Andrew Lambirth rss

‘Paul Newman’, 1964, by Dennis Hopper

Had Hollywood not lured him away, Dennis Hopper could have made his name as a photographer

19 July 2014
Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album Royal Academy, Burlington Gardens
Radical Geometry Royal Academy

In an age when photographs have swollen out of all proportion to their significance, and are mounted on wall-sized light boxes the better to show off their high-resolution colour, it’s… Read more

‘Hawk Pouncing on Partridges’, c.1827, by John James Audubon

Painted, sculpted and stuffed: a history of the bird in art

12 July 2014
The Wonder of Birds Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

These days, as the sparrows and starlings so common in my youth are growing scarce, there’s less need for a rarity like the osprey or butcher bird (the red-backed shrike)… Read more

‘After the Bath (Le repos après bain)’, 1897, by Edgar Degas, at Stephen Ongpin

Charles Hadcock – taking on the age of speculation with sculpture in the City

5 July 2014
Charles Hadcock: Elements 60 Threadneedle Street, EC2
The Art of Pastel Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, 6 Mason’s Yard, Duke Street, SW1
Phillip King Thomas Dane Gallery, 3 & 11 Duke Street, SW1

As the boundary between auction house and art dealer blurs yet further, with auctioneers acting increasingly by private treaty as well as taking over commercial galleries, and as West End… Read more

‘Tondo the Winged Hours of the Seabirds’ by Keith Grant

Oceans and forests in kaleidoscopic flow – discovering Keith Grant

28 June 2014
Keith Grant Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, St James’s, SW1

For decades I’ve been aware of the work of Keith Grant (born 1930), but it is only in recent years that I have come to know it at all well.… Read more

Inspired and springing draughtsmanship: ‘Femme dans la nuit’, 18 April 1945, by Jean Miró

The painter who channelled the forces of gravity

21 June 2014
The Last Waltz: New Work by an Old Man Hastings Arts Forum, 36 Marina, St Leonards-on-Sea
Chillida on Miró Ordovas, 25 Savile Row, W1

Tragically, Ian Welsh (1944–2014) did not live to see this exhibition of his latest work. Diagnosed with terminal cancer on the eve of his 70th birthday, he struggled to finish… Read more

‘Prince Pig’s Courtship’ by Paula Rego

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition offers up the good, the bad and the ugly – and a sore neck

14 June 2014
Summer Exhibition Royal Academy

One of the great traditions of the RA’s Summer Exhibition has always been that each work submitted was seen in person by the Hanging Committee, passed in front of their… Read more

‘Coventry Cathedral’, 1940, by John Piper

Kenneth Clark wasn’t happy simply popularising art, he liked to collect it and shape it too

7 June 2014
Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation Tate Britain

Earlier this year, I sat down and watched Kenneth Clark’s groundbreaking TV series Civilisation. I vaguely remember when it was first screened in 1969, but was too young to appreciate… Read more

‘Stranger III’, 1959, by Lynn Chadwick

Can Lynn Chadwick finally escape the 1950?

31 May 2014
Lynn Chadwick: A Centenary Exhibition Osborne Samuel, 23a Bruton Street, W1
Lynn Chadwick: Retrospectives Blain|Southern, 4 Hanover Square, W1

Lynn Chadwick was born 100 years ago in London, and died in 2003 at his Gloucestershire home, Lypiatt Park, where he is buried in the Pinetum. He was one of… Read more

‘Steps’, 1931, by Josef Albers

Josef Albers: roaring diagonals and paradisiacal squares

24 May 2014
Josef Albers: Black and White Waddington Custot Galleries, 11 Cork Street, W1

Josef Albers (1888–1976) is best known for his long engagement with the square, which he painted in exquisite variation more than a thousand times. A German–American painter, he trained in… Read more

‘Stratford St Mary’, 2012, by Justin Partyka

A photographer sheds new light on Constable Country

17 May 2014

The phrase ‘Constable Country’ summons up a quintessentially English landscape: river and meadows, open vistas bordered by trees, the greens and golds of cultivated acres, with the wide (and often… Read more

‘Composition With Fish’ by Jankel Adler, on show at Goldmark Gallery

The hidden, overlooked and undervalued: Andrew Lambirth’s spring roundup

10 May 2014

Jankel Adler (1895–1949), a Polish Jew who arrived in Glasgow in 1941, was invalided out of the Polish army, and moved to London two years later. A distinguished artist in… Read more

‘Herring Fisher’s Goodbye’, 1928, by Christopher Wood

A fresh perspective on reassuringly familiar artists

3 May 2014
Art and Life: 1920–1931: Ben Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Alfred Wallis & William Staite Murray Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

This exhibition examines a loosely knit community of artists and their interaction over a decade at the beginning of the last century. It is centred around the marriage of Ben… Read more

‘Icarus’, 1943, by Henri Matisse, maquette for plate VIII of ‘Jazz’, 1947

The Matisse Cut-Outs is a show of true magnificence

26 April 2014
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs Tate Modern

Artists who live long enough to enjoy a late period of working will often produce art that is radically different from the achievements of the rest of their careers. Late… Read more

