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Painting

‘Futurist Motif’, 1920, by Gerardo Dottori

Futurism’s escape to the country

23 August 2014
Gerardo Dottori: The Futurist View Estorick Collection

Futurism, with its populist mix of explosive rhetoric (burn all the museums!) and resolutely urban experience and emphasis on speed, was a force to be reckoned with (at least in… Read more

Who’s in, who’s out: George Bernard O’Neill’s ‘Public Opinion’ depicts a private view of the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy

The age of the starving artist

26 July 2014
A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain James Hamilton

Atlantic Books, pp.400, £25, ISBN: 9781848879249

What remains of art is art, of course; and what chiefly interests us is the creative talents of a painter or a sculptor. What we forget is that the work… Read more

How can I train my brother to not eat like a pig?

26 July 2014

Q. I live far away from my brother and his family, but went to stay with them recently for the first time in many years. Having supper was like eating… Read more

Della Francesca’s ‘Resurrection’

The mathematical revolution behind ‘the greatest picture in the world’

19 April 2014

It seems odd to enter a room dominated by what Aldous Huxley famously called ‘the greatest picture in the world’ to find not another soul there. Looking down from an… 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

The Hunters in the Snow, 1565, by Pieter Brueghel Photo: De Agostini/Getty

A spirit to warm Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the Snow’

15 February 2014

The ostensible subject matter is misleading, as is any conflation with his lesser relatives’ wassailing peasants and roistering village squares. But Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s work is profoundly serious. It… Read more

‘Artist’s Studio “Look Mickey”’, 1973, by Roy Lichtenstein

How Roy Lichtenstein became weighed down with superficiality

9 March 2013

On both sides of the Atlantic there are still heated debates about who invented Pop Art, the Americans or the British, but it seems much more probable that concurrently each… Read more

Ominously unstable elements of ocean and atmosphere: ‘Turning Vessel’ by Peter Archer

Peter Archer — Notes from an Inland Sea

9 March 2013
Peter Archer — Notes from an Inland Sea Art Space Gallery, 84 St Peter’s Street, London N1

Peter Archer used to paint landscapes on the Cornish side of the Tamar river. Their most notable features were lovingly observed trees and the tall chimneys of abandoned tin mines.… Read more

‘The Badminton Game’ 1972–3, by David Inshaw

David Inshaw: the great romantic

2 March 2013

David Inshaw will celebrate his 70th birthday on 21 March, around the time of the spring equinox. On the eve of this grand climacteric, which will be marked by an… Read more

‘Moi et le village’, 1911, by Marc Chagall

Wandering eye

2 March 2013
Chagall — Modern Master Kunsthaus Zürich

‘When Matisse dies,’ declared Picasso, ‘Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.’ Wandering around this splendid show you can see exactly what he meant.… Read more

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Oh brother!

17 December 2011
Van Gogh: The Life Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

Profile Books, pp.953, 30

Long in the writing, deep in research, heavy to hold, this is the latest of umpteen biographies of Vincent van Gogh (1853-90). But it should be said straightaway that it… Read more

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William Nicholson: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings by Patricia Reed

5 November 2011
William Nicholson: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings Patricia Reed

Modern Art Press/ Yale University Press,, pp.672, 95

A pleasingly tactile canvas-like cover adorns this heavy book and proclaims its purpose; the boldly brushed illustration is a detail from ‘Mauve Primulas on a Table’ painted in January 1928… Read more

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A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford

29 October 2011
A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney Martin Gayford

Thames & Hudson, pp.248, 18.95

Like his contemporary and fellow Yorkshireman, Alan Bennett, whom he slightly resembles physically, David Hockney has been loved and admired throughout his lifetime. He painted one of his greatest works,… Read more

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The English El Greco

25 June 2011
John Craxton Ian Collins, with an introduction by David Attenborough

Lund Humphries, pp.184, 35

Talk about ‘enemies of promise’. Talk about ‘enemies of promise’. In the March 1942 number of Horizon magazine there appeared what could be a heartfelt illustration of the whinger’s conceit… Read more

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Enlightened patronage

12 February 2011

Alberto Della Ragione (1892–1973) was a naval engineer from Genoa with a passion for music, poetry and the visual arts; he also had the collecting bug. Alberto Della Ragione (1892–1973)… Read more

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Death watch

8 January 2011

Although I stopped watching TV some years ago, films are a continuing solace and pleasure. Among the Christmas treats was a previously unseen Jack Nicholson movie, entitled The Bucket List.… Read more

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A Cumberland legend

8 January 2011
Sheila Fell Cate Haste

Lund Humphries, pp.136, 35

The legend of the glamorous artist Sheila Fell (1931–79), with her striking looks — black hair, white skin, large eyes — who died young, has tended to obscure the real… Read more

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A look ahead

18 December 2010

The trend of fewer temporary exhibitions in our museums is becoming established, as the cost of mounting blockbusters escalates beyond even the generous reach of sponsorship. This is in sharp… Read more

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Intimations of infinity

18 December 2010

Andrew Lambirth finds a striking metaphor for the physical limitations of earthbound existence versus the infinite freedom of the spirit in Paul Nash’s painting ‘Winter Sea’ Paul Nash is one… Read more

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Exhibitions Round-up: lifting the heart

11 December 2010

The run-up to Christmas is the perfect season for an exhibition of Andrew Logan’s joyful and extravagant art. The run-up to Christmas is the perfect season for an exhibition of… Read more

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Forget the matchstick men

4 December 2010
L.S. Lowry: The Art and Artists T.G> Rosenthal

Unicorn Press, pp.320, 40

Here at last is a book that takes L. S. Lowry’s art seriously and treats it with the scholarly attention it deserves. Here at last is a book that takes… Read more

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Light relief

4 December 2010

The so-called Glasgow Boys had no manifesto, common background or style, apart from working in and around the city of Glasgow and sharing a belief in the importance of painting… Read more

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On the charm offensive

27 November 2010
Derek Hill Bruce Arnold

Quartet, pp.448, 35

Derek Hill (1916–2000), writes Bruce Arnold, was an English representational landscape and portrait painter of ‘haunting and evocative creative spirituality that is perhaps indefinable’. Derek Hill (1916–2000), writes Bruce Arnold,… Read more

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The folly of ambition

27 November 2010

Andrew Lambirth talks to the artist Keith Coventry about drawing inspiration from Sickert, Churchill and Ladybird Books Keith Coventry has no time to visit the two lap-dancing clubs that lurk… Read more

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Small blessings

20 November 2010

As I pointed out last week, one of the chief attractions of the Treasures from Budapest show at the Royal Academy is the inclusion of two rooms of Old Master… Read more