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A "Trip Report" - as in RICK, ARE YOU TRIPPIN" ?

Wonderful Monday Night with Mr. Rick (hosted by Ben Green).
Oh buddy - when asked at the show's conclusion which piece of European art Rick would most like to own, he replied
"The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt.
OK - some are so large to make ownership impossible ("Coronation of Napoleon and Queen Josephine", "Liberty Leading the People", "Raft of the Medusa", "Las Meninas" etc ) - and some are painted on walls ("Last Supper"), etc - and, of course - large sculpture presents a problem - although "Venus of Willendorf" fits into a shirt pocked - but - are you kidding - "The Kiss"?

My vote - "Garden of Earthly Delights" - a Bosch triptych that was made to be portable. Right into my living room.
(Thanks for the daydream,)

What's your pick?

Posted by
739 posts

My choice would be Matisse's "Open Window, Collioure" (1905), a small but explosive work that I've loved ever since I saw it for the first time at the "Wild Beasts, Fauvism and It's Affinities" show at MOMA, NYC, 1976. It was used for the cover of the exhibition catalog. It now resides at the National Gallery of Art in Wash DC where I've seen it several times in later years. I've got a fairly accurate reproduction on my wall to inspire me while I endure my rainy day/winter elliptical hamster wheel.

On the other wall is a fair replication of Gauguin's "Still Life with Three Puppies" (1888). It's a cheerful room.

Posted by
7061 posts

I've been a Paul Cezanne fan since high school art history. If I could own any painting it would be "The Card Players", the one with just two men. Since I liked him so much my art history teacher gave me a bookmark with that painting on it and later I bought a reproduction that hung on my wall for many years. Not a large painting, just 18"x22" so my copy was actual size. Certainly not one of the more popular masterpieces, but then I don't always tend to like what the 'crowd' likes in a lot of things.

Posted by
6364 posts

For me, it would be either Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, or a small painting I saw in a small museum in Cefalu. I had never heard of the artist, and don’t remember his name. The painting showed St Joseph with a young Jesus; not Baby Jesus, but a young Jesus being guided and loved by his tender stepfather.

I just checked my notes from that trip; the museum was probably the Museo Mandralisca. I’ll google it tomorrow to see if they show the painting. Too tired tonight.

Thanks for a fun topic. I’m getting all dreamy remembering the great art, famous and not, that we have seen.

Posted by
8821 posts

The small Monet that was on the wall in the Rodin Museum in 1972. No clue where it hangs now but would have easily fit in my small backpack purse.

Posted by
2532 posts

John Singer Sargent's "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" usually on display in the Tate Britain, done in 1885 and bought by the Tate in 1887.

As usual, the Tate description misses the forest for the trees -- the painting is primarily about the nature of cultivation: it's a garden with young people, where the products of nature are improved through thoughtful cultivation. There's a lot more to it than that, of course.

Posted by
4174 posts

When I finally saw this painting in person, I needed a place to sit and contemplate it, but that was impossible. I wouldn't want to hide or hoard it in my house. I'd want to live so close to it that I could visit it regularly. Which painting is that?

Guernica by Pablo Picasso. You can find lots of information on the painting and it's history online. Even Wikipedia has a decent article about it.

I chose this fairly recent Art News article to share:

As well as the Wikipedia one:

Posted by
3941 posts

I have two art moments - on my first trip to Europe we were in Amsterdam and we saw the Night Watch. The subject was a simple one but it held my interest and I remembered every detail. Over 30 years later we went to see it again. The painting had since been ‘cleaned’ but It drew me in just like the first time. My second art moment was in the Sistine Chapel, but not the ceiling. It was the fresco by Michelangelo entitle The Last Judgement. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t stop looking and has since read all I can about this particular fresco. Art is truly subjective cause I do not care for any of Gustav Klimt’s work. Sorry Rick.
PS, we are going to Madrid tomorrow and I might change my mind after the Prado and Reina Sofia museum visits.

Posted by
442 posts

"Three Sisters with Gray Background" by Henri Matisse which is at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. I just love the face of the young girl in purple.
If you love impressionism and have not been to this museum, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's an absolute treasure right here in the US.
(I'll leave this painting at the Barnes, as we downsized last year and don't have a big enough free wall to display it.)

