July 22, 2009 suesbent
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I had a “Frenchish” day recently in Melbourne. It began with a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria.


National Gallery of Victoria

We joined the queue to see the Dali exhibition Liquid Desire. Once inside we followed the art trail, studying his works, and then shared our thoughts about our favourite pieces, discussing why we liked them. I love Galatea of the Spheres.

Galatea of the spheres by Salvador Dali

Galatea of the spheres by Salvador Dali

 It is difficult enough to paint a portrait, but to do this superimposed over an arrangement of painted spheres is astounding. At this time he was intrigued with atomic physics and this portrait illustrates his thinking.


We had lunch at the gallery bistro called Persimmon. We enjoyed an entrée of Baked scallops, fennel escabeche, mushroom cream, gruyere, and then for the main course we had Potato & herb gnocchi, brussel sprouts, cauliflower & pecorino crumble, all washed down with a lovely glass of Astrolabe Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The meal was beautiful and the service was impeccable.


Scallop entree


It was a perfect way to spend a lazy winter’s Sunday in Melbourne, and we were not the only people thinking that as the gallery was extremely busy. It certainly goes against the common image that Australians lack culture. It seems we do enjoy other activities besides football and drinking beer – not that there’s anything wrong with that. So I suppose the “French” aspect of this day was visiting a gallery, looking at art, enjoying a lovely lunch, and generally feeling sophisticated. And Dali, although not a French artist, did fulfil the typical life of an artist and he created those weird, surreal creations that the French appreciate so well.


The next week I visited the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery to see the Brett Whiteley exhibition 9 shades of Whiteley. Brett Whiteley’s art is my absolute favourite. I love his colour and shapes and compositions and the size of his work. There seems to be a reoccurring curved shape that often appears in his work. I thought I was familiar with all of his work, but to my delight I found a painting that was new to me.


Far North Queensland by Brett Whiteley

Far North Queensland by Brett Whiteley

Port Douglas Far North Queensland is one of his last works before his death in 1992. It is full of colour, vibrancy, and movement. From this painting you would think he was at a happy place in his life, and perhaps he was. It is different from his gorgeous “blue” works of Sydney Harbour like his 1976 Archibald Prize winning Self Portrait in the studio. I never pass up an opportunity to see his work “in the flesh”.


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