‘Livia da Porto Thiene and her daughter Deidamia’, 1552, by Veronese

The National Gallery's Veronese is the exhibition of a lifetime

19 April 2014

Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) is one of the great painters of the Venetian School, often joined in an unholy trinity with Titian and Tintoretto. But he was not Venetian, and only… Read more

Design by William Kent for a cascade at Chatsworth, c.1735–40; below, the Bute epergne, 1756, by Thomas Heming, designed by Kent

William Kent was an ideas man - the Damien Hirst of the 18th century

12 April 2014
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain Victoria and Albert Museum

How important is William Kent (1685–1748)? He’s not exactly a household name and yet this English painter and architect, apprenticed to a Hull coach-painter before he was sent to Italy… Read more

Mysteriously ravishing: ‘Santo Spirito’, 2013, by Arturo Di Stefano

It’s the whisper you’ve got to listen for in Arturo Di Stefano’s paintings

5 April 2014
Arturo Di Stefano: Fat Over Lean Purdy Hicks Gallery, 65 Hopton Street, SE1

One of the paintings in Arturo Di Stefano’s impressive new show at Purdy Hicks Gallery is called ‘Santa Croce’ and it depicts the arcaded cloister of the church in Florence… Read more

Eric Kennington's Gassed and Wounded

The great and the good and the gassed and the dead

29 March 2014
The Great War in Portraits National Portrait Gallery
Luke Elwes Adam Gallery, 67 Mortimer Street, W1 | John Street, Bath

Last week, three exhibitions celebrating the art of Germany; this week, a show commemorating the first world war fought against that great nation. In this centenary year of the beginning… Read more

‘Hercules Killing Cacus’, 1588, by Hendrik Goltzius

Upside down and right on top: the power of George Baselitz

22 March 2014
Germany Divided: Baselitz and His Generation British Museum
Renaissance Impressions: Chiaroscuro Woodcuts Royal Academy
Strange Beauty: Masters of the German Renaissance National Gallery

It’s German Season in London, and revealingly the best of three new shows is the one dealing with the most modern period: the post-second world war era of East and… Read more

'Fold’, 2012, by Richard Deacon

Richard Deacon – from Meccano into art

15 March 2014
Richard Deacon Tate Britain
Richard Hamilton Tate Modern

When I visited the Richard Deacon exhibition at Tate Millbank, there were quite a lot of single men of a certain age studying the exhibits with rapt attention — some… Read more

The Vale of York hoard, 900s.

The British Museum's Vikings: part provincial exhibit, part gripping drama

8 March 2014
Vikings: Life and Legend British Museum

Exhibitions are made for two main reasons: education and entertainment. Although I recognise the importance of education I am, by nature, a devotee of pleasure and want people to enjoy… Read more

‘Poet’s Head — O Singing God’ by Mark Shields

'At last I wasn't worried about making pictures': an interview with Mark Shields

1 March 2014

Mark Shields is a painter of considerable versatility and skill who is unable to rest on his laurels. Born in 1963 in Northern Ireland, where he still lives, he developed… Read more

‘Rhianan’, 2009, by John Kiki

Four artists you ought to know — and a famous one you can know better

22 February 2014
Liam Hanley: Land Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, SW3
Gauguin: Tales of Paradise Ordovas, 25 Savile Row, W1
James Turrell Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1
Brian Rice: Early Works 1959–70 Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street, W1
John Kiki: Myths and Goddesses Art Space Gallery, 84 St Peter’s Street, N1

In this round-up of exhibitions in London’s commercial galleries, I feature three shows of little-known but mature contemporary British artists. There is a great deal of interesting and worthwhile art… Read more

Vanitas’, mid-1650, by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

'Castiglione: Lost Genius' loses his genius in a sea of brown

15 February 2014
Castiglione: Lost Genius; Gifted: From the Royal Academy to the Queen The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
Gainsborough & the Landscape of Refinement Lowell Libson Ltd, 3 Clifford Street, W1

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609–64) was, I must admit, unknown to me until I visited this show, the only Castiglione I was properly aware of being the one who wrote The… Read more

Magnificent: ‘Ghetto Theatre’, 1920, by David Bomberg

'Uproar!' The Ben Uri gallery punches above its weight

8 February 2014
‘Uproar!’ The First 50 Years of the London Group 1913–63 Ben Uri Gallery, 108a Boundary Road, NW8

Last year saw the centenary of the London Group, a broad-based exhibiting body set up in a time of stylistic ferment in the art world as an independent alternative to… Read more

‘Red and Yellow Landscape’, 1945, by John Craxton

John Craxton was more gifted than the Fitzwilliam show suggests

1 February 2014
John Craxton: A World of Private Mystery The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

It is often said of John Craxton (1922–2009) that he knew how to live well and considered this more important than art. Perhaps there is a certain truth in this,… Read more