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Laura Gascoigne rss

‘Le Port au chemin de fer à Honfleur’, 1866, by Johan Barthold Jongkind

Who knew that Cézanne had a sense of humour?

1 March 2014
Impressionist Works from Private Collections, 100 Masterpieces Musée Marmottan Monet

Tourists are attracted to queues, art lovers to quietude. So while the mass of Monet fans visiting Paris line up outside the Musée d’Orsay and the Orangerie, connoisseurs head to… Read more

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Do critics make good artists? Come and judge ours

1 March 2014

Artists make good critics, but do critics make good artists? It’s hard to tell, when most are too chicken to try. For over 20 years, Spectator critic Andrew Lambirth has… Read more

‘Map Reading’, by Stanley Spencer, at Sandham Memorial Chapel

When soldiers have golden helmets and the wounded have wings

14 December 2013
Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War Somerset House

‘If I go to war, I go on condition I can have Giotto, the Basilica of Assisi book, Fra Angelico in one pocket, and Masaccio, Masolino and Giorgione in the… Read more

‘The Deluge’, c.1840, by Francis Danby

'Squiggle, squiggle, ooh, good...' Tate St Ives shows how sexy the octopus can be

23 November 2013
Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep Tate St Ives

One of the more exotic attractions at the 1939–40 World’s Fair in New York was Salvador Dalí’s ‘Dream of Venus Pavilion’, which behind its surreal façade — an architectural marriage… Read more

‘Path bordered with willows near Bethune’, 1874, by Camille Corot

The master of living, breathing landscapes

26 October 2013
Corot in the Light of the North Musée de la Chartreuse de Douai

One sometimes forgets when looking at French 19th-century art that the painting revolution that produced Impressionism coincided with a political one. This is because most French painters, Delacroix and Manet… Read more

St Ives School influence: ‘Paddle Steamer’, 1986, by Julian Trevelyan

Julian Trevelyan, a Jekyll and Hyde painter, at the Bohun Gallery

18 May 2013
Julian Trevelyan: Picture Language Bohun Gallery, Henley

Between 1917 and 1923, Julian Trevelyan produced a map and an illustrated guide to Hurtenham, an industrial town on the Tees between Stockton and Darlington. You’ll search in vain for… Read more

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The two sides of painter Joan Eardley

4 May 2013

There were two Joan Eardleys, according to a new biography of the Scottish painter by Christopher Andreae. There was ‘the tender and gentle Joan’, as revealed by her bosom friend… Read more

Modesty intact: ‘Gypsy’, 1911, by Kees van Dongen

Free spirits

16 March 2013
Bohemian Lights: Artists, Gypsies and the Definitition of the Modern World Fundación MAPFRE Madrid

‘Gypsies seem to have been born into the world for the sole purpose of being thieves,’ Cervantes begins his story of The Little Gypsy Girl. ‘They are born of thieving… Read more

‘Plant Spirit’ by Kate Walters

New dawn for Newlyn School

29 December 2012

‘The street scenes in Newlyn lack nothing of subject for the painter,’ reported the young Frank Richards from the Cornish art colony in 1895; ‘paved with cobblestone, some of the… Read more

‘Kabakov’, 1996, by Dmitri Prigov

Imperialist ambitions

8 December 2012
State Hermitage St Petersburg

In 1997, the Russian Academy of Sciences gave the names Hermitage 4758 and Piotrovsky 4869 to two small planets discovered 500 million kilometres from earth. The signal honour paid to… Read more

‘Negative-positive’, 1950–87, by Bruno Munari

Keeping the faith

24 November 2012
Bruno Munari: My Futurist Past Estorick Collection

In 1929 the founder of Italian Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, reported from Milan that, after a wartime setback, the movement was ‘in full working order’ under the leadership of ‘the… Read more

Under construction: ‘The Tower of Babel’ by Hendrick van Cleve

Bizarre visions

20 October 2012
Flemish Landscape Fables: Bosch, Brueghel, Bles, Bril Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

If you want to see how myths arise from misunderstandings, the Tower of Babel provides a textbook example. In ancient Assyrian babilu means ‘door of God’ and thus correctly describes… Read more

Pottery musician, 2nd century BC, Western Han dynasty, unearthed from Tuoloanshan King of Chu tomb in 1989

A civilised way of death

15 September 2012
The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China Fitzwilliam Museum

‘Luxury high-rise duplex: lower floor comprising entrance hall with recessed guard posts, grand reception area, kitchen with crockery store, larders and walk-in fridge, armoury and staff WC; upper floor comprising… Read more

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Madrid’s golden triangle

30 June 2012

Under the statue of Charles III in the Puerta del Sol a hellfire preacher is competing for custom with a mariachi band. ‘Porque la paga del pecado es muerte!’ he… Read more

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A most eccentric master

19 May 2012

In 1895 the Spanish art collector John Charles Robinson donated a picture to the National Gallery. ‘On the whole I think it is very much above the average of this… Read more

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Down but not out

3 March 2012

It’s not every J.D. Wetherspoon’s pub that has a preservation order slapped on it. In fact, I’m prepared to bet there’s only one: The Trafalgar in Portsmouth, Grade II-listed in… Read more

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Adventurous rogue

26 November 2011

Historically, British artists have not been good at money management. George Morland (1762–1804) was chronically insolvent; Benjamin Haydon (1786–1846) served four jail terms for debt and eventually killed himself after… Read more

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Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer

22 October 2011

Photographs of roadworks feature regularly in the Hampstead Village Voice but, even with the postmodern fashion for grungy subjects, no contemporary residents have made paintings of them. Yet that, astonishingly,… Read more

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‘An obsolete romantic’

24 September 2011

In 1982 Sven Berlin placed a sealed wallet labelled ‘Testament’ on top of a rafter in his studio with instructions for it not to be opened before his 100th birthday… Read more

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In Monet’s garden

6 August 2011

We owe Giverny to the generosity of Americans Whoever coined the famous aphorism ‘When good Americans die, they go to Paris’ didn’t tell the full story. For American plein-air painters,… Read more

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Identity crisis

11 June 2011

Laura Gascoigne on how the Venice Biennale is searching for its place in art history Picture one of the world’s largest private yachts moored at the quayside of the Riva… Read more

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Call of the wild

4 June 2011

‘Not something I’d want on my wall,’ said an English lady visitor to Antwerp’s Rockox House, standing in front of a painting of wolves attacking cattle. ‘Not something I’d want… Read more

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Parisian perspectives

14 May 2011

In 1879, two young brothers moved into a new fifth-floor apartment at no. 31 Boulevard Haussmann, overlooking the Opéra. Flush with inheritances from their father’s army bunk business, Gustave Caillebotte,… Read more

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21st-century floating world

5 March 2011

It’s an irony of Western art that our vision of modern metropolitan life was shaped, via Impressionism, by ukiyo-e prints — ‘pictures of the floating world’ of Edo, Japan. It’s… Read more

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At the heart of Europe

27 November 2010

The historic centre of Bruges has 16 museums, enough to cater for every touristic taste. There’s a Diamond Museum, a Lace Centre, a Choco-Story (the narrative element distinguishes it from… Read more