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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Passport to Paris with Paws

Monet's Beach at Trouville is the first work on display in Passport to Paris

Monet’s Beach at Trouville is the first work on display in Passport to Paris

We walked out of Passport to Paris at the Denver Art Museum discussing which piece was our favorite. There were so many to choose from – three separate sections of the exhibition, actually – that it was difficult for me to decide. I could narrow it down to a handful, while Maria, my date, was able to quickly pick just one. How was that possible? I mean, I knew she liked it, we both commented on the particular piece, but just one? That quickly? There were so many great works that it seemed near impossible to be able to pick only one.

Maria and I were out for the first time. Initially we were just going to do a doggie date at the state park. Easy and casual. Just how I like it. But after I missed the special preview of a Passport to Paris due to a nasty traffic snarl on the interstate, the museum set me up with two tickets to see it on the opening weekend. The moment I found out I knew who I wanted to ask. After all, what better first date can you have than fine art followed by dogs running through the creek? Add in Mexican food, you say? Done! We did that, too.

As we drove downtown Denver to see Passport to Paris, Maria admitted to me that she had never been to the art museum since moving to town. It had been on her list, she wanted to go, it just hadn’t happened yet for one reason or another. Bonus for me, since the date could easily be extended to include the rest of the museum if things went well in the special exhibition. And they did. But we also spent so much time in the first two halls that we were running late on everything else for the day. And so we skipped the third section to see a few other galleries in the museum. And oh how the pressure was on, since she left it to me to impress.

Here’s an old favorite we saw in the original Denver Art Museum building…

Renoir's Portrait of Edmond Renoir, 1888

Renoir’s Portrait of Edmond Renoir, 1888

Here’s some of what we missed in the third hall, “Nature as Muse,” which is on the first floor of the Hamilton wing…

Cezanne's A Painter at Work

Cezanne’s A Painter at Work

Boudin's Trouville Beach Scene

Boudin’s Trouville Beach Scene

As we drove to lunch we both groaned when we realized we accidentally skipped this hall. When we wandered off to see the rest of the museum, it just slipped our mind to return. We intended to, but simply forgot. That’s not an entirely bad thing, though, since it gives me ample excuse to return. Which I’d like to do, since such art – a lot of it from the best Impressionist artists – is some of my favorite.

Without a doubt, though, we saw more than our fair share of amazing works. So it’s not like we were exactly left out in the cold by skipping the final gallery. Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and on down the line, there was a ton of great art in the exhibition, which covers three centuries worth of art in Paris from the time of Louis XIV to the early 1900s. Here’s a small sampling of some of my favorites…

Anquetin's Avenue de Clichy

Anquetin’s Avenue de Clichy

Tourlouse-Lautrec's Jane Avril Leaving the Moulin Rouge

Tourlouse-Lautrec’s Jane Avril Leaving the Moulin Rouge

Renoir's Monet Painting in Garden at Argenteuil

Renoir’s Monet Painting in Garden at Argenteuil

I wasn’t a huge fan of the early works in the exhibition, but, then again, I kind of expected that since portraits have never been my thing. But that’s what was en vogue at the time, and so I appreciated it as a set up for what was to come. I found it interesting to learn about how the transition occurred from that style of art to the kind I more appreciate. The political upheaval at the time with the French Revolution was a large part of it, which I guess I never thought of before as having such a strong influence on my favorite artists.

Trinquesse's Elegant Interior with Two Ladies and a Gentleman

Trinquesse’s Elegant Interior with Two Ladies and a Gentleman

Maria and I finished lunch still talking about how much we enjoyed the exhibition. It was a great beginning to a first date. Heck, it could be a great beginning, middle, or end to any date. For us though, we decided to see Passport to Paris before getting dirty with the puppies. And dirty we did get, as my Anna and her Gauge ran through the creek, and then ran some more, continuing to run on out of sight… Well, at least Anna did. Gauge was a good boy. Anna successfully made me look like a bad pet parent, as I had to chase after her through half the park. Regardless, we had fun. The hiking was good. The dogs burned off some energy. And Maria and I were able to chat some more and get to know each other. After all, we knew virtually knew nothing of each other having only met twice before at the neighborhood dog park.

Cherry Creek at the park

Cherry Creek at the park

And so, you ask, will their be a second date? Definitely, thanks to the magic of Passport to Paris at the Denver Art Museum and some dirty fun at the dog park. We’re already talking about what to do next, which will hopefully be this upcoming weekend. Now the pressure is on to find something as good as Monet, Van Gogh, and cute puppies…

My favorite: Cezanne's House in the Country

My favorite: Cezanne’s House in the Country

But oh, I almost forgot, what were our favorites? Well, if I had to pick just one, I think I’d have to go with Cezanne’s House in the Country. I love the colors, the lines, and the setting, a place I can easily imagine myself living. Maria? Well, she loved Rousseau’s Sunset in the Hills of Jean-de-Paris. At the time it was also my favorite – the vibrant colors of the sunset were unlike anything we had seen to that point – but later trumped by the other pieces in the gallery.

Rousseau’s Sunset in the Hills of Jean-de-Paris

Rousseau’s Sunset in the Hills of Jean-de-Paris

Passport to Paris at the Denver Art Museum runs through February 9th. Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone. See the link for details.

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5 Comments on “Passport to Paris with Paws”

  1. The Guy October 30, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Well if Maria can quickly pick her favourite picture then she clearly is decisive and knows what she wants. That could be a great thing for you Jason 🙂

    It looks like a great exhibition. I must ask though, all those pictures of the paintings, were you allowed to take pictures of the real ones? Or did you have to buy postcards/book so you could show them to us?

    Best of luck with the next date, I wish you both well.

    • Jason's Travels October 30, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      The photos are all courtesy the Denver Art Museum. Had I been able to make it Thursday I would have been able to take my own photos. But, since I had to go Sunday, they sent me some photos to use.

  2. scootoursdenver December 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Jason, I just stumbled on your site while searching for a review of Mythbusters but we also want to go to this exhibit. Thanks for the writeup. I like your style.

    • Jason's Travels December 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

      Thanks so much! I appreciate the note. I hope you can make both exhibits, and have a great time at each. They’re both definitely well worth it.


  1. Hanging with the Modern Masters at the Denver Art Museum | Jason's Travels - March 4, 2014

    […] New Mexico, Becoming Van Gogh (which was a worldwide exclusive for the museum), and, most recently, A Passport to Paris. As with those three, Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has Van […]

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