A friend and I wandered around the Getty Center this weekend, on a mission to achieve cultural fulfillment in three courses. Beginning with a generous amuse bouche to inform our own art - we study the drawings of Rembrandt and his students, in a brilliantly curated exhibit. Like a comfort food entree, we explore the unexpected and curiously scented flora in the Central Garden. Then dessert - three captivating collections of photography.
Satiated, we're ready to leave except for one thing. A visit to the Getty is not complete until we venture to the upstairs gallery with its selection of 19th Century masters. It's a small group of paintings - a smattering of exquisite Monets - one each of the lily pond at Giverny, the haystacks and the cathedral at Rouen, along with a few delectable morsels by Renoir, Gauguin, Degas, Van Gogh, Pissarro and Cezanne. I forget we've been in the museum for hours when I enter this room.
In the adjacent gallery is the last painting of the day - an after dinner mint? Portrait of Jeanne Kefer by Fernand Khnopff. The girl stands alone in front of the adult-sized door - its scale capturing her smallness and delicacy. The bonnet with its pink bow tied to the side, the stockings a little rumpled, her timid gaze combined with the subtle gesture - a tiny hand tucked into the front of her coat - enough to suggest so much about her character. Like all great art, a story. We walk away inspired.