In Manhattan, Diane Keaton says Van Gogh is overrated.
She pronounces it Van Gog.
Keaton is hilarious as an intellectual journalist.
At the National Gallery, I found myself skipping over the Van Gogh, though of course as a child I loved him and had a print of Van Gogh’s Chair. I was more interested in other 19th-century painters like Monet, Manet, and Pissarro.
Such a good collection of Impressionists at the National Gallery.
I especially love Monet’s paintings of snow, because I am at home with snow. It snows and snows and snows where I live. Here is “Lavacourt under Snow.”
And here is “Snow Scene at Argenteuil”:
The colors are lovely and light after the dark paintings of the 16th , 17th, and 18th centuries.
STARRING VIVIEN LEIGH: A CENTENARY CELEBRATION AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY. The trip to London is my mother’s legacy, and Vivien Leigh was her favorite actress.
And so it is appropriate for me to see these photos of Leigh. Gone with the Wind was my mother’s favorite book and movie.
Of course I know Leigh as Scarlett, but the photos of Leigh in other movies were even more intriguing: as Cleopatra in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, as Lady Hamilton in That Hamilton Woman, and as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Oh, Blanche! What a brilliant movie that was!
So sad to be beautiful and mad. Poor Vivien! I remember reading long ago about her madness. And did Laurence Olivier take care of her, or not? There are always sad stories about mad women and their husbands.
My mother never went to a museum in her life. Well, that’s probably an exaggeration, but close. She had a bachelor’s degree, but she loved pop culture. She could have been a pop culture critic. Ladies’ Home Journal, movies (I saw every movie in the ’60s except Darling, which, inexplicably, I was not allowed to see), movie magazines, TV (we loved the fall edition of TV Guide), and musicals (we’d go to community productions).
The apple does fall far from the tree. No human beings were ever more different than my mother and I.
I love museums, but even I admit you can have too much of a good thing.
There was so much to see at the National Portrait Gallery. But this is all I have room to write about today.
COFFEE. I had a cup at a bookstore: excellent.
I went to Oxfam, a lovely bookstore, but the Virago Online Group who met in London last weekend seems to have wiped them out temporarily. I had almost everything in the fiction and poetry sections, and I know that’s just not possible…:) So maybe I’ll go again before I leave. Oxfam is a favorite with everybody.
Foyles, however, is the best bookstore in the world. (Well, I haven’t seen all of them.)
And I was out in the London rain today. Very light, very easy. I know you have floods here, but this was a spring rain. And now I understand why English people go for walks in the rain. At home it’s always a deluge. So lovely and mild here (so far).