bronze a couple of years after Degas’ 1917 death.  It’s a boutique exhibit that is an amuse bouche for the following courses the museum offers.

The Glass Pavilion
     The unmissable, best thing to see first is the Glass Pavilion, opened in 2006 and designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa before they won the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.  Though it seems influenced by Phillip Johnson’s glass block private homes, it seems to float in the landscape because of its curving lines inside and out.  There are glassblowing demonstrations, but we didn’t have much time to check that out because we were under a deadline. The sublime 
BCE Glass Pieces
collection extends from 1500 BCE to the last couple of years and includes examples from around the world.  Amazingly, glass did not change much in terms of technology or method for production.  
Variations in Glass
The basis for design and color has remained steady, while there have been specific variations by continent and historical era.  There’s a mix of pieces to be used and those to be viewed.  I’d recommend going there first on a visit.

Wolfe Contemporary Gallery
     Wolfe Gallery on the second level in the main building has been renovated as the central point for the contemporary collection.  It’s impressive and even has a large Jennifer Bartlett work, which is the first time I’ve seen such a work by her that wasn’t in a book.  The rest of the museum covers the 
major movements and continents over the centuries, though the Baroque and Rococo periods receive significant exposure.  The 19th – early 20th century pieces will entice many visitors.

Degas and the Dance runs through January 10. 2016.


Golden Goddess Designs said...

I didn't know Toledo had such a museum! I have only stopped there once, but now I have something else to do there! I love Degas, although I assume this is a traveling exhibit.

Dexter said...

We hope you will be able to see the Degas exhibit. It may not be going to any other museum.