Sargent in Dulwich

Sargent: The Watercolours, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 8th October 2017

John Singer Sargent, The Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, c. 1904-9,
watercolour on paper, over preliminary pencil, 36.7 x 53.8 cm,
© Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. Photo: Catarina Gomes Ferreira

It is almost a hundred years since there was an exhibition devoted to the watercolours of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) so there is much to celebrate in this show. The eighty works by this Anglo American artist are an absolute delight with most dating from between 1900 – 1918.

Unknown photographer, Sargent painting a watercolour in the Simplon Pass, c. 1910-11,
Sargent Archive, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Sargent by 1910 had basically given up the portrait painting for which he was renowned to concentrate on watercolour painting. He travelled in Southern Europe and the Middle East and brought his own idiosyncratic style to these wonderful works whether fragmented glimpses, cities, people or landscapes. As the photograph shows he painted ‘en plein air’ and in some of the Venice watercolours you feel you are actually there with him in the gondola from which he depicts the view before him.

John Singer Sargent, A Turkish Woman by a Stream, c. 1907,
watercolour on paper, over preliminary pencil, with touches of body colour, 35.9 x 50.8 cm,
Victoria and Albert Museum. Bequeathed by Miss Dorothy Barnard. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Richard Ormond, co-curator and grand-nephew of Sargent, says: “In Sargent’s watercolours we see his zest for life and his pleasure in the act of painting. The fluency and sensuality of his paint surfaces, and his wonderful command of light, never cease to astonish us. With this exhibition we hope to demonstrate Sargent’s mastery of the medium and the scale of his achievement”.
I rather think you will agree with him.

John Singer Sargent, Rome: An Architectural Study, c. 1906-7,
watercolour on paper, over preliminary pencil, 34.9 x 50.2 cm,
Museums & Galleries, City of Bradford MDC

 

http://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

 

John Singer Sargent, Highlanders Resting at the Front, 1918,
watercolour on paper, over preliminary pencil, 34.3 cm x 53.5 cm,
© Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

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/

‘The Caged Bird’s Song’

Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic, Sunley Room, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2, until 28th August 2017

Chris Ofili
The Caged Bird’s Song, 2014–2017
Wool, cotton and viscose
Triptych, left and right panels each 280 x 184 cm; centre panel 280 x 372 cm
Installation view, Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic, National Gallery, 26 April – 28
August 2017
© Chris Ofili. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London, The Clothworkers’ Company and Dovecot Tapestry Studio, Edinburgh. Photography: Gautier Deblonde

This is the first time that the Turner Prize winning artist Chris Ofili has worked in the medium of tapestry but I definitely think and hope that it will not be the last. Once again he looks at mythology for inspiration and combines it with the contemporary and the colour and the magic and tales of Trinidad. Alongside the tapestry woven in Edinburgh’s Dovecot Tapestry Studio, are the preparatory sketches for the piece.

Chris Ofili
The Caged Bird’s Song (She) 1, 2014
Watercolour and charcoal on paper
39.5 x 26.3 cm
15 1/2 x 10 3/8 in
© Chris Ofili
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London

The artist says of it: “The Caged Bird’s Song is a marriage of watercolour and weaving. I set out to challenge the weaving process, by doing something free-flowing in making a watercolour, encouraging the liquid pigment to form the image, a contrast to the weaving process. With their response, which is an interpretation rather than a reproduction, the weavers have paid a type of homage to the watercolour that I gave them as well as to the process of weaving.”

It is quite magical. After the exhibition it will go to The Clothworkers’ Company, who commissioned it, in the City of London and will be on permanent display there.

http://www.nationalgallery.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

A Legacy of Beauty

JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER: A LEGACY OF BEAUTY – From Halesworth to the Himalayas, Halesworth Gallery, Steeple End, Halesworth, Suffolk IP19 8LL, 1st– 19th July 2017

Sarcococca hookeriana var.digyna by Elaine Searle (Chelsea School of Botanical Art’s course director),
watercolour and graphite, 35cm high x 25cm wide.
Common plant name: Sweet box

This is a wonderful celebration of the 19th century botanist and explorer Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker OM GCSI CB PRS  who succeeded his father as Director of Kew Gardens. The works are by the pupils and alumni of the Chelsea School of Botanical Art. Their founder and director, Helen Allen said:  We are delighted that the Halesworth Gallery has invited us to exhibit botanical paintings of plants relating to, and named after, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker. We are also including other plant illustrations showing this traditional art.  This is a great opportunity for our School and its alumni, many of whom now earn their living through their painting.  We plan to show visitors the tools and the progression of creating a botanical painting, which traditionally combines art and science, through the work of present and past talented Chelsea School of Botanical Art students.”

Joseph Hooker, Director of Kew Gardens, London 1865.

“The list of plants named after Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker is extensive. Many of the species are no longer the same as they were when discovered by Hooker, some are very rare and protected. Therefore, in some cases, our artists have selected the current version to paint.  We will also be showing other botanical paintings and illustrations by our alumni.”

Echiveria x hookeri by Penny Price,
watercolour, 35cm high x 24cm wide.
Common plant name: Succulent

http://www.halesworthgallery.co.uk/

http://www.chelseaschoolofbotanicalart.co.uk/

The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer

The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (1929-2016), Christie’s King Street, London SW1, Old Masters Evening Sale (6th July 2017) and The Collection of Raine, Countess Spencer (13thJuly 2017)

Interior
From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

I count myself fortunate in having encountered Raine, Countess Spencer several times over the years and she was always the epitome of elegance and charm. That sense of style is very much reflected in her home, the contents of which are to be found in these sales. While the paintings, furniture and objects contributed to the glamour of the rooms they were not mere ‘background’ objects but were bought because Lady Spencer liked them and wanted to live with and use them.

Interior
From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

She was very much drawn to the arts of 18th century France and numbered works by Boucher, Fragonard and Greuze among the pictures she collected. On some purchases she was advised by Sir Francis Watson (former Director of the Wallace Collection) who also advised the Wrightsmans with their legendary collection. Regency furniture was another love and it blended well with her French pieces. Her last dining room recalled the Art Deco period and there was also a collection of French Art Nouveau lithographs.

Interior
From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

From her birth – she was the daughter of the novelist Dame Barbara Cartland – onwards Lady Spencer was the focus of media interest whether through her marriages or her work as a Westminster City Councillor and in the conservationist campaigns she supported. In later years she was a director of Harrods and had a hands-on approach. The thread of perfectionism that runs through her life is also reflected in her clothes, jewellery and other accessories in the 13th July auction. This is very much an opportunity to appreciate, enjoy or even acquire a piece of the elegant perfection that was Lady Spencer’s way of life.

Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris)
A Mediterranean sea-port with fishermen unloading cargo
oil on canvas
Estimate: £300,000-500,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

A LOUIS XVI COMMODE
CIRCA 1770-75, ATTRIBUTED TO ANTOINE-PIERRE FOULLET
Estimate: £60,000-90,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

Interior
From the property of Lady Spencer © Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN 18 CARAT GOLD, RUBY AND DIAMOND PARURE, BY VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Comprising a necklace, designed as a graduated series of ruby cabochon and brilliant-cut diamond clusters
Estimate: £100,000-150,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

One of several ‘Lady Dior’ handbags, this one of black leather with studwork decoration.
Estimate: £1,000-1,500
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.christies.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