The Legion of Honor in San Francisco always makes me feel like I have been transported to Europe. My father and I traveled there together this week to see “Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper.” It was a treat to wander the marble halls with my father because his knowledge of printmaking combined with mine of photography allowed each of us a more complete understanding and insight into the works on display. In the first room, I fell in love with an intimate etching by Rembrandt of a puppy (I am always a sucker for dogs), and my father gave me a crash course in print media, such as the distinction between a mezzotint and an aquatint. In the next room, I was struck by the illusionistic beauty of a drawing by Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype – it was certainly not a lack of drawing skill that inspired him to become one of the inventors of photography. If I could take one thing home with me, it would be the Tina Modotti photograph of an interior mural in Mexico – the way she photographed it turns it into a sweeping dreamlike experience.
Walking back to the car, I snapped this photograph of Rodin’s The Thinker. The next day, while listening to Anna Halprin on the artheals.org podcast I was touched to hear her say that it was a visit to the Musée Rodin sculpture gardens in Paris that provided an antidote for the deep horror she had experienced just prior in visiting a concentration camp – that it was art and beauty that truly have the power to heal the soul. I had a moment of inter-rushing connections – Rodin’s sculpture in San Francisco that I just saw and the ones that populate the Musée Rodin that inspired Anna who then inspired me…and it made me all the more grateful that I took the time this week to let art speak to me.