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Denmark has reopened from the Wuhan flu and this joyous exhibition is that much brighter because of what we endured up until now.

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That people fall in love with paintings is no exaggeration. Consider the Manet still life in this exultantly beautiful show that was painted in the final summer of his life. It depicts five green pears in a basket. Each is singular and unique, five vital beings turning towards each other in companionable conversation, united in the golden circle of the basket.

The man who loved this painting was its owner, Danish collector Wilhelm Hansen (1868-1936), who used to show it to his dinner guests “as an extra dessert after the ice cream”. If this sounds like a plutocrat’s party trick, the feeling was completely sincere. Hansen loved and lost more than one Manet during the Danish banking crash of 1922, selling most of his French art to prop up his insurance company. But this Manet he kept, for its amazingly free brushstrokes, its greens running all the way from emerald to sultry viridian, its unshadowed joy in looking at the world even as life ebbs away. “A painter can say all he wants,” Manet once remarked, “with fruit or flowers or even clouds.”

Read more on The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/aug/16/gauguin-and-the-impressionists-royal-academy-london-review-wilhelm-hansen-copenhagen

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