The thought of a cruise ship brings to mind visions of buffets, lounge entertainment and shore excursions.
You can imagine my delight and excitement to find a small oasis of culture on our Alaska cruise ship, the Norwegian Pearl – a legitimate onboard art gallery!
We discovered Park West Art Auctions | On Board while perusing the cruise ship’s daily itinerary. “Free Champagne” caught my eye. “Attend the Gallery Opening Soirée” riveted my attention. That was it. After unpacking and freshening up, the hubby and I would attend the cruise ship’s gallery opening party before dinner. (It was the first and last time I wore heels on the ship. Hah!)
At 5:00 PM sharp, we arrived on the 7th floor to find the gallery well attended. While two staffers scurried to dispense flutes of bubbly to eager guests, a young gentleman regaled us about the onboard gallery, upcoming exhibits and lectures along with opportunities to purchase artwork.
Being that this was a cruise ship, it occurred to me that the exhibit might be just garish contemporary commercial artwork. A cursory glance over guests’ heads and shoulders of the artwork on easels, walls and glass cases confirmed my suspicions at first. As the crowd thinned and we found ourselves alone in the gallery and able to peruse the rest of the works on display, we were in for a treat. Lo and behold, we discovered an ample collection of works by (gasp) Peter Max along with Yaacov Agam and Itzchak Tarkay! I was ecstatic.
Luckily, so were the staffers. The three young adults were delighted to learn of my art school and 28 + year teaching practice along with my passion for Peter Max, Agam and Tarkay. They knew they found a cruise guest with whom they could “talk shop”.
I avidly learned from them what I didn’t already know about my three favorite artists. They were appreciative as well to hear the stories I shared with them. My poor hubby rolled his eyes and returned to our guest room, knowing I would be yakking for at least an hour with the gallery staff. I’m such an art nerd. 🙂
There were too many stories to share in one blog, so I’ll reveal to you my favorite – the backstory behind Peter Max’ iconic Umbrella Man series.
According to the young gentleman staffer, Peter Max himself revealed that his iconic paintings of the Umbrella Man series were inspired by a photo of two men walking away from the camera with one man, the famous cellist Pablo Casals, holding the umbrella for his friend Pablo Picasso. So, not only was Casals friends with Picasso…Casals became Peter Max’s Umbrella Man!
The gallery rotated in new pieces throughout the cruise while hosting lectures and art auctions. It was a treat for us to randomly pop in and see what was newly displayed and chat with the staff. I’m pleased to share with you close-ups of some of my favorite iconic Peter Max works. Sadly, the Agam and Tarkay photos did not turn out well due to the lighting in the gallery. I hope you enjoy this collection.
Funny story – mid-cruise, the hubby and I enjoyed the gallery’s evening lecture on Peter Max. Guests were given raffle tickets with the lucky winners receiving the opportunity and privilege to have their portrait painted by Peter Max. I was sad but relieved we did not win. We wouldn’t have been able to afford the sitting!
This cruise celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Having a gallery onboard that exhibited such wonderful artwork was such a lovely and memorable addition to our celebration.
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Pastimes For a Lifetime Art and Piano School is located in Valley Glen, California. 818-766-0614. School is open Tuesday – Saturday year round, except major holidays.
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