You read that right-somehow I am
going to link the 1955 Marilyn Monroe movie with a French impressionist who made Manchester his home.
I'I’ve adored Marilyn since I was a little girl and would watch her films over and over with my mum and there is a speech in The Seven Year Itch right at the end, where 'the girl' tells the hero what a girl is really looking for in a man:
“Your imagination! You think every girl's a dope. You think a girl goes to a party and there's some guy in a fancy striped vest strutting around giving you that I'm-so-handsome-you-can't-resist-me look. From this she's supposed to fall flat on her face. Well, she doesn't fall on her face. But there's another guy in the room, over in the corner. Maybe he's nervous and shy and perspiring a little. First, you look past him. But then you sense that he's gentle and kind and worried. That he'll be tender with you, nice and sweet. That's what's really exciting.”
So, you're wondering what that has to do with Adolphe Valette? Let me explain. At Manchester Art Gallery, as you go to the atrium, there are two paintings either side of the staircase. Every time I visit, I always notice the one on the left:
Well,why wouldn't you? It's Piccadilly Gardens by Lowry and it's marvellous – it has got the 'I'm so handsome' look about it that you don't always notice the quiet, shy one on the opposite wall until someone points it out to you:
This is Adolphe Valette's Oxford Road, Manchester. Valette came to England in 1905 and remained here until 1928. He taught at The school of Art in Manchester where Lowry was one of his pupils.
His works have such a gentle quality about them and they are amongst the most tranquil paintings I have ever seen.
It really is a lesson in not allowing the 'stunners' to always catch your eye and, that is why we can link 'The Seven Year Itch' to Adolphe Valette!
Take time to wander around and pick out the quieter, more reserved works -that's what's exciting!