1. an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
2. an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
This story I'm about to share has so many beautiful twists and happenings that the only word I can use to describe it is "miracle". It has become a once-in-a-lifetime thread of sheer happiness that will for the rest of my life bring a smile accompanied by a shake of my head as I ponder how this all occurred. Read on and share with me what word you would choose to describe this series of events.
It started with facebook and a friend named Josie. Josie posted that she wanted to fill facebook with beautiful art and whomever would comment on her post would be assigned an artist. I commented. She assigned. Manet. An artist I had heard of but had never really studied his works. I am an engineer by profession and a costumer by hobby and the fine arts have not been part of my life where the demands of living took so much of my time. But now that I'm semi retired with access to the sum total of human knowledge at my fingertips, I can pursue those things I've missed.
I am immediately taken with Manet's works and choose to post Le Printemps to brighten Josie's and my facebook world.
Edouard Manet, French Impressionist, 1832 - 1883
These are valuable websites to learn about Manet and view his paintings:
As I enjoy the first spring of my retirement and my participation in The Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenges, I decide to recreate the bonnet in Manet's painting. Le Printemps, or Spring, was created by Manet in 1881 and first presented at the 1882 Paris Salon. It depicts actress Jeanne Demarsy in a floral dress and bonnet as an expression of spring.
In Spring 2014 I recreate the bonnet.
In Summer 2014 I create a gown envisioning what I believe the full gown to look like.
In the Fall of 2014 I recover a parasol and write this tutorial.
Lastly, I sew the gold silk gloves.
Dressed in complete Victorian costume, my friends Judith and Bill and myself tour Biltmore House and Gardens on a perfect spring day in April.
It is the perfect time to recreate the Manet painting!
The end of a wonderful project! Wouldn't you agree? The painting is in St Petersburg Russia and the chance of my ever seeing it are so slim. Yet as I search the internet one day I discover a 6 November 2014 article in the Daily Mail that "Spring" has sold at Christie's in New York for $65.125 million. The purchaser? The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. The painting was currently on view at the Getty Center, Museum West Pavilion, Gallery W204. And where am I going in July? To Los Angeles to teach and attend Costume College 2015. I will be just an hour away!
The April event at Biltmore Estate also brought me the opportunity to finally meet Marie-Jo and Michel. They came to North Carolina from California for the event and were an absolute joy to meet! Then they offered me the opportunity that I could not have even imagined - they would take me to The Getty Museum to see the painting while I was in Los Angeles for Costume College! !! !!! !!!! !!!!!
Oh my heavens and stars! On Saturday afternoon of Costume College I've changed into my costume, Marie-Jo and Michel have brought the car and a picnic lunch, and we are off to The Getty Museum to see Manet's Spring!
As I write this post and see the long progression and incredible conclusion of this project, I'm in awe of the timing. But more than that I am in awe of this painting and the breathtaking beauty created by such a master. The painting truly takes your breath away as you stand before it. I can now completely understand why it has endured and been treasured these years and am so thankful it is here for so many more people to enjoy!
While Manet had intended to create works of all four seasons he only completed "Spring - Jeanne Demarsy" and "Autumn - Study of Mery Laurent" before his death in 1883 at age 51.
Is this the end of the journey? No, as there are some surprises in the works!
Enjoy all of life's miracles,