A Day at the Harn mEGHAN WREN

This painting is named "Central Park Winter" and was painted by an artist by the name of Emil Ganso in 1926. When searching for this image online, the image appears to be even more faded, distorted, and dull. In person, though, the colors are distinctively different shades of grays/blues/whites and the image is vivid. Viewing this painting in person allowed me to appreciate the intricacy of the painting by being able to observe the minuscule details that helped shape the the painting to be as beautiful as it is. Ganso's use of dark, but distinct oil paints connects him with the Expressionist movement of the early 1900s, which emphasized authentic emotional expressions/responses through the use of vivid colors and other artistic techniques. I personally felt that the use of vivid colors emphasized nature's beauty and also found a sense of peace within nature because of the lack of human or industrial presence in the painting. Furthermore, the use of a winding path in the painting gave me an allusion of one finding their life's path through retreat into and finding peace within nature. Overall, the painting communicated to me that nature is essentially an abused, overlooked safe haven. Many humans ignorantly deny the power and beauty of nature, and this painting serves to emphasize it's existence and grandeur.
This is a picture of me in front of the "Mirror, Mirror...Frida Kahlo" exhibit of the museum. This exhibit particularly stood out to me because it was made entirely up of photographs of a beautiful woman by the name of Frida Kahlo. I also found it particularly striking that, although the photos were taken in the early-mid 1900's, most of the photos were in black and white. The only photos that I saw that were in color were of her indulging in life's simple pleasures, as illustrated in "Frida Kahlo (sitting on rooftop holding cigarette" and "Frida Seated in Her Garden." This wing was also particularly pleasing to me because all of the paintings were presented in an orderly, symmetric fashion. This gave me, and the other visitors, the illusion of a progression of time and the feeling that I was consecutively following the story Frida Kahlo. The flow of the room allowed me to feel like I was witnessing the evolution of Frida Kahlo from a life of struggle to a life of happiness.
These pieces of art by the Guerrilla Girls ignited a fire inside me. My pre-teenage and teenage years were spent at an all girls school that emphasized the power of females and receiving a liberating education, thus making hard work my most revered core value. I believe in relentlessly fighting for what you want and doing everything you can to get there. These works reopened my eyes to the fact that women and minority individuals still mostly go unnoticed for their relentless hard work, while white males achieve success more easily than these individuals. These pieces of art made my efforts in school and business seem futile, but also empowered me to fight for the recognition that other hardworking, disadvantaged individual deserve.
The painting pictured above is "Manhattan" by George Grosz, painted in 1946. George Grosz was a prominent German American painter who fled Europe to seek refuge in the United States from Nazi Germany. To Grosz, New York City symbolized freedom, safety, and new beginnings. Grosz's family and friends also welcomed New York as a safe haven and tackled their new life with happiness and a relentless sense of hope. This is depicted throughout the portrait through varying mediums. First, the enormous size of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Buildings, two famous American landmarks, serve to emphasize the strength and endurance of the modern American city. Also, when compared to the size of the other buildings, one could assume the underlying theme of the superiority of the American system. Considering this, the good life themes of "Seeking the Good Life" and "Embodying the Good Life" were echoed in their fearful, urgent flight from Berlin to the safe, accepting, and prosperous United States. The themes that this painting represents adds to my appreciation of seeking and embodying the good life because it emphasizes the fearlessness one must have when attempting to achieve their ideal "good life."

Credits:

Ganso, Emil. "Central Park Winter". 1926. The Harn Museum of Hart. 1907-1954. Mirror, Mirror...Frida Kahlo, The Harn Museum of Hart. 20th Century. Guerrilla Girls, The Harn Museum of Hart. Grosz, George. "Manhattan". 1946. The Harn Museum of Hart.

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