![CDATA[Our Two Boys In Paris]]

![CDATA[MANILA, Philippines — Paris’ Musée d’Orsay visited the National Museum of Singapore, bringing works from the 1850s on, when artists worked with fresh inspiration, developed new theories and ventured into untried composition, color, technique.Entitled “Dreams and Reality,” the enjoyable and educational exhibit seeks to illustrate how artists perceived the real world and in what ways they dreamed it could be recorded.  Impressionists are well-represented—Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and their friends.  There are first-rate works by Degas and Post-Impressionists, e.g., Cézanne ("The Cardplayers"), Le Douanier ("The Cavalcade of Discord"), Gauguin ("On the Edge of the Abyss"), Toulouse-Lautrec ("The Female Clown Cha-U-Kao"), Vincent van Gogh ("Starry Night").Felix Resurrección Hidalgo lived in Paris from 1883 till his death in 1913 and Juan Luna from 1884 until 1893 after his celebrated trial.  Organized by theme, the Orsay/NMS exhibit offers glimpses of Luna and Hidalgo at the stormy birth of modern art.Luna’s "Spoliarium" (National Gallery) and Hidalgo’s "La Barca de Aqueronte" and "Las Virgenes Christianas" (Bangko Sentral) are of the academic Neoclassic movement inspired by ancient Greece and Rome.  Ingres and others painted odalisques, Roman and Turkish baths, harems, as did Luna, whose "La Muerte de Cleopatra" is of the same feeling as the show’s "Samson and Dalila" by Gustave Moreau.Uprisings stimulated such works like Meissonier’s "The Siege of Paris" and Luna’s "La Batalla de Lepanto."Worker exploitation affected Karl Marx and artists alike, who adopted Social Realist themes, e.g., Luna’s worker’s funeral ("Héroes Anónimos") and Alphonse Osbert’s "The Accident at Work."  Steel mills were notorious for pollution shown in Constantin Meunier’s work and for blistering interiors, painted by Fernand Cormon and Luna.   Like Pissarro and Millet, Luna depicted farm workers. Very much alike in monochromatic blue are Monet’s "Branch of the Seine near Giverny" and Hidalgo’s "Las Orillas del Marne" at the Bangko Sentral.  The GSIS Luna, "Interior d’Un Café," is in the same mood as Degas’ "L’Absinthe" (at the Musée d’Orsay though not in the show), a woman seated absorbed in her thoughts.Luna painted at least two versions of "A Box at the Opera."  He is clearly more sentimental than Eva Gonzales, Charles Cottet or Pierre Bonnard, who all painted the same subject.Both Luna and Hidalgo were accomplished portraitists, though Monet’s and Carolus-Duran’s full lengths are exceptional.  Monet’s subject faces away from the viewer while Carolus-Duran’s is shown as if removing her gloves while walking. On the other hand, Hidalgo’s portrait of Sabino Padilla (Bangko Sentral) and especially one of a young woman (formerly in the Imee Marcos Collection, whereabouts unknown) are wonderfully atmospheric, as if painted by moonlight.Like the Impressionists, Hidalgo and Luna went on painting excursions in the countryside.  Luna’s "Picnic in Normandie" (Vargas Museum) seems to be on a cloudy but still day, unlike Monet’s works filled with sun and wind.  Impressionists dreamed of reality in terms of movement and changing light; Post-Impressionists’ thinking was in terms of distortion, perspective and arbitrary color.  Luna and Hidalgo may have preferred, like Degas, to be characterized as Realist.Comments are cordially invited, addressed to walalang@mb.com.ph.  ]]

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