Matisse in the Studio

Matisse in the Studio, The Sackler Wing, Royal Academy of Arts,  Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1, until 12th November 2017

 

© John Kirkwood

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

 

It isn’t often that one can visit an exhibition of works by a master such as Matisse and also see the subjects of the work on view alongside them as well. This exhibition brings together 35 objects alongside 65 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and cut-outs and it is startling to see the very objects represented, as Tommy Cooper might have said ‘before your very eyes!’

© John Kirkwood

This is the first exhibition to show that such treasures as are on display were often both the inspiration and the subject matter for the work and we must be grateful for their survival. Some of the objects are represented as you will see them but others get an interpretation from Matisse which shows his imagination and skill in transforming them into works of art.  Altogether a fascinating visit to his studio.

 

© John Kirkwood

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

Some French Art in London

CLAUDE & FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE, Ben Brown Fine Arts.12 Brook’s Mews, London W1, until  26th JANUARY 2017

 

Moutons by François-Xavier Lalanne in a set conceived by Manfredi della Gherardesca Photo: Tom Cartier. Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts 2016

Moutons by François-Xavier Lalanne in a set conceived by Manfredi della Gherardesca
Photo: Tom Cartier. Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts 2016

This is a hugely enjoyable exhibition celebrating the creative talents of Claude and the late François-Xavier Lalanne.  Their distinctive style explores the natural world through sculpture and one can easily understand why their work features in the collections and homes of Peter Marino, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, François Pinault, Bernard Arnault and of course the late Yves Saint Laurent.

Installation view - Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne in a set conceived by Manfredi della Gherardesca Photo: Tom Cartier. Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts 2016

Installation view – Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne in a set conceived by Manfredi della Gherardesca
Photo: Tom Cartier. Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts 2016

www.benbrownfinearts.com

 

 

 

Fabienne Verdier: Rhythms and Reflections, Waddington Custot, 11 Cork Street, London W1 until 4th February 2017

Fabienne Verdier at work on the Walking Paintings series courtesy Waddington Custot

Fabienne Verdier at work on the Walking Paintings series
courtesy Waddington Custot

I must say I do wonder why this is Fabienne Verdier’s first UK solo show as her mixture of Eastern and Western artistic traditions are remarkable.  The exhibition features some thirteen new works from her Walking Paintings series and Rhythms and Reflections. This latter group reflect her period as artist-in-residence at New York’s Juilliard School in 2014 and show how music and art can be combined.  As the image suggests her working process is highly physical.

Fabienne Verdier, Ressac II, 2016, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 226 x 150 cm, courtesy Waddington Custot

Fabienne Verdier, Ressac II, 2016,
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 226 x 150 cm,
courtesy Waddington Custot

www.waddingtoncustot.com

Illumination of the Written and Scientific Kind

COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, until 30th December 2016

Historiated initial from an Antiphoner, St Lawrence holding a palm branch, the gridiron and a book (c. 1390) Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, Niccolo Rosselli, Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni Florence, Italy © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Historiated initial from an Antiphoner, St Lawrence holding a palm branch, the gridiron and a book (c. 1390) Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, Niccolo Rosselli, Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni Florence, Italy
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

In this the Museum’s bicentenary year visitors have a wonderful opportunity to learn and understand more about the world of Illuminated Manuscripts. The exhibition combines the art of the original creators of these works with up-to-the minute research into the technique and ingredients used. Some one hundred and fifty manuscripts and fragments, with many of the exhibits being drawn from the Museum’s own collection, are displayed and date from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries. Those from the Viscount Fitzwilliam Founder’s bequest cannot be loaned out to other museums.

