Alma-Tadema!

Alma-Tadema: At Home In Antiquity, Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London, W14,, until 29th October 2017

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

 

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, The Finding of Moses, 1904. © Private Collection

Unbelievably for such a well-known artist, this is the first exhibition of the works of Alma-Tadema in London since 1913. He was a great friend of Lord Leighton and will of course have visited the House which makes the placing of the exhibition here most fitting.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
Self-Portrait of Lourens Alma Tadema, 1852.
© Fries Museum, Collection Royal Frisian Society

A visit to Pompeii on his honeymoon inspired Alma-Tadema to depict carefully researched scenes of life in Ancient Rome which reminded me very much of scenes from the very popular spectacular epic films of the fifties and sixties such as Quo Vadis?, The Ten Commandments, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Ben-Hur and apparently Alma-Tadema had been an inspiration for some of the filmmakers even as late as Gladiator. Indeed many of his paintings are amazingly in the CinemaScope ratio!

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
A Pyrrhic Dance, 1869.
© Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London

There are photographs, artefacts and drawings and paintings from his two houses, one close to the Regent’s Canal and the other in Grove End Road whose exterior remains largely unchanged.  There is also a selection of the panels painted by Alma-Tadema’s artist friends including Lord Leighton which hung in Alma-Tadema’s house and which are reunited for this exhibition. The Studio will also house the portrait of Leopold Lowenstam a friend of Alma-Tadema which was rediscovered on the Antiques Roadshow in 2016 and is on public display for the first time.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,
Coign of Vantage, 1895.
© Ann and Gordon Getty

The exhibition is a wonderful journey through Alma-Tadema’s work displayed in a beautiful and atmospheric setting.

 

 

http://www.leightonhouse.co.uk

 

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/

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

 

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition

Summer Exhibition 2017, The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1, until 20th August 2017

 

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

 

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

This year’s Show is vibrant and exciting and varied across several media.  Of particular note is Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture VI in the Annenberg Courtyard which explores the notion of harnessing motion and freezing it in a moment of time.

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

Gilbert and George are showing a new large-scale work from their Beard Speak series and there are works by Phyllida Barlow, Anthony Gormley, Sean Scully, Bob and Roberta Smith and Wolfgang Tillmans – a very impressive line-up!

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

Farshoud Moussavi has curated the Architecture Gallery which celebrates architecture by focusing on construction coordination drawings which show the full complexity of a building.

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

The Charles Woolaston Award has been won by Isaac Julien for his five-screen film WESTERN UNION: Small Boats which is apparently inspired by Visconti’s The Leopard. I have to say as that is one of my favourite films I couldn’t really see the connection apart from the two films being set in Sicily, however it is well worth a look.

 

As always, the show is a real treat for art lovers and the standard remains as high as ever.

 

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

Masterpiece London 2017 – Pangolin London

Pangolin London at Masterpiece London 2017, until 5th July 2017

LYNN CHADWICK (1914-2003)
Mobile, 1952
Steel and copper

Pangolin London has built up a strong reputation for it promotion of Modern British and contemporary sculptors and their estates through its exhibition programme. Their affiliation with the well-known sculpture foundry Pangolin Editions allows them to provide a welcome opportunity to commission, make and install new sculptures.

BREON O’CASEY (1928 – 2011) Reclining Nude, 2009
Acrylic on canvas

At the fair you will discover previously unseen works as well as sculptural jewellery.

ZAC EASTWOOD-BLOOM (b.1980)
Informazioni mangiato il mio tavolo’ (Information Ate My Table), 2016
Marble

 

www.pangolinlondon.com

www.masterpiecefair.com

Masterpiece London 2017 – Introduction

Masterpiece London 2017, South Grounds, The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3, 29th June – 5th July 2017

MASTERPIECE PRESENTS
Iván Navarro
Impenetrable Room
2017
Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery

Since its inception this fair has grown into one of the most must-visit events of the art and antiques year. Some thirty-seven thousand visitors last year! It attracts museum directors and private collectors from all over the world to see the artworks shown by a hundred and fifty international dealers. The artworks range from antiquity to the present time. The Royal Bank of Canada is once again the principal sponsor

This year the new MASTERPIECE PRESENTS will reveal a large-scale dedicated exhibition space at the entrance which has been transformed by a special artwork – Impenetrable Room, 2017. Created by the Chilean artist Iván Navarro it has been commissioned by the New York-based Paul Kasmin Gallery who are new exhibitors.

Over the coming days I look forward to sharing blogs on some of the leading dealers taking part.

www.masterpiecefair.com