Dans les petits pots, les meilleurs onguents

We often say “good things come in small packages.” This is certainly true of The National Gallery of Art’s collection of Small French Paintings in Washington. The nucleus of this charming group of impressionist and postimpressionist paintings was the collection of Ailsa Mellon Bruce, given to the museum in 1969. Since then, other members of the Mellon family, as well as other benefactors, have added to the breadth and depth of the collection of small format paintings. One that I particularly liked was this beach scene by Eugène Boudin. It reminded me of a visit to the Boudin museum in Honfleur a couple of years ago. Boudin and friends such as Claude Monet dragged their easels into the plein-air around Honfleur and impressionism was born.  

Today’s expression, dans les petits pots, les meilleurs onguents (dahn lay puhtee poe, lay mayurz ohn-goo-ahn) literally means “in little pots, the best medicine.” I like this even better than the English expression.  The Small French Paintings are good medicine for the eye, mind, and the heart.

Small French Paintings from the Bequest of Ailsa Mellon Bruce


Small French Paintings: A Book of Postcards

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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3 Responses to Dans les petits pots, les meilleurs onguents

  1. Pingback: Ne pas pouvoir voir quelqu’un en peinture | One quality, the finest.

  2. Pingback: Vous êtes le maître du ciel | One quality, the finest.

  3. Pingback: Un Boudin | One quality, the finest.

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