Daily Archives: April 8, 2009

A Day at The Met, A Woman in Technology: Rosa Bonheur and The Horse Fair

My wife and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We went there with some friends that we met through my wife’s book club.

This was one of the too few times I have gone to the Met to see art with someone who is an artist. Gigi had said she did want to see a new exhibit about Bonnard. Fred informed us that three of their six grandchildren were in the Museum, and that we would first meet them on the second floor.

On the way in to the city I had asked Gigi what was her favorite painting, and after we had visited with their son and his three boys, she took us to see it.

I’ll continue this post with three Facebook messages I sent to my niece Sheila a few minutes back, for they inspired this post. They also show the way in which I use FB these days:

Sheila, K and I went to the Met in NYC yesterday with Gigi and Fred. She is lifelong artist; he is retired IBMer who spent most of his career in technical management. They are fabulous folks. Good news for you and Dave is that they will be in Acadia this summer! I think she got some sort of grant. I told them they would have to meet you, and I know you will have some fun together.
PS: That is a lovely picture of you, and I miss you a bunch just looking at it.
uncle dave,

Sheila, Gigi showed us her favorite picture at the Met. K and I both looked at it many times, though we had never realized it was painted by a woman, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rosa_bonheur_horse_fair_1835_55.jpg

Gigi said Rosa Bonheur spent over two years visiting a Paris horse market making the sketches for the painting. She often went dressed as a man, and had to get gov’t permission to do so. The male figures are a bit fuzzy, by design. The musculature on the two horses to the right is exceptionally well crafted.

I learned from the Wikipedia article that Rosa Bonheur is widely considered to have been the best woman painter of the nineteenth century.

Yet I have never realized that the artist was a woman. I say this not to suggest that she was notable in that she was as good as so many male artists, but that, while I must have read the card next to the picture more than once, I had never been sufficiently observant to realize that the artist was a woman.

If Bonheur was one of the best artists of the nineteenth century, then she was also one of best technologists. Witness the years of study and practice necessary to master the anatomy of horses and then to learn how to paint it on a canvas.

We shared a meal that was as inexpensive as it was tasty at “Eat=” 1429 Third Avenue, about 81st and 3rd. It was among the better Thai meals I have had, and *very* cheap for the East Side. For example, I had “King Lama,” a mixture of vegetables and more than a small amount of beef, yet it cost only eleven dollars. Dinner for four, including one tea and three bottles of Thai beer, was under $75.

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