Iron Inspiration

May 6, 2010

Years ago, the Amsterdam Van Gogh museum acquired a new painting. Pictures in newspapers presented the wonderful iron railing, as seen and depicted by Gustave Caillebotte, in 1880.

image source

The description said that the painting represents a view from a balcony, into the then modern Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. It doesn’t really matter. All we see is incredible iron work.

This painting made me look different at the world around me. It made me look through a camera lens, it made me observe gates, fences, banisters, all the iron ornament that seperates the house from the visitor and protects people when inside.
Beautiful, translucent, and firm.

This is what I know now.
While documenting for projects, this painting was not only in the museum, it was also in my head and in the documentation photographs.

The ‘view from a balcony’ was painted in primarily greys and whites.
But more colour can be found, unexpected.

Gates and banisters may be a necessity, with the purpose to close off an area. Who knew a painted balcony banister opened up a world more than a century later?