Met Faves – Paintings

OK, now it’s time to get to the meat of it…you know I gravitate toward the paintings.

My goal: maximize my time at the Met, my old stomping grounds, just down the street from my apartment, see as much as I could, revisit some old favorites, but also discover something new.

As an abstract painter, it was surprising to me how affected I was by figurative work. My favorites were all figure paintings. My advisor in grad school always said that figurative painters should be looking at abstract work, and abstract painters should be looking at figurative work!

Max Beckmann’s Old Actress…


Max Beckmann, The Old Actress, 1926

That nose. And the light coming from above, highlighting her eyelids. Was acting her profession, or did she act her way through her life? Beckmann has captured something deeply sad, yet loving too – as in the way she and her cat connect.

Walt Kuhn, Clown with a Black Wig, 1930

This Walt Kuhn clown portrait made me think of masks that queer folks often wear…by choice, or by necessity.

Chaim Soutine, Portrait of Madeleine Castaing, c. 1929

Loving Madeleine Castaing’s twisted-up, yet ultimately straight, posture. And her face, pursed lips. Very wry. This portrait feels juicy, colorful, and fully-formed, more so than many Soutines. I love it.

Attributed to Hans Memling, Woman with a Pink, 1494

High visual drama here, yet in a very quiet way. Also, I’ve always loved the flower nomenclature of “the pink”.

Barthel Beham, Chancellor Leonhard von Eck, 1527

That red cap grabs you from 50 paces.