Posted by
1580 posts

I want Winged Victory of Samothrace. Of course I'd need a new house as well! As far as paintings, I think I'd go for the saturated colours of a Marc Chagall. One with a lot of blue. DH would go for a gory Caravaggio.

Posted by
2461 posts

Jane, you might have to fight me for The Milkmaid...

Posted by
2252 posts

Because I have been to the cafe in Arles and visited the town of Guernika, I would choose either Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Picasso’s “Guernica”. I’d be more than happy with either one…😉 I spent a considerable amount of time absolutely mesmerized in front of “Guernica” in Madrid.

Posted by
2712 posts

Just back from Madrid. Goya, The Third Of May in the Prado. Still so impactful.

Posted by
442 posts

@Barbara, if you're not museum-ed out, don't miss the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum. I did not make it to the Prado, but made it to the Reina Sofia. The Reina Sofia is huge and for that reason I give the edge to the T-B. Plus, it was full of the art I enjoy the most. Enjoy Madrid!

Posted by
4252 posts

My level of sophistication for art is low, especially compared to some of you on this forum who I rely on for opinions while I still try to figure out where I fit in on the topic. But over the past couple of years as I've been asking questions I realize I appreciate Pop Art. I guess if I'm in it for the money I'd lean toward something from Andy Warhol, but I've discovered Toni Sanchez and his Strike Three strikes home with me.

Or maybe something from Henri Toulouse's poster collection.

Posted by
884 posts

Hey Allan,
Isn't a Lanny McDonald autographed game worn sweater "art"?
Just askin'....

Posted by
2494 posts

I adore the Cut Outs by Henri Matisse, I have 2 reproductions that I love looking at everyday. One is in my living room over the fireplace mantel and the other is in my kitchen.

Posted by
5048 posts

Looks ĺike a possible dog fight for The Milkmaid. Maybe we could arrange a time share?

Posted by
4252 posts

Hey Allan, Isn't a Lanny McDonald autographed game worn sweater "art"?
Just askin'....

That autographed photo of him hoisting the Stanley Cup that I have on my wall is definitely art.

Posted by
1384 posts

Toss up between Saint Michel by Emmanuel Fremiet at Musee d'Orsay or the painting Pandemonium by John Martin at the Louvre. I make it a point each time to see these two pieces when in Paris.

Posted by
585 posts

There is a beautiful unfinished bust of a slightly older Nefertiti I saw in the old Cairo Museum that I would love to have. Or if I had a large garden, the Greek bronze of the little jockey on his horse from the Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Posted by
104 posts

Totally random, but Pieter de Hooch's A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy speaks to me.

Posted by
413 posts

My most remembered piece from art history was “View of Toledo” by El Greco and got to see the real thing years ago at the Met. I picked up one of those cheap prints stuck in canvas when I was in Toledo, my first trip overseas. The frame cost 10 times what the print cost but it looks good and is a nice placeholder and souvenir until I can acquire the real thing.

I’ve also always been fascinated by Goya’s “Saturn Devouring his Son”. It would be harder to incorporate into the decor, but put in an entry it’d work well to keep out guests and solicitors. It’s a close second.

Posted by
2532 posts

I can't help but look at our choices in this thread and think that we're such a middlebrow crowd here in the Rick Steves forum --
no Gerhard Richter, no Lucian Freud, no Jeff Koons. We're so embarrassing! (Ha)

[Sarcasm Marker Here]

Posted by
8821 posts

Was a bit facetious in my first post.

Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

In 1972 was privileged enough to see it without hordes. I obviously had not paid attention in my art history class. Stunned when I walked into the room.
Was also before a looney slashed it.

Thus you could walk right up to it. To see how Rembrandt used the light….a wow moment.

Posted by
1999 posts

It's in Chicago's Art Institute but I've always loved the color and setting of Two Sisters (On the Terrace) by Renoir.

If I couldn't have that the second one would be Albrecht Durer's self-portrait at 26, just for the clothes alone.

Posted by
98 posts

Great thread - fun to think about.
Like Andrea I would pick Winged Victory of Samothrace, it's my first stop when visiting the Louvre.
I'd also like Le Givre, 1880 by Claude Monet, since it is my son's favorite and he might visit more. :P

Posted by
5450 posts

Raboteurs de parquet by Gustave Caillebotte housed in the Musee D’Orsay.

