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I had not returned to Paris for some time. Not since early 2019 when I attended the wedding of my
friends’ daughter at Hotel des Invalides, St. Louis des Invalides Cathedral. So much had happened
everywhere after that. Be that as it may, following the extraordinary “Van Gogh in America” exhibit at
the Detroit Institute of Arts, I settled on travelling back to Paris to refresh my keen interest in
impressionism and post-impressionism. It was high time. So, it was decided- a week long museum

My list of museums was headed by Musée d’Orsay, Le Musée de l’Orangerie and LVMH Foundation.
From my hotel, directly across from L’Arc de Triomphe d’ Etoile in the 1 st arrondisement, I was all set on
starting at the Orangerie, located on the Place de Concorde, where I could sit in the salons, observe and
absorb all that I saw. However, as I exited the hotel, I made a misstep and was saved by a spirited car
driver, Jonathan, who escorted me to his waiting luxury vehicle: The Hopium Machina Vision!

My immediate reaction was disbelief: This high-tech hydrogen EV prototype had just premiered at the
November, 2022 Paris Auto Show. It was created by race car driver, Olivier Lombard in 2019, with mass
production scheduled for 2025. Talk about power, I thought as we shot forward and raced onward at
143 mph in this 500 horse-powered supercar, with all around us gaping.

Somehow, instead of heading to the Orangerie where I could study Monet’s Water Lilies murals, which
comprised “Les Grandes Decorations” (his gift to France in commemoration of the 1918 Armistice Day),
we came to a screeching halt at a house in Giverny about 55 miles away. It seemed more like 1917-18,
though, by the clothing of passersby and the war trenches that we noted on the route. And, also
because I was invited by a bearded man named Claude into his garden next to a jeweled-filled lily pond,
then directed to test out my artistic skills on the canvas that he was working on. I was to concentrate on
the greens of the grass, making somewhat longer brush strokes and using smudging techniques; while,
he- the master- painted glorious nymphaea, lily pads and spiraling, lance-like weeping willow tree
leaves. He was calling this piece simply, “Les Nymphéas.” In this garden at Giverny, there was a sense of
perpetuity and imperishability. It was magical.

Very close by in Auvers-sur-Oise, we zoomed over for a meal at Auberge Ravoux where we had been
told the food was stellar. Claude had mentioned that not that long ago, an up and coming colleague,
Vincent, had lived at the inn and took all of his meals there before crazily ending his life with a bullet to
the chest in mid-1890. Being renowned, as it was, we ate royally and with stars in our eyes, took a look
at the preserved room #5 (Vincent’s), and took off.

As we whizzed along, Jonathan and I talked about racing- 24 Heures du Mans (24 Hours of Le Mans) and
Formula 1 racing; considered fuel cell development vs battery EV; and, generally discussed ways to
transform mobility. Then, in a flash, we were way back in Paris, 1876, partying outside in the sunlight at
the Bal du Moulin de la Galette in the Montmarte district. The atmosphere was quite animated- so much
dancing, laughter, clamor, and vitality. You know, I may have even been captured amidst the crowd in
the painting that I saw Pierre-Auguste making of that enchanting day. Hmmm, I’ll have to examine it
when I get back, where I know it lives in the impressionist gallery of Musée d’Orsay.

Being hot and sweaty didn’t squash our determination to speed on and into present day. The place
where Jonathan dropped me was like a giant catamaran. “This is where we part. You will be fine now on
your own,” he announced, as he vaulted away in his sleek, luxurious innovation. I did, however, catch his
final words as he shouted through the whistle of the wind from the open window, “I’m back to the UK.
I’ll leave a memento of our time together at your hotel.” Boy, did I know I was going to miss my “ride”!

There, in front of the LVMH Foundation, I resolved to resume my original plan for a museum crawl,
starting instead with this gargantuan vessel. The queue was so long, however, that I called my friend
Corinne, who appeared instantaneously with her museum travel pass. We breezed through the entrance
and set sail. Eleven galleries of late Claude Monet and Joan Mitchell works were notated by directional
placards as aptly as with any compass. Thus, we were able to immerse ourselves in Monet’s mastery as a
forerunner to modernism and Mitchell’s energy as an usher of emotion onto memorable canvases.
Many analogies were easily made between their compositions:

In perfect harmony, their representations emulated an intense appreciation of experiences associated
with nature. During this later period, for Monet, it was the tenacity to “visual sensation,” that was
paramount and for Mitchell, the “question of intertwined memories” was central. Monet painted a
familiar landscape- his renowned garden and lily pond at Giverny, now with modernity and new
freedom in his approach to colors and technique; while, Mitchell focused on scenes from the terrace of
her home in Vethéuil. In addition, a recurring theme for her was water, as fantasized from childhood
memories of Lake Michigan, and the Hudson and East Rivers of New York.

