the reach of art

When I was ten years old my father took me to the Modern Museum to see a surrealistic exhibit on display at the time. It was then I saw the painting “Hide and Seek” by Pavel Tchelitchew, an American artist of Russian birth. This large oil painting with its vivid colors and its hidden imagery of children’s figures integrated into a tree was to haunt me thereafter. It was a strange painting. Yet, I never forgot the painting and the day I spent with my father, who is now long deceased. What I also didn’t realize was how that painting would become part of my future.

I recently went to the Modern Museum to see the Matisse exhibit and was surprised by the crowds of people that jammed the lobby. I was overwhelmed to see an artist celebrated like this. The place was filled with school groups, families and people from all over the world. It seemed as if very little English was spoken here and it was an eye opener. I’m used to seeing this kind of crowed at sports events and movie houses, but not so much for an art exhibit. There were families with young children spending the whole day here. It took me back to that time so long ago when I came here with my father and learned to appreciate art at his side.

So imagine my surprise when I saw the painting “Hide and Seek” on display in the hallway on the 5th flour leading into the Surrealist’s exhibit. I felt my father beside me as I looked at it. In a way it brought me back to that ten-year-old girl. I can’t help thinking how that painting may have been the catalyst for my own surrealistic works today. It also made me think how important it is to expose our children to the museums and art galleries at a young age. It's true not all the children will grow up to be artist’s, but they just might grow up to be art appreciators.