FAHRELNISSA ZEID

FAHRELNISSA ZEID, Tate Modern, until 8th October 2017

 

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901–1991)
Resolved Problems 1948
Oil paint on canvas, 130 x 97 cm
Istanbul Modern Collection/ Eczacibaşi Group Donation, © Raad bin Zeid Collection

 

Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901 – 1991) was born into an elite Ottoman family in Istanbul and witnessed the birth of modern Turkey and as the wife of the Iraqi ambassador in Berlin she saw the rise of Nazi Germany.  Later in Paris and London she was part of the post-war artistic upsurge until the impact of the 1958 events in Iraq changed her life forever.

 

Her life story which sound like the plot of a Douglas Sirk movie includes a family murder, the death of her first child, marriage into royalty and a narrow escape from political assassination.  It is a wonder she had any time to follow her artistic pursuits but thankfully she did and became one of the foremost exponents of abstract painting.

 

Not easy to classify, indeed Fahrelnissa described a 1980 self-portrait as ‘the hand is Persian, the face is Cretan and the eyes Oriental’ and indeed her work is quite a melange of all those differing influences and it is odd that such a vibrant artist has remained practically forgotten – until now!

Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901–1991)
Third Class Passengers 1943
Oil paint on plywood, 130 x 100 cm
Istanbul Modern Collection/ Eczacibaşi Group Donation, © Raad bin Zeid Collection

 

www.tate.org

Enlightened Princesses

Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte and the Shaping of the Modern World, Kensington Palace, until November 2017

Queen Caroline of Ansbach, Joseph Highmore c.1735,
Royal Collection Trust c Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This fascinating exhibition has come to Kensington Palace from the Yale Center for British Art where it understandably attracted so much interest while there. It considers the part played by three German Protestant princesses at the court of the Hanoverian Kings who ruled 18th century Britain. A legacy that can still be seen in today’s monarchy.

Enlightened Princesses – Installation view
(c) Historic Royal Palaces

The three princesses concerned are Caroline, consort of George II; her daughter-in-law Augusta, who was married to Frederick Prince of Wales and Charlotte (Augusta’s daughter-in-law), consort of George III. In many senses they were the right women in the right place as Britain was embracing the ideas of the Enlightenment and the princesses’ intelligence and curiosity combined with their exalted status allowed them to foster and support the new ideas.

Queen Charlotte, Johann Joseph Zoffany 1771,
Royal Collection Trust c Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Scientists, authors and even musicians such as Handel were all drawn to their drawing rooms. They encouraged medical advances such as inoculation and were involved in the establishment of London’s Foundling Hospital. Plants and wildlife were another interest that all three shared and Kew Gardens is part of that legacy. They also supported British trade and manufacturing.

Enlightened Princesses – Installation view
(c) Historic Royal Palaces

The exhibition succeeds in bringing both their private and public world to life.  The Yale Center for British Art’s director Amy Meyers sums it up: “Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte had sweeping intellectual, social, cultural, and political interests, which helped to shape the courts in which they lived, and encouraged the era’s greatest philosophers, scientists, artists, and architects to develop important ideas that would guide ensuing generations”.

The Flying Squirrel, Plate T-77, Mark Catesby
c The Royal Board of Trustees of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

www.hrp.org.uk

Christening robe made for future George IV, ivory silk satin c. 1760
(c) Historic Royal Palaces

Ancient Landscapes Portrayed

‘British Art: Ancient Landscapes’, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 3rd September 2017

Alan Sorrell (1904–1974)
Sunrise Over Stonehenge
Watercolour on Paper
The Salisbury Museum

I am really grateful to Professor Sam Smiles (Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Plymouth) for his deep interest in archaeology and the history of art because they are engagingly combined in this important show. There is an accompanying catalogue by him too.

Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)
The Long Man of Wilmington,1939
Watercolour
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Prehistory in this country is celebrated in works from the 18th century onwards to the present time. Views of Stonehenge by Thomas Hearne, Charles Marshall, Constable, Turner, Henry Moore and Henry McKnight Kauffer are found among other archaeological sites both in Wiltshire and elsewhere. William Blake, John Piper, Barbara Hepworth and Derek Jarman are among the other artists you will experience in this hugely enjoyable exhibition.

Horace Brodzky (1885-1969)
Stonehenge, 1919
Linocut

The Museum’s Marketing Officer Louise Tunnard says: “We are so fortunate to live alongside the ancient landscapes that inspired these wonderful artists, and which remain relatively unchanged since pre historic times. I am hoping that we will inspire visitors to the exhibition to walk these landscapes too and discover their enduring appeal.” I am sure that they will!

J M W Turner (1775-1851)
Stonehenge c, 1827-28
Watercolour
The Salisbury Museum

 

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/

Inspired by Rothschild Species

Creatures & Creations: Art by Platon H and designs by Mary Katrantzou inspired by Rothschild species, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 29th October 2017 (Wed-Sun)

Lionel Walter Rothschild and a tortoise, early 20th century;
Waddesdon (Rothschild Family) Photo © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

The inspiration for this exhibition that combines digital art, fashion and animal specimens is Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild and nephew of Waddesdon’s builder Ferdinand. Walter who lived at Tring Park. He was fascinated by natural sciences – birds, butterflies and giant tortoises. He even had zebras trained to draw his carriage. He was held in esteem and many species – creatures and plants – were named after him and known as ‘Rothschildi’.

Creatures & Creations, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Derek Pelling (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

 

Designs by Mary Katrantzou, Creatures and Creations, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Mike Fear (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor (50)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fourteen Rothschild species – birds, butterflies and insects – have been the inspiration for the Greek artist Platon H’s digital collages which use their abstract natural patterns while the noted fashion designer Mary Katrantzou has created three couture gowns that celebrate the beauty of their nature. Combine this with specimens from the Natural History Museum at Tring, originally founded by Walter and opened in 1892 and it is an exhibition of wide appeal and imagination!

Galapagos Giant Tortoise from Tring Natural History Museum, Creatures and Creations, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Mike Fear (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor (14)

waddesdon.org.uk

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/tring

 

Power and Portraiture

Power and Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I, Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until 29th October 2017 (Wed-Sun)

 

Nicholas Hilliard’s portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Amias Paulet at the Hamilton Kerr Institute.
Rothschild Family. Photo Tristan Fewings, 2017 © Getty Images

 Power and Portraiture: painting at the court of Elizabeth I is an intriguing display because it reveals these two portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Amias Paulet and makes an attribution to Nicholas Hilliard (?1547-1619) as their creator. Hilliard is of course celebrated for the exquisite miniatures executed in watercolour and vellum but documents exist that refer to his making pictures ‘in greate’ which means full-scale oil portraits.  The Pelican and Phoenix portraits of Elizabeth I are thought by scholars to be examples of works he painted or was involved with.

Power & Portraiture, Waddesdon Manor.
Photo Derek Pelling (c) National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

This is arrived at by comparing the depiction of faces, jewels and lace with Hilliard miniatures but the difference in scale between the two types of work must be factored in. These two portraits, which come from a branch of the Rothschild family, share the same similarities in style and technique. However scientific analysis at the Hamilton Kerr Institute reveals that rather than being painted on Baltic oak used in England they are on French oak. Sir Amias Paulet was England’s ambassador to France between 1576-79 and during part of his posting Hilliard was part of his household. The presence of Hilliard in France and the stylistic similarities with his other known works allows these ‘in greate’ pictures to be confidently attributed to him.

 

waddesdon.org.uk