Book of Hours c. 1480 – c. 1490 Illuminated by Vante di Gabriello di Vante Attavanti (active c. 1480 – 1485) Florence, Italy © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Book of Hours c. 1480 – c. 1490 Illuminated by Vante di Gabriello di Vante Attavanti (active c. 1480 – 1485) Florence, Italy
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Over the last four years research has covered many interesting facts such as the use of smalt (ground blue glass) on a Venetian illumination book indicates that the artist had contact with the nearby glass-makers on the island of Murano and interestingly enough it pre-dates the use of smalt by Venetian artists by fifty years. It has been discovered that egg yolk, more usually associated with artists working on panel who used it as a binder, was also sometimes used in the production of these ravishing manuscripts.

Historiated initial from a Gradual, Louis XII healing the sick (c. 1500) Paris, Northern France © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Historiated initial from a Gradual, Louis XII healing the sick (c. 1500) Paris, Northern France
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The exhibition takes us to the artistic centres where they were created in Europe and also dispels the belief that most manuscripts were produced by monks since from the eleventh century scribes and professional artists were involved in the production of manuscripts.  It also looks at later alterations to manuscripts and how some have been faked in later times.

The Macclesfield Psalter c. 1330 – 1340 The Anointing of David East Anglia (probably Norwich), England © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The Macclesfield Psalter c. 1330 – 1340 The Anointing of David East Anglia (probably Norwich), England
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

It is a revealing and fascinating exhibition that draws (no pun intended) the viewer in and allows them to understand the magnificent, rich and colourful world of Illuminated Manuscripts.

Miniature, Pentecost showing the Virgin surrounded by the twelve apostles. Hainaut, Valenciennes, circa 1480-1490. Marmion, Simon (follower or assistant of). © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Miniature, Pentecost showing the Virgin surrounded by the twelve apostles. Hainaut, Valenciennes, circa 1480-1490. Marmion, Simon (follower or assistant of).
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/

Historiated initial mounted within a roundel with medallion scenes, John the Baptist, Hermit Saints and scenes of Christ’s Passion. Bologna, Parma, Italy, 1490-1500. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Historiated initial mounted within a roundel with medallion scenes, John the Baptist, Hermit Saints and scenes of Christ’s Passion. Bologna, Parma, Italy, 1490-1500.
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

 

 

Art16

Art16, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London W14, 19th – 22nd May 2016

 

Photograph of the fair Courtesy ART16

Photograph of the fair
Courtesy ART16

This is a truly international event with some thirty countries represented through a hundred galleries and with more than a thousand artworks on display. A third of those galleries exhibiting come from the Asia Pacific region.

Yang-Tsung Fan Swimming Pool Series – Black swimming pool Acrylic on canvas 30 x 20 cm 2016 Courtesy AKI Gallery

Yang-Tsung Fan
Swimming Pool Series – Black swimming pool
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 20 cm
2016
Courtesy AKI Gallery

Jonathan Watkins (Director Ikon Gallery, Birmingham) is curating the Emerge section which highlights young galleries while the London First section brings together galleries that have never exhibited in a London art fair before. Visitors will also get a chance to “preview” a group of commissioned artworks by Tom Ellis which will be part of an exhibition at the Wallace Collection later this year.

Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude my ying is your yang 2015 Oil on canvas 82 x 133 cm Courtesy and © First Floor Gallery Harare

Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude
my ying is your yang
2015
Oil on canvas
82 x 133 cm
Courtesy and © First Floor Gallery Harare

 

Polly Morgan Mouthing the Words Taxidermy Rainbow Boa Granite, marble, copper, palmwood, perspex and lemonwood 420 x 220 mm Base 180 x 180mm Courtesy Other Criteria © Polly Morgan

Polly Morgan
Mouthing the Words
Taxidermy Rainbow Boa
Granite, marble, copper, palmwood, perspex and lemonwood
420 x 220 mm
Base 180 x 180mm
Courtesy Other Criteria
© Polly Morgan

 

RETNA Times of blue 2014 Acrylic ink on water colour paper 30 x 22 in Courtesy Coburn Projects © RETNA

RETNA
Times of blue
2014
Acrylic ink on water colour paper
30 x 22 in
Courtesy Coburn Projects
© RETNA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent Namatjira The Queen and Me 2016 Oil on linen 91 x 122 cm Courtesy THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery © The Artist