Posted by
9429 posts

Emily, that is another absolue favorite of mine. Mesmerized by it. I can actually hear them talking to each other, smell the sawdust in the air, and feel the sunshine through the window.

Posted by
1243 posts

Any of the Albrecht Dürer watercolors - I love the mountain village scenes and the flower watercolors. I would especially like the one with Johnny-Jump-Ups, but now I am seeing the work may only have been attributed to him. I would still hang it right where I can see it from my desk - nice and close.

Posted by
2469 posts

Fun topic! I also love the Bosch paintings (if you are on Twitter, follow the @boschbot account for fun close up photos every day) and that triptych would take you a lifetime to appreciate. Excellent choice.

If I got three wishes (because really, who can pick one, plus we're wishing right?) I'd select Matisse's La fille aux yeux verts (The Girl with Green Eyes), Diego Rivera's The Flower Carrier, and DaVinci's Lady with an Ermine.

Posted by
5650 posts

In this case, I agree with Rick. I too would pick Klimt’s ”The Kiss”. I have had a framed poster of ”The Kiss” in my living room for 20 years and I never tire of it.

A very close second would be ”Lake Keitele” by Akseli Gallen-Kallela which is in The National Gallery in London. Copies of this painting don’t do it justice. Seeing it in person, you can’t help but feel a sense of serenity.

Posted by
3303 posts

I honestly can't choose - maybe something by a Fauvist.

Or since we're fantasizing, I could choose to be the first Woman, American, Protestant, Pope and have the Sistine Chapel all to myself.

Posted by
160 posts

I can't remember the artist's name, but in the Centenaire Museum in Brussels there's a fantastic art nouveau head of a man in black and white stone, about a foot high, which really, to me, looks like Elric of Melnibone. I'd love to have that.

Posted by
169 posts

Good thread idea!

Honestly completely agree with the OP regarding the kiss, completely overrated imo, it’s not even the nicest Klimt in the same hall!! Lol

The woman in black around the corner is honestly breathtaking and it’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever seen.

Besides that I love Van Goghs Potato eaters, it’s probably my my favourite peice of his and I’ve seen numerous travelling exhibits as well as the collection in Amsterdam.

Besides that would love a chunk of monets water lilies lol..

The peice that literally took my breathe away though and nothing had ever done before or since, while it might be cliche, was there David. I stood there looking at it and literally got choked up staring up at it. But as you say, somthing within reason and not a collosul statue lol

Posted by
103 posts

For me, it would be either Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, or a small painting I saw in a small museum in Cefalu. I had never heard of the artist, and don’t remember his name. The painting showed St Joseph with a young Jesus; not Baby Jesus, but a young Jesus being guided and loved by his tender stepfather. I just checked my notes from that trip; the museum was probably the Museo Mandralisca.

Jane, that painting caught my eye too while touring the Mandralisca last month. Precious work in an interesting, eclectic museum.

"S. Giuseppe col Bambino Gesὺ, entro ghirlanda di fiori" by Giovan Domenico Osnago (active in Cefalὺ, first half of 18th century)

Posted by
6364 posts

Lew, thank you!

Edit to add: I looked that up, and I'm not sure it's the one I'm remembering, but lovely nonethelss, and celebrates a relationship too often glossed over. The one in my mind had Jesus as a young lad, with the two of them walking hand in hand, perhaps. It's been a long time.

My husband was raised by elderly guardians, rather than by his parents. The stepparent or guardian relationship is special.

Posted by
296 posts

I’d like to own Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s A Winter Landscape with Skaters and a Bird Trap.

Posted by
483 posts

Don’t shade Rick for liking what he likes. Saw The Kiss and the Beethoven Frieze in Vienna back in 2013, and loved it all, despite the post 1850 ness of the whole scene.

The only unshadable answer, and completely impractical is the Sistene Chapel.

My impractical answer will be John Martin’s apocalyptic triptych. Massive scale, beyond the storage capacity of my Chicago Bungalow. Part of my desire to own it is to save it from its very poor display at the Tate Britain. They are conserving the three paintings, sure, but they are nearly impossible to fully appreciate as currently hung, 15’ off the ground with fluorescent light glare from nearly any angle. Also, if I had a Time Machine, I could apparently travel back and buy all three for like 8 pounds.

