Travel a great distance to stand before a celebrated work of art? That's happened once or twice in history, right?
Or a million times. Look no further than the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper or hundreds of paintings and sculptures that are known and beloved worldwide.
But they do, on occasion, go on the move, at least temporarily. Édouard Manet's "The Railway," a masterwork from 1873, will soon make its way west from The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Its destination? The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.
The three-month loan, which will last from Dec. 5 through March 2, will hang in the Norton Simon's Impressionist Art Wing. "A series of special events will be presented in conjunction with the loan, including an opening weekend lecture presented by Mary Morton, the National Gallery of Art's curator of French paintings.
The exchange program, which has seen art journey across the nation between the Norton Simon and The National Gallery of Art, as well as The Frick Collection, kicked off in 2007.
As for "The Railway"? The woman's gaze, the puppy in her lap, the young girl turned away from the viewer and towards the puff-and-huff of the trains of Gare Saint-Lazare are some of the most iconic figures found in all of 19th-century art.
It's imagery that's synonymous with Impressionism, of course, but also of the moment when genteel life collided with the Industrial Age. Let us also admire "The Railway" for including a person directly engaging real-world onlookers in the steadiest, through-the-looking-glass-iest of ways.
Not all that commonplace, that sort of intimacy and immediacy, back in the day.
Southern California art buffs? You will need to travel to see this gem, come December, but only to Colorado Boulevard in the Crown City. It's rather nice, too, that such a lauded masterwork will be in town in time for all of our rosy visitors, too.
Édouard Manet, French, 1832–1883 The Railway, 1873 Oil on canvas Lent by the National Gallery of Art Gift of Horace Havemeyer in memory of his mother, Louisine W. Havemeyer 1956.10.1