Category Archives: Landscape

Planning for Paris

In my opinion, the best way to stick to a New Year’s resolution is to commit on New Year’s Eve, whether that’s signing up for a marathon, or perhaps purchasing airfare to that bucket-list locale you’ve been dreaming of. In this case, Paris. This Spring, the husband and I will be jetting off to Paris for the first time. With one-week to explore the City of Light, we’ll be focusing our travels within the city, or nearby. While the husband researches airbnb’s and can’t-miss restaurants, this art historian is making sure our travel itinerary is well stocked with museums, and sights featured in favorite impressionist oeuvres.


Though I’d love to see every museum Paris has to offer, I plan on saving plenty of time for simply enjoying the city. Paris Museum Pass to the rescue. Available as 2, 4 or 6 day Passes, the Museum Pass gains your access to 60 museum & monuments, let’s you skip the lines, and does away with the guilt of only popping in a museum for a moment, without seeing everything.


Just west of the historic core, Musée d’Orsay features the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist (this gal’s favorite period) masterpieces in the world, from Monet to Cézanne.

2A short stroll from Musée d’Orsay, and through Tuileries Garden, the Orangerie is home to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. The eight immersive compositions occupy two consecutive rooms, flooded with natural light, per Monet’s own recommendation.


I relish the chance to see artists’ creative spaces. Enter Musée Rodin. I am equally excited to see the mansion where Rodin lived and worked, as I am to search the gardens for the sculptor’s renowned works, such as The Thinker.


According to the all-knowing Rick StevesMusée Marmottan holds the largest collection of Monet’s work, in an “intimate, and untouristy” setting.


With an immense collection, from ancient works through mid-19th century, the Louvre is quick to overwhelm. The museum’s greek statuary collection, like the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace are at the top of my list, and perhaps a quick peek at the Medieval and Renaissance works, from Giotto to Raphael (basically a real-life stroll through an Art History 102 textbook). On the other hand, I DO NOT plan to waste time battling the crowds for a glance at the Mona Lisa.


Not only is Palais Garnier the subject of one of my favorite works, Raoul Dufy’s The Opera, Paris, but it is also beautiful in its own right, most notably the auditorium, the house curtain created by theatrical painters Auguste Rube (1817-1899) and Philippe Chaperon (1823-1906), and the ceiling painted by Marc Chagall.


A marvel of 13th-century gothic architecture, Sainte-Chapelle features stunning displays of stained-glass. A short walk along the Seine River brings you to Notre-Dame, for a look at the church’s facade, or perhaps a climb up the tower.


Though usually deemed a ‘tourist trap,’ you can’t deny the beautiful views and bohemian charm of Montmartre. Though we’ll probably skip the high priced crepes & Moulin Rouge scene, I look forward to a hike to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and to get lost along Montmartre’s cobbled and historic streets, from Place du Tertre lined with artists, to Bateau Lavoire at #13 Place Emile-Goudeau, Picasso’s studio, & at times, home to other prominent figures of the Belle Époque, like Braque & Modigliani.


Just an hour outside of Paris lies Giverny, the site of Claude Monet’s home and gardens, and the subject of many of the impressionist’s works. Giverny is a mandatory day trip in my opinion, and has been on my ‘Life List’ as long as I can remember.

If time allows, there are plenty of other museums that we may squeeze into the itinerary: Centre PompidouArmy Museum & Napoleon’s TombMusée de ClunyMusée PicassoMusée Carnavalet.

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Pierre Bonnard, Garden, ca. 1935, Oil on canvas

I am done with Winter. Turning my calendar to March, while there’s still snow on the ground ? No thank you.

Spring fever has me itching to throw open my apartment windows, and let the fresh air in—to escape the frigid Wisconsin weather, and bleak grey scenery, and take a walk through Bonnard’s colorful Garden. For now, I’ll have to make-do with fresh flowers and Rifle Paper Co.’s beautiful blooms. When Spring finally decides to roll around, I’ll be checking these warm weather cravings off my to-do list:

  • A visit to my favorite annual event at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Art in Bloom, a tribute to art and flowers, March 27th to 30th.
  • Smitten Kitchen’s Spring Panzanella, a delicious twist on classic panzanella (and who doesn’t love bread salad?)
  • An afternoon at Estebrook Beer Garden with the husband, and run around the neighboring dog park with Auggie Doggie (who is bouncing off the walls this Winter).

