‘Op Art’

Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, Compton Verney, until 1st October 2017

Blaze IV,
Bridget Riley,
© UK Government Art Collection © Bridget Riley 2017. All rights reserved

Regular readers of my blog may recall that in October 2015 I posted about a small but enjoyable exhibition Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat at the Courtauld Gallery and now in this large-scale show at Compton Verney this debt is re-visited and much expanded upon.

La Luzerne, Saint-Denis,
Georges Seurat,
© Scottish National Gallery

It reminds us that since the 19th century some artists have been fascinated by the way in which the eye sees optical illusions as it responds to visual stimuli and this point is well proven in this exhibition. Ninety diverse ‘Op Art’ works are featured in the show, including pieces by Victor Vasarely, Julio Le Parc, Jeffrey Steele, Jesus Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Peter Sedgley, Liliane Lijn and, of course, Bridget Riley and Seurat.

Our Spectral Vision,2016,
Liz West.
Photo (c) Hannah Devereux

Professor Steven Parissien, Director of Compton Verney sums it up: “Optical Art explores a range of effects and emotions, using complex geometry and advanced mathematics to communicate with the viewer in a way that is simultaneously mentally challenging and visually appealing. This wonderful exhibition demonstrates just how exhilarating, electrifying and (quite literally) eye-opening Op Art can be.”

The show is curated by Penelope Sexton and Dr Frances Follin and appropriately enough supported by Farrow & Ball.

Pulse 05,
White Earthenware, Underglaze colour, matt glaze, 2012.
Sara Moorhouse,
(c) Sara Moorhouse

http://www.comptonverney.org.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

Gilded Furniture!

Gilded: Golden Treasures of Georgian Furniture, Mackinnon Fine Furniture, 5 Ryder Street,
St. James’s, London SW1

A George I Giltwood Secretaire Cabinet attributed to James Moore made for the Portuguese Royal Court, England circa 1720

This beautiful display of gilded furniture is an absolute joy to behold.  We are more used to gilded arms and legs on chairs and stools or gilt mirror and picture frames but this collection includes furniture where the whole piece is gilded such as this outstanding bureau cabinet. C1720. Originally one of a pair intended for the Portuguese royal court it is attributed to James Moore who worked for George I. It really is as good as it looks.

A George I Giltwood Secretaire Cabinet attributed to James Moore made for the Portuguese Royal Court, England circa 1720 – Interior

As Charlie Mackinnon rightly says: ‘Gilt furniture is synonymous with Georgian elegance and glamour.  Bringing this group of pieces together is a rare opportunity to explore the style in depth and understand its value and attraction—especially for contemporary collectors.’

A Pair of George III Giltwood Armchairs attributed to John Linnell, England, circa 1775

 

A George I Carved Gilt Gesso Settee of Rare Small Proportions, England circa 1720

 

A George II Giltwood Table in the manner of William Kent, England circa 1730

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.mackinnonfineart.com

Masterpiece London 2017 – Les Enluminures

Les Enluminures at Masterpiece London 2017, until 5th July 2017

THE “SOISSONS MISSAL”
Northeastern France (Diocese of Soissons), c. 1250-75 With 1 full-page miniature and 22 large historiated
initials by Vincent Master (active Northeast France, c.1260-90)
In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
334 x 220 mm.

This firm’s specialises, under the leadership of Sandra Hindman, in manuscripts, miniatures, rings and jewellery from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. They have garnered a colourful and rich selection of important acquisitions as these images show and one can totally understand why they number major institutions among their clients.

ROMAN OPEN-WORK HOOP “UTERE FELIX”
Roman Empire, 3rd century
Gold Weight 21.8 gr.; circumference 63.84 mm.; US size 10 5/8; UK size V

 

Histoire Ancienne jusqu’à César and Fait des Romains
In French, illuminated manuscript on parchment
With 78 miniatures by the Master of the Coronation of
Charles VI and a collaborator
France, Paris, c. 1370-80

www.lesenluminures.com

www.masterpiecefair.com

Masterpiece London 2017 – Butchoff Antiques

Butchoff Antiques at Masterpiece London 2017, until 5th July 2017

A Royal Cabinet for Prince Albert Edward by Holland & Sons, Circa 1865

Butchoff have exhibited regularly at the Fair and this year their stand evokes the feel and flavour of an interior in a 19th century chateau. It is the perfect backdrop for their choice selection of 19th century English and Continental furniture and objects. Many are signed by their makers or have an interesting provenance.

An Impressive Large Ormolu Mirror Signed Henry Dasson et Cie, 1889

Ian Butchoff sums it up: “We are proud to be one of the original exhibitors at Masterpiece, and as always will bring a range of statement pieces appealing to the diverse, international crowd at the fair.”

Pair of Urns Signed by Ferdinand Barbedienne, Circa 1880

www.butchoff.com

www.masterpiecefair.com

Masterpiece London 2017 – S J Phillips Ltd

S.J. Phillips Ltd at Masterpiece London 2017, until 5th July 2017

 

A remarkable, bejewelled 18th century chatelaine, complete with pocket watch and breloques (charms). Attributed to George Michael Moser and made in London around 1780.

The renowned London dealer S.J. Phillips Ltd, one of the Fair’s founder members, has brought a dazzling array of jewels, gold boxes and objects with which to bedazzle their clients and visitors.

An exceedingly important diamond necklace, given as a wedding present to the American heiress and socialite Helen Hay on the occasion of her marriage to Payne Whitney, son of politician and financier William C. Whitney in 1902

The 18th century English chatelaine may have been commissioned by a member of the Russian Imperial Family. The firm’s director Nicolas Norton says of it: “This chatelaine is an incredibly rare piece and is amazing to have survived in such outstanding condition. Jewels of this nature and stature are extremely hard to come by.”

A gold and vari-coloured hardstone mounted box by one of the most sought-after box makers, Johann-Christian Neuber of Dresden, 1790.

www.sjphillips.com

www.masterpiecefair.com

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