Vincent Namatjira
The Queen and Me
2016
Oil on linen
91 x 122 cm
Courtesy THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery © The Artist

 

Lauren McLaughlin We Don’t Want Emotional Complications 2016 Collage and pen on paper 35 x 25 cm Courtesy Arusha Gallery

Lauren McLaughlin
We Don’t Want Emotional Complications
2016
Collage and pen on paper
35 x 25 cm
Courtesy Arusha Gallery

 

Patrick Altes The Hanging Gardens of Babylon 2 2014 Mixed media on canvas 150 x 130 cm Courtesy Lahd Gallery © Lahd Gallery

Patrick Altes
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon 2
2014
Mixed media on canvas
150 x 130 cm
Courtesy Lahd Gallery
© Lahd Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penny Byrne “Felled” Fehily Contemporary © The Artist

Penny Byrne
“Felled”
Fehily Contemporary
© The Artist

 

http://www.artfairslondon.com

Insects – a different take

Edouard Martinet, Sladmore Contemporary, 32 Bruton Place, London W1, until 27th May 2016

Dragonfly. Libellule. Unique 80cm H x 54cm W x 115cm L

Dragonfly. Libellule.
Unique
80cm H x 54cm W x 115cm L

French artist Edouard Martinet challenges our concept of insects through his sculptures created from bits of cast-off junk from a variety of sources, including car boot sales.

Rose Beetle. Scarabee Rose. Unique 10cm H x 28cm W x 30cm L

Rose Beetle. Scarabee Rose.
Unique
10cm H x 28cm W x 30cm L

The result is remarkable and graceful.  He screws the component parts* together rather than welding them and it usually takes him a month to complete a work.  I am sure most will agree that his efforts are more than worthwhile.

Crayfish. Ecrevisse Unique 30cm H x 40cm W x 95cm L

Crayfish. Ecrevisse
Unique
30cm H x 40cm W x 95cm L

 

 

*For example the components used for the dragonfly are:

ABDOMEN – bicycle pump

THORAX – four bike rear lights, two small car lights, big upholstery tacks, gas cap, ball furniture casters

HEAD – two old bike headlights, inside round sunglasses, shoe tree parts, parts of a daisy wheel for typewriter (hairs from the mouth), under the head parts of acetylene bike lights

LEGS – tubes, bike cable guide, wing nuts, cream chargers

WINGS – umbrella ribs, fencing wire, aluminium metal mesh

http://www.sladmorecontemporary.com

Sublime Gardens

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, Main Galleries, Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 20th April 2016

Auguste Renoir, Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, 1873 Oil on canvas, 46.7 x 59.7 cm Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Bequest of Anne Parrish Titzell, 1957.614 Photo (c) Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Auguste Renoir, Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil, 1873
Oil on canvas, 46.7 x 59.7 cm
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Bequest of Anne Parrish Titzell, 1957.614
Photo (c) Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

The star of this show which celebrates artists and gardens is, of course, Claude Monet.  Rightly so because he was a serious horticulturalist and one would certainly not disagree with him when he wrote ‘I perhaps owe it to flowers that I became a painter’.

It is a large show that welcomes more than one visit and the fact that like some gardens the paintings are arranged in themed rooms such as Impressionist Gardens or Gardens of Reverie gives the visitor ample scope to re-visit as one would a favourite part of a garden.

Joaquin Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911 Oil on canvas, 150 x 225.5 cm On loan from the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY Photo (c) Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York

Joaquin Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911
Oil on canvas, 150 x 225.5 cm
On loan from the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY
Photo (c) Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York

The paintings whether Impressionist, Postimpressionist or Avant Garde tell a story too of the growing interest in gardens by the middle classes through a variety of materials such as journals, receipts and letters.

Although not a gardener myself I enjoyed this show and found myself deeply moved in the last room where the three great Monet water lily paintings – the Agapanthus Triptych of 1916 – 1919, normally in the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum, hang reunited once more.