My slightly more practical answer is to take Caravaggio’s Conversione di San Paolo. A masterful work, a huge moment in history, and it could double as a British Horse Portrait in a pinch. But taking it out of the church, not so great.

For the most practical, I want Caravaggio’s St. John the Baptist Reclining. Beyond the composition and it being my favorite artist, it’s probably his best painting that’s currently in a private collection, and its history and how it wound up where it is remains fascinating. Liberation and return of the painting to the Borghese would be my motivation for owning it.

One last, rather than move the art to my domicile, I’d like to move my domicile to the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Now, that’s a bit of art history, wow factor, and plus, if you need a miracle, it’s not a long walk to St. Anthony’s.

Posted by
884 posts

Trippin ain't shade, homie.
If Mr Rick wants "The Kiss", think of all the great art he has left behind.
Kinda Sorta the point.

Posted by
483 posts

First, the very nature of the question turns me into Indiana Jones, screaming "It BELONGS IN A MUSEUM" into the ether.

Second, Rick's Yum is not yours to Yuck. He was asked a question, he likes Der Kuss, maybe best of all. It's as valid an answer as any other. Just because you prefer the Bosch, does not mean that Rick, or anyone else has to do so. Lots of people like French Impressionism. Lots of people like Thomas Kinkade. Maybe Rick appreciates the art nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements represented in Der Kuss. Maybe he likes the 2D/3D conflict. Maybe he likes the opulence of it, with the gold leaf, or the call back to illuminated manuscript and other glittery bits in art history, like a call back to the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna (a place Rick is quite fond of). Maybe it just hits his pleasure zones, and the Boschian nightmare doesn't. Or maybe it was the first thing that came to mind.

I'm not gonna disagree with Rick's seeming delight in eating every weird local fish that crosses his path in Europe. Not my thing, but Rick's from Washington, and they get fresher fish out that way, and he grew up eating it.

This is an interesting thread as a whole, but really, your taste is not universal, as Ricks isn't and mine isn't. No one's is, until the Cybermen take over, and then we'll all love Anne Geddes photography, as much as we will be able to love.

I should note that next year's planned trip is Spain, and one of the main reasons is to see our third major Bosch, so it's not like I would ever yuck your yum. I love it. But Rick is a long way from being a Bosch loving weirdo.

As a fig leaf, here's something you might enjoy, or might hate.
The Garden of Emoji Delights by Carla Gannis, a VAEFF selection.

Posted by
323 posts

Great question!!! It’s so so so hard to completely narrow down to actual works themselves so I’ll just add some beloved artists and maybe a couple works… I don’t think I am physically able to pick just one work… depends on days and moods! This list is just barely a skim but some that come to mind right now….
Jean Michel Basquiat
Vincent Van Gogh
Francis Bacon
Frida Kahlo
Lucien Freud
Cindy Sherman
Michelangelo’s Prisoners
I’m joining in for “Guernica” Picasso.
Grand Odalisque by Ingres’
Ophelia by John Everett Millet
- In museums I always drawn to old paintings and sculptures that have dogs depicted in them somewhere- especially greyhounds since I have owned some throughout my life.

It would be fun to move into Peggy Guggenheim’s former abode (now museum) in Venice!

Posted by
36 posts

Fun question.

Based on my three (so far) trips to Europe ...
1. any of the resurrection paintings of Sir Stanley Spencer, "Hill of Zion" in the Harris Museum, Preston, England being a personal favorite;
2. Masaccio's "Expulsion from Eden" in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence;
3. and a Vermeer, though my choice would be "Woman Holding a Balance."

Posted by
33 posts

What a fun thread!

Choosing one piece of European art? To me, this is like trying to figure out why I can't throw away an old T-shirt that I never wear anymore. There's an emotional attachment.

After reading this tread, I realized that there isn’t a textbook answer, but there is a story behind every answer.

With each post I contemplated:

…was it the piece of art that moved you when you stood in front of it?

…was it the piece of art that you were standing in front of when you were moved by something else?

…was it the piece of art that you stood in front of alongside someone very special?

…was it the colors, and why are those colors special to you?

…is it the piece of art you anticipate seeing?

We all have our memories, and they are each our own. I loved reading this thread and getting a glimpse into your experiences. Thank you all for sharing this has been a fun thread to read.

PS> On Monday Night Travel, I’m pretty sure that The Kiss is hanging on the wall behind Rick. ;)