Friday, December 15, 2017

A YEAR OF AMAZING MUSEUM VISITS AROUND THE WORLD

2017 has been a wonderful year of museum visits around the world. Early in the year Marla and I donated our 19th century Burmese Buddha pavilion to the Asian Art Department of the Denver Art Museum. We found it many years ago in Northern Thailand and it graced the entryway of the headquarters of our company, Wesco Fabrics. It is in storage until the $150 million museum renovations are completed in 2021.

Marla watches while conservators disassemble the pavilion for transport to the Museum.

A favorite museum for all of our grandkids is the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I used to visit the Steinhart Aquarium when I was a boy.

The iconic De Young Museum is just across from the Academy of Sciences. When I heard they were exhibiting the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love" I knew I had to visit! 

We brought my Mom to see the "Summer of Love" exhibit along with our good friend, Lea Isetti. The show was a fascinating look back at the origins, culture, art, and the music of the era.

The outside dining patio of the De Young is a great spot to grab lunch.


We visited Madrid's wonderful Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in September. Marla admires a Renoir at the top and a fabulous John Singer Sargent portrait below.

The Prado Museum is always a treat for their fabulous collections. It is just across the street from the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.

It is always fun to discover new museums. We enjoyed our first time visit to the historic National Museum of Natural History in Paris.


"Her Paris" is a fabulous exhibit of women artists in the age of Impressionism. It will be on view at the Denver Art Museum until January 14, 2018. A favorite of Marla's was this work by Mary Cassatt.


We attended a private viewing of the last day of the Asian Art Gallery of the Denver Art Museum. Small pieces will be rotated in the Hamilton wing for special exhibits until the renovation is completed in 2021.

Our Denver grandsons came with us to Dallas to visit their cousins. All of us visited the amazing Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It's a fabulous place for the curious, for all ages!

Asian art is a passion for our whole family so we visited the Crow Collection of Asian Art in downtown Dallas. Afterwards, we walked across the street to the Dallas Museum of Art.

One of the Girls was fascinated with this sculpture by Sopheap Pich, recognized today as Cambodia's most internationally prominent contemporary artist. (The "hands behind your back" rule has passed to this generation!)

One of my very favorite museums is the Legion of Honor Museum in the Lincoln Park area of San Francisco. They featured a beautiful exhibit of Klimt and Rodin.


Klimt's unique and iconic turn-of-the-century modernistic paintings were a brand new experience for our grandsons!

We loved the juxtaposition of Klimt paintings and Rodin sculptures!

You would think we were tired of museums after the Legion of Honor visit! The Boys wanted to see one more favorite museum in San Francisco, The Asian Art Museum in the Civic Center area. My mother was amazing as she happily was game to see them all with us! The image above is a large pediment from a temple in Southeast Asia. It was a gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The Denver Botanical Gardens is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. We attended a reception for Calder Monumental, a unique exhibit of large Alexander Calder sculptures. Sandy Rower, president of the Calder Foundation in New York, and his partner, Elan Gentry, my niece, invited us to this special event. This Calder mobile in the lake was my favorite.

Images: Dick Gentry

Friday, December 8, 2017

PARIS WANDERINGS: MY FAVORITE DEPARTMENT STORE, A SCULPTURE ON 2 WHEELS, AND STUFFED ANIMALS

We were on a mission our last day in Paris this past October. I wanted to check out a store in the 7th arrondissement which used to be one of my favorites, Le Bon Marche. The creative windows of Hermes caused us to stop as we walked to 24 Rue de Sevres. 

My last trip to the iconic Le Bon Marche was before their 1984 acquisition by LVMH, the world's largest luxury brand company. LVMH knows luxury better than anyone with brands like Louis Vuitton, Veuve Clicquot, Christian Dior, Bulgari, and many others. Entering the store a very loud voice in my head said,..."WOW!"

Le Bon Marche was founded in 1838 and is considered the very first department store. It is a delicious visual feast of the exciting new and the past.

The Gucci boutique hits you with pops of vibrant colors.

Each floor offers interesting and unusual merchandise. I loved the assortment of live micro-environments inside bell jars. Each one was a botanical garden in miniature.

The entire store on each level featured products from Italy for their "LA FAMIGLIA RIVE GAUCHE" exhibition. What could be better than a beautiful mix of Italian designs curated by the LVMH team!

I told Marla,..."This is so you!"

The inner courtyard was buzzing with shoppers!


Creative retail today must offer something unique to their customers. This area adjacent to women's ready to wear, offers specialty embroidering, appliques, and other fashion embellishments. 

 Because Le Bon Marche was having an Italian exhibition it only makes sense they would feature sculpture on 2 wheels with incredible Pinarello bicycles. I truly was like a boy in a toy store!

The fantastic Pinarello F10S Disc had my name written all over it! I was blissing out until I saw the small plaque at bottom of the display! The price was 14,530 Euros! Yikes!



The Le Bon Marche catalog featured Haute furniture designs in eye-catching settings!


Le Bon Marche is very unique as they have a fabulous food and wine department. Marla looks at me across the aisle as I check out a double magnum of a Chateau Latour.

After our shopping exhibition, we took the Metro to a place Philippe used to visit with his Grandmother many years ago.

It is always a treat to discover new areas of Paris, even after over 40+ visits over the years! These are the gates of the Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle on the Rue Cuvier in the 5th arrondissement. 


The natural history museums were fascinating and I wish we had even more time to explore!

This is the "Gallery of Evolution" in the National Museum of Natural History.


We finished our tour on the Jardin des Plantes which was originally the Royal Botanical Garden.

Philippe told us "We are not finished yet!" He said follow me to the Bibliotheque National de France on the Quai Francois Mauriac in the 6th. There has been an amazing amount of real estate redevelopment in the area and it has become a trendy place to live.

As we were there during Paris Fashion Week, we saw many fashion shoots like this one in the Library complex. 

I hope you enjoyed our little Paris adventure. What an exciting and beautiful city!

IMAGE CREDITS: Dick Gentry