Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation, Tate Britain

Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation, Tate Britain, until 10th August 2014

Installation view at Tate Britain Tate Photography With: Duncan Grant  Rug c.1932 Three‑Fold Screen c.1930 Wedgwood creamware jug incorporating a childhood portrait of Alan Clark 1932 Wedgwood creamware jug incorporating portraits of Kenneth and Jane Clark 1932 Private Collection  and a selection of other works.

Installation view at Tate Britain
Tate Photography
With:
Duncan Grant
Rug c.1932
Three‑Fold Screen c.1930
Wedgwood creamware jug incorporating a childhood portrait of Alan Clark 1932
Wedgwood creamware jug incorporating portraits of Kenneth and Jane Clark 1932
Private Collection
and a selection of other works.

This is a fascinating exhibition which shows the effect one man had on shaping the course of British Art. Many of you will remember the brilliant landmark series Civilisation 1969, which has influenced arts documentary-making to this day. He certainly believed that art should be accessible to all.

Leonardo da Vinci A Deluge c. 1517-18 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Leonardo da Vinci
A Deluge c. 1517-18
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Clark (1903–1983) was Keeper of the Department of Fine Art at the Ashmolean Museum; Surveyor of the King’s Pictures and at the age of thirty he also became the National Gallery’s youngest Director. He was a patron of and supporter of contemporary British Art such as the Euston Road School and when war broke out in 1939 his private patronage became through various initiatives a project of the State and he employed artists such as Graham Sutherland, John Piper and Henry Moore to record the effect of war on the country and its citizens. As a result of his enthusiasm and influence art became a more recognisable part of British life in the ensuing decades. Certainly his various television appearances, including the aforementioned Civilisation, also helped.

John Piper Seaton Delaval 1941 Tate

John Piper
Seaton Delaval 1941
Tate

The exhibition also reveals Clark’s own eclectic tastes in the fine and decorative arts and includes a selection of works drawn from both Eastern and Western disciplines that he collected for his personal enjoyment and appreciation in his homes.

Francisco de Zurbaran A cup of Water and a Rose © The National Gallery, London

Francisco de Zurbaran
A cup of Water and a Rose
© The National Gallery, London

I found this exhibition a delight and warmly recommend it to you all.

 

Graham Sutherland Midsummer Landscape 1940 © Estate of Graham Sutherland © Birmingham Museums Trust

Graham Sutherland
Midsummer Landscape 1940
© Estate of Graham Sutherland
© Birmingham Museums Trust

http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain

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