Paintingrss

‘Wrestlers’, 1914, by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska at Kettle's Yard reviewed: he's got rhythm

2 May 2015
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: Art, Dance and Movement in London 1911–1915 Kettle’s Yard

One evening before the first world war, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, fired by drink, tried out such then-fashionable dances as the cakewalk and the tango, ‘his eyes burning — his hair wild’.… Read more

Forces of nature: Maggi Hambling with ‘Amy Winehouse’, a painting exhibited at her Walls of Water show last year

‘This stuff goes on being alive’: Maggi Hambling on the power of painting

18 April 2015

Maggi Hambling is 70 later this year, and a career that took off when she was appointed the first artist in residence at the National Gallery, in 1980, shows no… Read more

‘Propeller (Air Pavilion)’, 1937

Better than Robert? Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern reviewed

18 April 2015
The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay Tate Modern

In 1978, shortly before she died, the artist Sonia Delaunay was asked in an interview whether she considered herself a feminist. ‘No! I despise the word!’ she replied. ‘I never… Read more

‘The Giantess’ by Leonora Carrington, currently on show at Tate Liverpool

A mad menage — and menagerie - in Mexico: the life of Leonora Carrington in fictional form

28 March 2015
Leonora: A Novel Elena Poniatowska

Serpent’s Tail, pp.455, £12.99, ISBN: 9781846688553

Leonora Carrington is one of those jack-in-the-boxes who languish forgotten in the cultural toy cupboard and then pop up every few years to a small flurry of excitement. Born in… Read more

‘Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington’, 1829, by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Wellington's PR machine

28 March 2015
Wellington: Triumphs, Politics & Passions National Portrait Gallery

The history of portraiture is festooned with images of sitters overwhelmed by dress, setting and the accoutrements of worldly success. Vanity, complacency and, frequently, insecurity have led men and women… Read more

Richard Diebenkorn 'Berkeley #5' (1953) . Copyright:
The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy reviewed: among the best visual evocations of LA there are

21 March 2015
Richard Diebenkorn Royal Academy

It is true that, like wine, certain artists don’t travel. Richard Diebenkorn, subject of the spring exhibition in the Royal Academy’s Sackler Wing, is a case in point: an American… Read more

Left: ‘Dream of a good witch’, c.1819–23, by Goya Right: ‘Bajan niñendo (They descend quarrelling)’, c.1819–23, by Goya

Flying witches, mad old men, cannibals: what was going on in Goya’s head?

14 March 2015
Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album Courtauld Gallery
Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue Serpentine Gallery

It is not impossible to create good art that makes a political point, just highly unusual. Goya’s ‘Third of May’ is the supreme example of how to pull it off.… Read more

Camille Pissarro
The Avenue, Sydenham, 1871.
© The National Gallery, London

Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery reviewed: a mixed bag of sometimes magnificent paintings

7 March 2015
Inventing Impressionism National Gallery

When it was suggested that a huge exhibition of Impressionist paintings should be held in London, Claude Monet had his doubts. Staging such an exhibition, he wrote to his dealer… Read more

‘Two Figures in a Room’, 1959, by Francis Bacon

The dos and don’ts of the Russian art scene

28 February 2015

They’re doing fantastic deals on five-star hotels in St Petersburg the weekend the Francis Bacon exhibition opens at the Hermitage. With tensions between Russia and the west at their highest… Read more

‘Group with Parasols’, c.1904, by John Singer Sargent

Sargent, National Portrait Gallery, review: he was so good he should have been better

21 February 2015
Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends National Portrait Gallery
Sir Jacob Epstein: Babies and Bloomsbury Foundling Museum

The artist Malcolm Morley once fantasised about a magazine that would be devoted to the practice of painting just as some publications are to — say — cricket. It would… Read more

Van Gogh's 'The Diggers' (1889). Credit: Collectie Stedelijk

Where Van Gogh learned to paint

14 February 2015

In December 1878 Vincent Van Gogh arrived in the Borinage, a bleak coal- mining district near Mons. He was 25 years old. He’d failed to become an art dealer. He’d… Read more

The Widow (2013) by Marlene Dumas. Photo: Peter Cox/Tate Modern.

