There are just 26 drawings and watercolours in the magnificent exhibition at Lowell Libson, but they are all of such quality and interest that the show is a feast of connoisseurship and visual delight.
The resident ravens of the Tower of London seem to croak a little louder these days. A few yards from their gathering spot, a golden eagle, traditional symbol of power and kingship, perches on a military standard, keeping watch. It is one of several exhibits on display at the newly refurbished Fusilier Museum in the Tower of London.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), diminutive aristocrat and radical artist, was roundly travestied in John Huston’s 1952 film Moulin Rouge, and at once entered the popular imagination as an atrociously romanticised figure doomed for early death.
This year, the sequence of galleries has been subtly altered, and for a change we enter the fabled Summer Exhibition (sponsored by Insight Investment) through the Octagon rather than Gallery 1.
‘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.
In the Mellon Gallery of the Fitzwilliam is an unashamedly rich and demanding exhibition of Italian drawings, ranging from the 15th to the 20th century.
Cleanliness was nowhere near godliness in 17th-century Europe — except in Delft, where God came second.
William Cook takes refuge from the modern world at an exhibition of the artist’s paintings of his beloved Salisbury
Over the years Chris Beetles must have made the pencil-wielding fingers of Quentin Blake and Ronald Searle itch with a desire to draw him.
Beauty is generally considered old-fashioned by the young and not-so-young bloods of contemporary culture, so an exhibition appealing unashamedly to the aesthetically refined will not seduce the practitioners of sensationalism, bad taste and ever more self-indulgent and feeble art.
As newspapers are consulted increasingly on screen, and newsprint is all set to become a thing of the past, artists are turning their attention to this endangered medium. The Irish Expressionist painter Michael Kane (born 1935) has produced a provocative series of 100 paintings in ink, acrylic paint and collage, done on newsprint magazine pages taken mostly from the Irish Times (see above).
Foundling Voices at the Foundling Museum in London’s Bloomsbury (until 30 October) is the fruit of an oral history project that recorded the memories of 74 men and women (the youngest is now 68, the oldest 98) born to unmarried mothers who were placed as babies in the care of the Foundling Hospital Schools in the first half of the 20th century.
Lorenzo Lotto’s portraits alone should have secured him a place in history as a major Renaissance painter.
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, 31, and his brother Martial, 26, were exactly the sort of children of the Second Empire for whom these new Parisian mansion blocks had been built.
From across Margate Bay, the prickly silhouette of the new Turner Contemporary art gallery points towards the sea like prows of departing cruise liners.
Joan Miró (1893–1983) was a great imaginative artist and a pure painter of genius.
There were two John Tradescants, father and son, operating in the 17th century as travellers and gardeners from a base in south London.
At the beginning of Richard Ingrams’s book on John Piper (1903–92), he quotes the artist as saying: ‘The basic and unexplainable thing about my paintings is a feeling for places.
So far, 2011 has been a good year for drawing. The great Pre-Raphaelite drawings show at Birmingham is still fresh in my mind as I write this review of a superb Watteau exhibition at the Royal Academy (supported by Region Holdings) and a select survey of Victorian drawings and watercolours at the Courtauld. Watercolours are often described as a form of drawing, though they are in fact made with paint. So they occupy a hybrid category, allowing rather too great a laxity of definition, as can be seen in the Tate’s current watercolour compendium. But there is no uncertainty about the Academy’s show: this is all drawings, and of a very high quality indeed.
The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) takes place in Maastricht, Netherlands, every year. It showcases the finest examples that the most prestigious commercial galleries of the international art world have to offer — from ancient to contemporary art and design.
Three exhibitions in East Anglia serve to remind us that museums and galleries outside London continue to programme stimulating events. At Norwich Castle is an excellent survey of British art from the beginning of the first world war to the end of the second — a time of great richness and considerable innovation. There’s so much of interest and value here that it’s difficult to decide what to mention and what to leave out.
Since pluralism in the arts became the order of the day, categories have been bursting at the seams, and the old definitions have lost validity.
First, a note about naming. The artist here presented as Jan Gossaert (c.1478–1532) was formerly known as Jan Mabuse, so designated after the Walloon town he came from — Maubeuge in Hainaut.
Over the past month I’ve strolled through Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie to examine Edouard Manet’s ‘In the Conservatory’ in close detail.
According to Athenaeus of Naucratis, the 2nd-century AD author of The Sophists’ Banquet, the ancient Sybarites kept the capital of their city-state in southern Italy supplied with wine through a network of ‘vinoducts’ that reached far out into the surrounding countryside.