New Exhibit is Emotionally Moving

Whether or not you are a regular museum visitor, you absolutely must see “Judging by Appearance: Master Drawings From the Collection of Joseph and Deborah Goldyne” on view at the San Francisco’s Palace of the Legion of Honor through June 4 (2006).

This exquisite exhibit, including a small Rembrandt, is a feast for the eyes, heart and mind, and interweaves aging, maturity, and the arts. Antique furniture, soft lighting, and subtle wall colors enhance the carefully chosen images. On my first visit, I was speechless and moved to tears.

Dr. Goldyne’s collecting interests blossomed early. While still a teenager, he spied a Rembrandt painting selling for $250,000 and tried to get his father to buy it. “My dad gave me a kind lecture in financial reality, but agreed to go with me to see it and thought it really splendid.”

After receiving a medical degree and two art degrees, Dr. Goldyne combined his scientific and visual arts skills to become an internationally-recognized painter and printmaker. His abilities and education honed his collecting eye.

There are four drawings of elders that I cannot forget. Each captures the human condition with respectful sensitivity and yields a glimpse of life in another century.

Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot’s “A Peasant Woman Seen From Behind” reveals a hard-lived life merely through Corot’s drawing of the peasant’s weathered garments and her sturdy stance.

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri’s “An Old Bearded Man Looking Downwards,” executed around 1645, tenderly reveals the multiple emotions that accumulate with age.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s “A Bearded, Capped and Cloaked Standing Figure,” executed in the mid 1700s, is a perfect pen and ink piece by this phenomenal artist.

One of my favorites is the wizened and amused elderly woman in “Portrait of a Peasant Woman Holding a Wine Glass,” drawn around 1600 and attributed to the artist Lagneau.

Finally, the artworks of Adolph von Menzel and John Langley Howard were produced in the latter part of their lives. In the words of Dr. Goldyne:

“Adolph von Menzel was 78 years old when he executed his splendid study of a hand and arm. John Langley Howard was 91 years old when he created his magical composition, and a good many others were to come in the remaining six years of his life. The generality that artists lose their powers as they age is just that, a generality!”