Marlene Dumas at Tate Modern reviewed: 'remarkable'

7 February 2015
Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden Tate Modern

‘Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting,’ Henri Matisse once advised, ‘should begin by cutting out his own tongue.’ Marlene Dumas — whose work is the subject of a big… Read more

Helio Oiticica's Metaesquema (1958) and Kazimir Malevich Black and White Suprematist Composition (1915)

Geometry in the 20th and 21st centuries was adventurous - and apocalyptic

17 January 2015
Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015 Whitechapel Gallery

Almost a decade ago, David Cameron informed Tony Blair, unkindly but accurately, ‘You were the future once.’ A visitor to the Whitechapel Gallery’s exhibition, Adventures of the Black Square, might… Read more

‘The Spectators’, 1947 and 'Woman with the birdcage' by Robert Colquhoun

The tragic tale of the Two Roberts is a story of two artists cut off in their prime

10 January 2015
The Two Roberts: Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

In 1933, two new students met on their first day at Glasgow School of Art. From then on they were inseparable. They lived and worked together. They became lovers. They… Read more

‘Woman at Her Toilette’, 1875/80, by Berthe Morisot

2015 in exhibitions - painting still rules

3 January 2015

The New Year is a time for reflections as well as resolutions. So here is one of mine. In the art world, media and fashions come and go, but often… Read more

‘The Census at Bethlehem’, 1566, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Climate change, Bruegel-style

13 December 2014

It is cold, but not in a cheery, robin-redbreast kind of way. The sky is slate blue; the sun, a red ball, is slipping below the horizon, figures carrying heavy… Read more

‘Melting Snow at Wormingford’, 1962, by John Nash

Snow - art’s biggest challenge

13 December 2014

In owning a flock of artificial sheep, Joseph Farquharson must have been unusual among Highland lairds a century ago. His Aberdeenshire estate covered 20,000 acres — surely enough to support… Read more

‘North Cape’, probably 1840s, by Peder Balke

We must never again let this 19th century Norwegian master slip into oblivion

6 December 2014
Peder Balke National Gallery

You won’t have heard of Peder Balke. Yet this long-neglected painter from 19th-century Norway is now the subject of a solo show at the National Gallery. And it’s an absolute… Read more

‘Chair’, 1969, by Allen Jones, which had acid thrown on it in 1986

Does Allen Jones deserve a retrospective at the Royal Academy?

29 November 2014
Allen Jones RA Royal Academy

It has been a vintage season for mannequins. At the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, an exhibition called Silent Partners looks at the relationship between artist and mannequin, from function to… Read more

David Hockney at work in his studio, c.1967

David Hockney interview: ‘The avant-garde have lost their authority’

22 November 2014

‘I just stay here and do my thing,’ David Hockney told me soon after I arrived at his house and studio in Los Angeles this August. ‘I’m not that interested… Read more

‘Gian Girolamo Albani’, c.1570, by Giovanni Battista Moroni

Without a model, Moroni could be stunningly dull. With one, he was peerless...

15 November 2014
Giovanni Battista Moroni Royal Academy

Giovanni Battista Moroni, wrote Bernard Berenson, was ‘the only mere portrait painter that Italy has ever produced’. Indeed, Berenson continued, warming to his theme, ‘even in later times, and in… Read more

‘Before the Mirror’, 1913, by Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele at the Courtauld: a one-note samba of spindly limbs, nipples and pudenda

8 November 2014
Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude Courtauld Gallery

One day, as a student — or so the story goes — Egon Schiele called on Gustav Klimt, a celebrated older artist, and showed him a portfolio of drawings with… Read more

‘Hat Stand’, 1969, one of a group of three sculptures that caused controversy early on in the artist’s career

The pop artist whose transgressions went too far – for the PC art world

1 November 2014

Allen Jones (born 1937) has been demonised. In 1969 he made a group of three sculptures of scantily-clad female figures. They were slightly larger than life and arranged in positions… Read more

Timothy-Spall-as-Mr-Turner

Mr Turner: the gruntiest, snortiest, huffiest film of the year - and the most beautiful too

1 November 2014
Mr Turner 12A, Nationwide

Mr Turner may be the gruntiest film of the year, possibly the gruntiest film ever. ‘Grunt, grunt, grunt,’ goes Mr Turner (Timothy Spall) as he sketches, paints, gropes his housekeeper,… Read more

Finding his feet: ‘Untitled (man and two women in a pastoral setting)’, 1940

How Rothko become the mythic superman of mystical abstraction

1 November 2014
Mark Rothko Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Mark Rothko was an abstract artist who didn’t see himself as an abstract artist — or at least not in any ‘formalist’ sense. If a critic called him a ‘colourist’,… Read more