Then on Saturday, my Father took me to see the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Art Museum for the Degas exhibition.
The entire show was based around Degas' famous sketch depicting five men and a boy in a small French town, during the summer. All of them would become famous - or infamous - in their way.
The catalogue entry begins thus: "'The young and beautiful Sickert,' as Degas called him, stands to the left in Degas' haunting portrait group, Six Friends in Dieppe." It was one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen, and I felt the previous week's shadow tangibly lift. As I entered the room, before me was Edgar Degas' portrait, and to my left - and here, I almost squealed aloud with delight - was Walter Sickert, complete with jaunty smile and tilted hat.
I don't know how long I stood staring at it, only that my Father came up behind me and whispered "Not altogether interested in Degas, are you?"
Degas, I'll admit, was brilliant. Likewise, the other artists mentioned were wonderful too, and I took enormous pleasure in learning more about Emile-Blanche, one of Sickert's life-long friends. But all I could really think of was him. I stood and scrutinized his paintings, taking in every stroke... I put my face close to one of his etchings, and felt my stomach jolt at the sight of his spidery handwriting in the corner. I imagined him, just 22 years old, sitting with that picture in his lap, bending over it to scribble the title.
You created at this, I thought. You created it, you held it and you wrote on it. And now I can see it too. It was a monumental feeling.. almost more then with the paintings, because I could see the faint smudges from where his hand had touched the paper. I wondered how he'd feel, if someone told him that sketch would one day elicit such emotions in a fan. He probably wouldn't have believed it.
So I wandered beyond the Degas paintings; so I discovered other things. Here is and interesting image I thought I'd add, just because it amused me enormously, and offended my father's sensibilities to such a degree as was to be even funnier.
French, 1862 - 1947
"Untitled", Circa. 1900
An anonymous gift to the RISD
A few other things happened, or need to happen, which merit mention. I owe presence/presents, thanks, and a Bambi DVD to those friends, to whom I have been pretty bad this week. My apologies all: I hope you can forgive me (Carm and Alex especially, as I owe you not only my own gifts, but apparently those off Chris Haywood too :I ) I saw King Kong at long last... it was a pretty remarkably movie, though the worms made me ill to the pit of my stomach. I gave in and bought yet another My Little Pony; yes I know I should seek therapy for it, but (to be honest) I am enjoying the problem far too much to attempt a remedy. What else? *thinks*
There are probably a few things, but I'm too lazy to remember them. And possibly too tired. House is on tonight!