And what do you think they have hidden away in the cabinet cold of their hearts?

I knew this was a Magritte.


I knew this was a Magritte.


I had no idea this was a Magritte. It’s a ham sitting on a jacket in the sun, and it was painted during his périod vache, or “nasty style.” (I think it’s time for me to have a périod vache.)


I knew this was a Mondrian.


I had no idea this was a Mondrian. It’s an oil painting of a farm in Holland, and it was painted before he went all abstract on us.


I fell in love with the Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday. We weren’t able to spend much time there, but our abbreviated tour was 45% of a funnel cake which is so much better than no funnel cake at all.

Because we were a little rushed, I fell into the tired habit of seeing the paintings I already know instead of exploring the things I don’t know.





As we walked out of one of the modern art galleries, a docent asked if I had picked a favorite. “SO many favorites!” I said, afraid of giving the wrong answer. “What is YOUR favorite?”

“That’s easy,” he replied. “It’s de Kooning’s ‘Interchanged’.” He then asked if we wanted to see it, which we did, so he led us to this.


I remembered walking past it a few minutes earlier and not giving it any attention. This time, I was totally in as the docent did his thing.


Docent: The thing I love about de Kooning is that he can do whatever he wants, just like we can all do whatever we want. Not many artists feel comfortable with “I want to, I can, so I will.” Let me know when you see the horse. See? He wants to add a horse, he can add a horse, so he does add a horse. You want to, you can, so you do. It’s inspirational. Now, turn around and take a look at ‘Excavation.’


Docent: The more you look at it, the more you are rewarded. With teeth. A dog. A bird.




I walked away with a new favorite.

Another favorite? Reading things as if I’m in on a secret.



6 thoughts on “And what do you think they have hidden away in the cabinet cold of their hearts?”

  1. I too was dazzled by that Mondrian painting of the farmhouse surrounded by water. I think one can see the beginnings of his abstract-ness in the tracery of the tree branches. (Long ago art history major here. Why did my profs never show us this one?)

  2. Love the Art Institute; always something new to discover. Have had a membership for 5 years mostly because there is a disturbing lack of decent public restrooms downtown. Flash member’s card; instant access to clean toilets!

  3. First post o read today and I can just stop here. That early Mondrian is divine. And now I I love De Kooning even more…


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