1.038 Tissot, dinner

Thursday, 1/9/2020

Once more avoided left-side sleeping, and got up to no-vertigo. That shouldn’t feel like an achievement; it should feel like normal. Hopefully it is.

Today’s event was that, as I noted a few days back, I’d signed up for a bus trip to the Legion of Honor museum to take in their special exhibit of paintings by Tissot — a name that if you search it, will tell you a lot about expensive swiss watches, but not much about the guy who painted lush, detailed pictures of society people in London and Paris in the late 1800s. Fun pictures to look at, pictures that let you invent stories. This one, of three rather dissipated looking people on a motorboat on the Thames…


The interpretive sign made much of the air quality, which was a hot topic in London at the time, and of the implied social criticism of carrying three bottles of champagne for a party of three people. I was impressed (possibly because of recent experience of vertigo!) with how there are no perpendicular lines. Everything is at an angle, everything is swaying and unstable. And yet the people are unconcerned, even bored (lots of Tissot’s people look bored). Was that a social comment about the uncaring upper classes ignoring social unrest? Or just an accurate picture of boats on the water?

That aside, the thing that was impossible to ignore in these very large canvasses was the man’s almost insane attention to detail. He was famous for painting womens’ clothes in photographic (well, photography didn’t exist) detail. Here’s a segment of one painting.


That’s about 1/8 of a big canvas. Imagine painting all those stripes, one at a time, getting the light values and angles right so all the wrinkles and folds are consistent. Then painting the lace edging. Then painting the stitching in the silk stocking. Then the grass…

So there were about 15 of us, of which I was probably the youngest, certainly the most spry. Our bus got there about 10:30, and we were scheduled to depart at 2pm. It took me an hour to see the Tissots, and I was hungry, so I checked out the museum cafe, whose menu didn’t attract nor did a long line for service. Hmmm. I have over 2 hours to kill. Got out the phone (had to walk to the far side of the parking lot to get service), checked the map, yes, there are a couple of casual eateries a mile away on Balboa street. Walk? Nah. I called a Lyft. Had a very tasty panini at the Simple Pleasures Cafe. Very San Francisco place, and don’t ask me to define that, but it was very different in tone and decor from anything in Palo Alto. And a Lyft back. Total, about $25 for travel and lunch, which was not a whole lot more than the museum cafe would have cost.

I went into the museum again, and joined the 12:30 docent tour. This lady, Fern, showed us a couple of paintings in the normal collection that related to Tissot’s work, in being contemporary in time but different in treatment of subjects. She did an excellent job of this. As a docent, I love seeing other docents doing good tours.

Still time to kill. So I walked down the hill playing peek-a-boo with the bridge.tissot-GGB-small

Bus finally left, all home safe. At 5:30 I joined Harry and Susan who had invited me to supper along with Betty and Jerry (another guy about my age and spryness), and Lynne. Pleasant meal, nice people.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s