Ever attentive to the consistency between their palettes of astounding colors and, of course, the synergy
between the range of hues and the artists’ depiction of light integrated into landscapes; we cruised over
to Galleries 9
& 10: “Monet-The Agapanthus Triptych” (9) and Mitchell-“ La Grande Vallee” (10). In “The
Agapanthus Triptych” (1915-1926), Monet characteristically used short brush strokes and smearing to
portray fluidity, as he painted the motion of water; the celestial impressions on the lily pond; and, the
floating plants in violets, blues, greens and pinks. “The Grande Valle” (1983-1984, 10 of 21 paintings
exhibited) echoes Mitchell’s philosophy, “Painting is the opposite of death. It permits one to survive. It
also permits ones to live.” Her dynamism and intensity were evidenced in a spectacular expose also of
blues, greens, purples and pink, adding in more yellow.















Disembarked. One down, several more to go. The next day, I arrived early at the old train station, once
known as Gare d’Orsay, along the Left Bank of the Seine River and across from the Jardins des Tuilieres.
Many of my best-loved impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces reside in this museum
currently known as Musée d’Orsay. I remember being mesmerized thirty years ago by this museum’s
“Starry Night Over the Rhone” (Van Gogh) which stimulated my passion for this type of art. Fortunately,
I was able to see “Starry Night Over the Rhone” once more in Detroit just prior to my arrival in Paris, as it
was on loan as a part of the recent Vincent Van Gogh showing. This time, however, I viewed the “Starry
Night” by Edvard Munch, as I passed through eight rooms dedicated to “Edvard Munch: A Poem of Life,
Love and Death” before ascending to the impressionist gallery on five. The expressionist, Munch, had
adapted his style from artists, like Monet, Gauguin, Manet and Van Gogh, and then added an avant-
garde and impassionate approach which led to a rendition of “Starry Night” that was gloomy and
mystical, unlike that of Van Gogh’s two versions. Like his role model, Van Gogh, Munch surrendered to a
mental insanity that one can contemplate when Munch’s “The Scream” is viewed.

I’m up on five now. As I stroll by Camille Pissarro’s , “ The Seine and The Louvre,” I’m relieved that
Assane Diop, “the gentleman thief” of Netflix’s “Lupin,” decided not to “lift” this frosty scene, a
masterwork depicting the wintertime view of Place Dauphine onto the Pont des Arts bridge, the Seine
and the Louvre (Season2: Episode 3/Chapter 6). In front of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Bal du Moulin de la
Galette,” just like Emily (“Emily in Paris: Season 3/Episode 9),” I sensed the vivaciousness of the crowded
outdoor dance hall in Montmarte and, observed the mix of classes and notable people visible amongst
the gaiety. Was I in there somewhere, somehow?

Stunned by Renoir’s, distinctive “Charles le Coeur” (1874), I was seduced by le Coeur’s sunlit
appearance, glistening in a white suit, straw hat, with a calm and collected stance. How cool! Well, I ran
out of time at Musée d’Orsay. There were too many number ones: Renoir’s “The Luncheon of the
Boating Party” (1881); Cezanne’s “Bathers” (1890); Degas’ “Dancers in Blue” (1895), “The Ballet Class”
(1874); Monet’s “Luncheon on the Grass,” (1866-67), “Woman with a Parasol” (1875), “The Japanese
Footbridge & the Water Lily” (1899)... I’ll be back!

Following the Musée d’Orsay visit, my next stop was the Orangerie. Finally, I could sit serenely and
appreciate the interconnection between the Monet panels of Les Grandes Decorations within each of
two oval rooms. Examining the eight, 2m x 91m, panels of Monet’s donation, which took ten years to
complete, was a pleasurable exercise in comprehending Monet’s devotion to defining his environment
with his own unique and complex visual interpretation: Crusty gobs and layers of paint, scribbles,
smudges, extensive light, reflections, brilliant colors… and, the same subject repeatedly but from varied
vantage points and periods. Timeless.

The lower gallery at the Orangerie housed masterpieces by Picasso, Sisley, Cezanne, Matisse, Renoir and
others that I was able to consider before moving on. The “crawl” also included Palais Galliera for “Frida
Kahlo Au-Dela Des Apparence,” Musée des Art Decoratifs and a couple more. Just like with any “crawl,” I
savored the fun times with friends for some of the tours, lunch, dinner and drinks. However, I began to
wonder if this trip was really real- so many unimaginable happenings: Hopium Machina Vision, 1917
Giverny and Auberge Ravoux, Bal du Moulin de la Galette, and many places and special people. But,
when I returned to my hotel, there it was, hanging inside on my chamber door, Jonathan’s incredible
souvenir of our adventure. It’s shown here below:













The note on my desk simply read: Ana, it was a blast. –J

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