The Royal Academy’s retrospective exhibition The Art of Philip Guston: 1913–1980 (until 12 April) comprises some 80 paintings and drawings dating from 1930 to 1980, by one of America’s most original 20th-century painters. It’s not easy to look at, being in turn demanding, forbidding, horrific and beautiful, but it’s certainly real, and as an intensely moving human document it deserves to be seen.
A few weeks ago executives were endeavouring to bring home to Conrad Black the full horror of his personal and corporate predicament, when a sight met their eyes. His wife Barbara, clad only in a leotard and shades, had swept into the room. For a moment nobody spoke. ‘Oh Conrad,’ Barbara Black proclaimed: ‘Let’s just get out of here. They hate us.’
Barbara Amiel was born in Watford, and she enjoyed the kind of childhood that, if survived at all, instils resilience through life.