Jane Rye

Ceramic art has been undervalued for too long

The use of ‘Ceramic’ rather than ‘Ceramics’ in the title of this book indicates Paul Greenhalgh’s passionate belief that ‘ceramic is a thing in itself: a many-headed but nevertheless singular entity, with an on-going intellectual discourse’ which he christens ‘the ceramic continuum’. He believes that this has been ‘actively denied its place as an artistic

A true original

Leonora Carrington was strikingly beautiful with ‘the personality of a headstrong and hypersensitive horse’ (according to her friend and patron Edward James); and she fled from her family, renouncing a life of privilege and ease to pursue her calling as an artist. Joanna Moorhead deplores the fact that she is ‘not much more than a

Patrick George: painting some of his best work at 91

‘If I see something I like I wish to tell someone else; this… is why I paint.’ Patrick George is 91, still painting ‘some of the best work he’s ever done’, in Andrew Lambirth’s view. ‘His principal aim is to point out, to those of us less well-trained to observe, how marvellous the appearance of

The mad, mum-fixated maiden aunt of modernism

Marianne Moore’s poems are notoriously ‘difficult’ but her personality and the circumstances of her life are as fascinating today as they were to the avant-garde writers and artists of 1920s New York. Much of the fascination lies in the contrast between what Linda Leavell calls Moore’s ‘maiden-aunt persona’ and her position as a ground-breaking modernist,

Paul Nash, by Andrew Causey – review

Andrew Causey opens his book on a slightly defensive note: Paul Nash, he says is often identified as Britain’s outstanding 20th-century landscape painter, as if painting the natural scene was the only thing he did, or landscape art as a genre is entirely separable from others, such as portraiture or history painting. It is unexpected

Tormented talent

We know a great deal about Keith Vaughan both as a painter and as a man, from the journals he kept between 1939 until his death in 1977. They have been described as ‘one of the greatest pieces of confessional writing of the 20th century’, and provide a fascinating record of an artist’s thoughts and

Lust for life | 3 December 2011

Seduced by the hayseed hair and the Yorkshire accent it’s tempting to see the young David Hockney as the Freddie Flintoff of the painting world: lovable, simple, brilliant, undoubtedly a hero, and delightfully free of angst. In this enjoyable book, which sets out to to ‘conjure up the man he is and in doing so

Strategies for survival

This is an account of the multiplicity of ways in which men ‘stole back time from their captors through creativity’ in the prisoner-of-war camps of Europe and the Far East. This is an account of the multiplicity of ways in which men ‘stole back time from their captors through creativity’ in the prisoner-of-war camps of

Champagne on dirty floorboards

Jane Rye on William Feaver’s biography of Lucien Freud Lucian Freud describes his paintings as largely autobiographical, which seems to imply some sort of readiness to expose his private life to the public gaze; but he does so on his own terms and is notoriously reluctant to let anyone else poke about in it. At the

How others see us

Exhibitions 2: British Vision: Observation and Imagination in British Art 1750–1950 This stunning, and constantly surprising, exhibition is the brainchild, or love child even, of the Flemish art historian Robert Hoozee, author of the first Constable catalogue raisonné and director of the Museum of Fine Art in Ghent. He regrets that ‘British art is still

The measure of the man

Euan Uglow: The Complete Paintings Catalogue raisonné by Catherine Lampert; Essays by Richard Kendall and Catherine Lampert Whether we know it or not ‘we crave the inexpressive in art’, Bernard Berenson wrote, as an antidote to the sensationalism of ‘the representational arts most alive, the cinema and the illustrated press’. He was writing about Euan

The Painters’ Painter

‘Give me the cheque, you look like a decaying oyster’ — thus Roger Hilton accepting the John Moores First Prize in 1963, at the height of his career. At the dinner afterwards, very drunk, he was so rude to an alderman sitting next to him that the poor man had a heart attack and died

Nevertheless, the real thing

It’s difficult not to warm to Mad Tracey from Margate (‘I like Tracey … I landed on my feet with that name’), the inventor of the Rothko Comfort Blanket for Private Views, however reluctant one may be to have one’s nose rubbed in other people’s bodily fluids and spiritual excretions. She famously staggered out of

The brilliant and the damned

It would be a mistake to assume that this account of the work of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated designers (a familiar name to many for his London Underground and Shell posters of the Twenties and Thirties) is a book to be bought chiefly for its illustrations, splendid though they are. The text

Going to the country

One and a half million children were evacuated from London and housed in the country in two days. The evacuee child with its gas mask round its neck and the luggage label so particularly distressing to modern sensibilities, is a familiar image, but perhaps more credit is due to the organisation of Operation Pied Piper

Pleasure without angst

David Hockney is a conjuror who likes to explain his tricks, or, as one commentator put it, conducts ‘his education in public with a charming and endearing innocence’. This chunky picture-book brings the story right up to date with watercolours and portrait drawings made only a few months ago. It contains work from throughout Hockney’s

A fastidious disdain of poetry

If William Coldstream (1909-87) was a dull painter, as he is sometimes thought to be, he was most certainly not a dull man. An artist who spent much of his life in a three-piece suit, an administrator with ‘an irresistible urge to turn a serious story into farce’, he was captivating in conversation, a natural

From education to catastrophe

‘I do feel the strongest urge to talk,’ confides the narrator when a chance meeting with the beautiful Olivia after more than 30 years brings back disturbing memories of what she tells us is ‘a terrible story’. The encounter takes place in Bordeaux where Kate, American, is sightseeing while her English husband attends a conference,

A man who asked the right questions

David Sylvester’s first ambition was to be a professional cricketer, and he possessed to the end that almost miraculous masculine capacity for total recall of notable prep-school innings ball by ball. Later he tried to be a painter, and then a jazz saxophonist. Later still, the cinema being another of his great passions, he worked