Good Old Modern

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“And the day ran into the night, memories…”

Ivan Albright (American, 1897-1983), "And the day ran into the night, memories...", 1937, Pastel and gouache on gray wove paper

Ivan Albright (American, 1897-1983), “And the day ran into the night, memories…”, 1937, Pastel and gouache on gray wove paper

Spending the day on Rock Lake, in Lake Mills, WI, in celebration of a lovely friend’s birthday! Reveling in this last stretch of Summer in a Albright-esque setting today.


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Washington, D.C. Bound

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The husband and I are embarking on a mini-summer vacation to Washington, D.C. this weekend, and I cannot wait to get away! Though our visit will be short, I’m hoping to squeeze in as much as possible—a little museum time, a couple choice restaurants, and plenty of time with my fabulous extended family, most of which call Maryland and the East Coast home. Having lived in D.C. for a short while, and having visited countless times, I won’t be hitting all the sites, but instead just a couple favorites, most likely the National Museum of Natural History and The Phillips Collection.

My younger brother, who resides in D.C., volunteers at the Natural History Museum’s O. Orkin Insect Zoo, where he spreads his lifelong, and passionate love of wildlife with museum visitors. As he’s had an obsession with all things creepy crawly since forever, (his third birthday cake featured a frosting-drawn scorpion a la my artistic mother) visiting the Natural History Museum was always mandatory during family trips to D.C., a visit that has now become a loved tradition. I, on the other hand, cannot visit D.C. without stopping by The Phillips Collection, my absolutely favorite museum, and locale of a short but wonderful internship prior to my starting graduate school. Set apart from the National Mall, hidden amidst the Dupont Circle neighborhood, The Phillips Collection displays an incredible collection of Modern and Contemporary works, a collection began by husband and wife duo, Duncan and Marjorie Phillips. The intimate and enthralling museum winds through both the Phillips’ original three-story town home, as well as more contemporary gallery spaces which have been added over the years, overall encompassing 60,000 square feet along 21st St. If I had a “collecting allowance,” as Duncan Phillips received from his parents in 1916, my ideal collection would mirror that of the Phillips. Though I return again and again to re-visit my favorite works by Cézanne, Dufy, Bonnard, Tack, amongst many others….I love that the galleries are also always shifting, works moved to new locations not to fit a chronological timeline, but instead to spark conversation, to reveal new artistic connections.

Paul Cézanne, The Garden at Les Lauves (Le Jardin des Lauves), ca. 1906, Oil on canvas

Raoul Dufy, The Artist’s Studio, 1935, Oil on canvas

Pierre Bonnard, The Open Window, 1921, Oil on canvas

Augustus Vincent Tack, Ecstasy, 1929, Oil on canvas on wallboard

*images: Arch Land Blog edited by Good Old Modern // The Phillips Collection


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July Fourth

Félix Vallotton (French, 1865–1925), Fireworks (plate VI) from The World's Fair (L'Exposition Universelle) , 1901, Woodcut

Félix Vallotton (French, 1865–1925), Fireworks (plate VI) from The World’s Fair (L’Exposition Universelle) , 1901, Woodcut

Happy Fourth of July all! I’m on a major Félix Vallotton kick lately, and love his woodcut, Fireworks, from L’Exposition Universelle, held in Paris in 1900. Our apartment completed a brand new rooftop deck yesterday, just in time for Milwaukee’s fireworks display last night. Now heading to my hometown for some nostalgic parade watching, and backyard BBQ.


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Street Scene

Félix Vallotton (Swiss, Lausanne 1865–1925 Paris), Street Scene in Paris (Coin de rue à Paris), 1895, Gouache and oil on cardboard

Milwaukee is bustling! Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival, is currently taking place here in Milwaukee, and having an extra 900,000 people packed into the city makes it feel a bit more crowded than usual, especially living within walking distance of the fair’s lakefront location. Though I’m not a fan of my quadrupled commute time, or the fruitless attempts at walking our 4 month old puppy without stopping every other step (which rarely happens on a deserted sidewalk, much less a packed one), I’m still looking forward to stopping by Milwaukee’s annual fest (primarily for a taste of Saz’s famous sour cream & chive fries? guilty.) Though Milwaukee’s crowds are not as glamorous as Vallotton’s, absolutely in love with the artist’s broad saturated planes of color.

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