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FROM THIS EPISODE

Most of the time, I go to museums to see new, special exhibitions. But, a few days ago, I just meandered through dozens of galleries at Los Angeles County Museum, with their collections of European art. It was like saying, “Hello,” to old friends.


Laughing Child, 1620-25.  Frans Hals. LACMA. Photo by Edward Goldman.

And all of a sudden, I saw a small painting of a smiling boy, by Frans Hals, one of the most famous Dutch painters of the 17 th century. It’s been in the museum collection for 26 years, but shame on me, I don’t remember seeing it before. It’s absolutely stunning, with Frans Hals’ trademark wild brushstrokes that have the energy of 20 th century art.


L: The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, 1638-40. Georges de La Tour. LACMA. R: The Opera Messalina at Bordeaux, 1900-1901. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. LACMA. Photos by Edward Goldman.

After that, I went to see my two favorite paintings at LACMA that I got to know even before my first visit to the museum, 40 years ago: a portrait of Mary Magdalen by 17 th century French artist George de La Tour, and a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec capturing a theatre stage during an opera performance. Believe it or not, I first saw these two paintings as a part of an exhibition that traveled to the Hermitage Museum in the early 70s, presenting 100 masterpieces from various American museums.


L: Nude Study of Balzac, 1892. Aguste Rodin. LACMA. R: Sculpture by Edgar Degas. LACMA. Photos by Edward Goldman.

LACMA has a small but distinguished collection of 19 th century French art, with a Rodin bronze sculpture of naked Balzac that grabs your attention. A full-scale bronze sculpture of this famous French writer – fully draped – can be seen in one of LACMA’s outdoor plazas.


Installation shot, The Artist Observed: Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen. Gemini G.E.L. Los Angeles. Photo by Edward Goldman.

After LACMA, I went to Gemini G.E.L., to see the exhibition of photographs by Sidney B. Felsen, the co-founder of this famous printing workshop, where, for the last 50 years, many major American artists went to produce printed editions of their work.


L & R: Installation shots, The Artist Observed: Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen. Gemini G.E.L. Los Angeles. Photos by Edward Goldman.

The exhibition of 200 photographs selected from 20,000 negatives allows you to delve into the intimate creative process by such artists as Baldessari and Serra, Jasper Johns and Rauschenberg. And, of course, Frank Gehry and David Hockney.


L: David Hockney at the opening reception for The Artist Observed: Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen. Gemini G.E.L. Los Angeles. R: Installation shot, The Artist Observed: Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen. Gemini G.E.L. Los Angeles. Photos by Edward Goldman.

All of these portraits are rather informal; they capture the artists as they sweat, play, and work hard. Very few of us have the privilege to see these artists in their studios and workshops creating art, but these photos give us the sensation of being a fly on the wall.


L & R: Installation shots, The Artist Observed: Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen. Gemini G.E.L. Los Angeles. Photos by Edward Goldman.

At the opening of this exhibition, I bumped into David Hockney and Frank Gehry, both in high spirits. So, if you are interested in Los Angeles’ art history, this exhibition is absolutely a must-see. One wants to say, “Thank you,” to Sidney B. Felsen, for not only co- founding Gemini G.E.L., but for being a great documentarian of the glory of the Los Angeles art scene over the last 50 years.

CREDITS

Host:
Edward Goldman

Producers:
Kathleen Yore

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