Claude Monet, Nympheas (Waterlilies), 1914-15 Oil on canvas, 160.7 x 180.3 cm Portland Art Museum, Oregon. Museum Purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund, 59.16 Photo (c) Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon

Claude Monet, Nympheas (Waterlilies), 1914-15
Oil on canvas, 160.7 x 180.3 cm
Portland Art Museum, Oregon. Museum Purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund, 59.16
Photo (c) Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon

www.royalacademy.org.uk

Rubens and His Legacy

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne, Main Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 10th April 2015    

Peter Paul Rubens The Triumph of Henri IV, 1630 Oil on panel, 49.5 x 83.5 cm Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1942 (42.187) Photo c. 2013. Image copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence

Peter Paul Rubens
The Triumph of Henri IV, 1630
Oil on panel, 49.5 x 83.5 cm
Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1942 (42.187)
Photo c. 2013. Image copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence

For anyone intending to visit this glorious exhibition the keyword is legacy.

Jean-Antoine Watteau La Surprise: A Couple Embracing While a Figure Dressed as mezzetin Tunes a Guitar, 1718-19 Oil on panel, 36.3 x 28.2 cm Private Collection Photo: Private Collection

Jean-Antoine Watteau
La Surprise: A Couple Embracing While a Figure Dressed as mezzetin Tunes a Guitar, 1718-19
Oil on panel, 36.3 x 28.2 cm
Private Collection
Photo: Private Collection

Rubens was a highly accomplished artist whose works cover many themesPoetry, Elegance, Power, Lust, Compassion and Violence and while this exhibition offers fine examples of the master’s hand on these subjects it concentrates on successive generations and schools of artists whose works were inspired and influenced by him. Thus you will encounter Turner and Constable, Watteau and Fragonard, Delacroix and Cézanne and many other artists along the way.

Peter Paul Rubens Pan and Syrinx, 1617 Oil on panel, 40 x 61 cm Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel Photo: Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister/Ute Brunzel

Peter Paul Rubens
Pan and Syrinx, 1617
Oil on panel, 40 x 61 cm
Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
Photo: Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister/Ute Brunzel

As the exhibitions curator, Dr Nico Van Hout, says, “It is no coincidence that Delacroix, Vigée-Lebrun, Reynolds and Renoir devoted fascinating discourses, journal entries and letters on the virtuosity and confidence of Rubens’ brushwork, as many artists were trained by seriously studying his altarpieces, allegories, portraits and landscapes. Each artist focused on different aspects of his oeuvre and the works in this exhibition show the great variety of this impact: they include exact copies, creative copies, pastiches and quotations to works that only echo Rubens’ style. Only the best artists were able to translate Rubens’ visual language into a personal idiom and we are delighted to bring together such a rich selection of works to showcase the ongoing strength of Rubens’ legacy throughout the past three centuries.”

Paul Cezanne Three Bathers, c. 1875 Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 33 cm Private Collection Photo: Ali Elai, Camerarts

Paul Cezanne
Three Bathers, c. 1875
Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 33 cm
Private Collection
Photo: Ali Elai, Camerarts

One could suggest that perhaps a few more works by Rubens would have been better or wonder why some of the pictures were chosen as being influenced by him but in the end it does not really matter for the aim of showing how great the legacy of Rubens is addressed with verve and success.

Eugene Delacroix Crucifixion, 1846 Oil on panel, 37 x 25 cm Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam/Photographer: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

Eugene Delacroix
Crucifixion, 1846
Oil on panel, 37 x 25 cm
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam/Photographer: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam

www.royalacademy.org.uk

Peter Paul Rubens Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt, 1616 Oil on canvas, 256 x 324.5 cm Rennes, Musee des Beaux Arts Photo c. MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Adelaide Beaudoin

Peter Paul Rubens
Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt, 1616
Oil on canvas, 256 x 324.5 cm
Rennes, Musee des Beaux Arts
Photo c. MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Adelaide Beaudoin