When I was in Australia, I went to the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, which as far as I am concerned, is the best art gallery in the world. Not because of its collection - which, while excellent to a laylady like me, is probably deeply naff to A Proper Arty Type - but because it was the first time when I really Got art. The first time that I was hypnotised by a piece of art - and not just one piece, but one after another after another. Room after room, style and era and media - there was something to love. Before then - well, I was a reader (NO! SURELY NOT! WE'D NEVER HAVE GUESSED!). And because I went to a London day-school, I'd done the lessons and been to the galleries, and although I'd enjoyed the trips nothing I'd seen had really grabbed me the way that a book could - anyway, I was always up too close reading the little piece of information to actually appreciate the paintings. But then the NGV, and a Damascene conversion.
Only problem was, they had the most atrocious selection of post-cards I've ever seen. From a collection where at least forty pieces had caught my eye, I left with three postcards, and they were cheap and tatty reproductions. My bank balance rejoiced, but I did not.
And so I vowed then and there that I'd never make that mistake again, and lo and behold, when I arrived at The Art Gallery of South Australia - also fantastic, I took a little notebook, and scribbled down the names of all the paintings I liked, so I could look them up later (the wonders of Google!). I christined this the Gallery Sweep. And I've done that ever since, whenever I visited an art gallery, included over the winter when I was in Madrid. And then this weekend, making the most of the holiday, having handed in my second draft (finally!), I searched for those paintings. These are some of my favourites from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, although I was unfortunately unable to track down all of them (sighs of relief all round...)
Vernet - Night, A Meditteranean Coast Scene (1753)
Chase - The Kimono (1895)
Singer Sargent - Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland (1904)
Beckmann - Self-Portrait With Raised Hand (1908)
Gleizes - Overlooking a Port (1917) - although you really need to see this in real life to appreciate its chaos and movement
Annenkov - Amiens Cathedral (1919)
Feininger - Lady in Mauve (1922)
Hopper - Hotel Room (1931)
Sheeler - Yachting 1992 (1992)