blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A day and an evening in Köln

Last Tuesday, while Chris, Karsten, Bob and Yi were at the TÜV seminars in Köln, I picked my way over some construction sites at the city end of the Severinstrasse, spent over an hour in a bookshop and had my umbrella blown inside out in a thunderstorm before sheltering in a hotel doorway near the Dom. Behind the Dom is the Ludwigsmuseum which interestingly was full of that 1920s and 1930s art that was banned by the Nazis. It seems that present day Germans feel so guilty about that part of their history that they're almost over-compensating in the way they make amends for it.
German expressionist art appeals to me but its exaggerations wouldn't suit every taste-- in the museum were colourful paintings by Kirchner (one of a group of people by Lake Thun!) and Müller from the Dresden / Berlin “Brücke” school and allegorical works by the “Blaue Reiter” group from Munich and the Neue Sachlichkeit movement. A list of names for my future reference: Macke, Marc, Scherer (primitive style, wooden sculptures), Kandinsky, Jawlensky, Barlach, Beckmann, Dix (among the works on show was a self portrait in a painter's smock, with a grim tight-lipped expression on his face), Grosz, Arntz, Max Ernst. Their French / Swiss / Spanish contemporaries were also much featured in the museum: Mondrian, Delaunay, Klee, Braque, Matisse, Magritte, Chagall and several rooms full of Picasso, including a good selection of his ceramic pieces. He produced over 4000 samples of “art you can eat off” (plates, bowls, etc); when Picasso got hold of an idea he worked at it for all it was worth, obsessively.

On my walk back to the Novotel I took a coffee break at the Cafeteria of the Schokoladenmuseum overlooking the Rhine reading a text message from Chris that said, be ready to set off before 6 for the evening boat cruise. This was the conference banquet, a buffet supper on a pleasure boat with very few women present, so the 3-hour conversation with all those male voices, especially after the beers had been liberally served, produced a high decibel level; my ears were ringing. However it was too cold to escape onto the outside decks for very long at a time, romantic though it was to glide past the changing scene on the banks. We sailed slowly upstream half way to Bonn then let the current carry us quickly back. Before we disembarked at about 10:30 p.m. we had a marvellous view of the floodlit Cathedral. Then Karsten competently got our little group back to our lodgings in two taxis.

No comments: