Tom Rosenthal

‘The Birth of an Opera’, by Michael Rose – review

When, more than half a century ago, I was a student, deriving much of my education from the Third Programme, I was given, between 1955 and 1971, a crash course on opera by Hans Hammelmann and Michael Rose. The two of them were major opera historians and both were natural broadcasters, able to pass their

Subversive narrative

Paula Rego had a retrospective at Tate Liverpool a decade ago and a big show in her native Portugal, where she is properly regarded as the country’s greatest living artist, but both exhibitions seem niggardly in comparison with the more than 200 works shown in some 14 rooms at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. Even

Bare necessities | 28 July 2007

The Naked Portrait Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until 2 September, then Compton Verney, Warwickshire, from 29 September to 9 December The advance publicity I saw for this on the whole excellently curated exhibition contained a health warning: ‘Please note this show contains nudity. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.’ The title

Unfamiliar connection

It was a dark and stormy night when I got to Liverpool and, on my way to the Tate at Albert Dock the next morning, a gale-force wind nearly propelled me into the Dock’s murky, choppy waters before I reached the sanctuary of the museum. Here, on a quiet lower floor, there’s a small but

Playing with the past

Louis le Brocquy is 90 this year and his new show at Gimpel’s is merely one of four current celebratory exhibitions. (The others are at Tate Britain, The National Gallery of Ireland and Galerie Jeanne-Bucher in Paris.) He once wryly observed: ‘I’m aware that my age and vulnerability could be mistaken for some kind of

Mixed blessing | 11 November 2006

The subtitle ‘Artist, Author, Word and Image in Britain 1800–1920’ sets out the aim of one of those curator-inspired delvings into the vast stock of a great and fairly ancient museum. It repays several hours of study as the devil, as so often, is in the detail. The Fitzwilliam — unlike many other, larger art

Light on a master

It’s strange that while Britain has gone fairly mad over Mozart’s 250th anniversary, with vulgarities ranging from Mozart for Babies on Classic FM to Mozart mugs on coffee mugs, etc., we haven’t heard much about possibly his only cultural peer, Rembrandt. The Germans have now put us thoroughly to shame on the artist’s his 400th

Compelling vision

, Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) was born in Pochlarn, Bohemia, studied in Vienna, enlisted in a smart cavalry regiment at the outbreak of the first world war, got shot in the head and bayoneted, went back into action after a spell in hospital in 1916 and suffered shellshock. He had a stormy affair with Mahler’s widow

Shipwreck of a genius

Simeon Solomon ‘has his place, not far from Burne-Jones, in any record of the painting of the 19th century. Had circumstances been kinder to him, or had he been other than himself, he would have been a formidable rival,’ wrote Arthur Symons in 1925. This Birmingham exhibition is the most comprehensive assessment yet of Solomon’s

Serious wit

Visiting this large (172 works) retrospective for Max Ernst (1891–1976) at the Metropolitan was in a way a sign of the times. Here was revealed, in all its witty and eccentric glory, the art of the most influential German Dadaist, born in Br

French connection | 30 April 2005

When I started visiting Barcelona in 1961, its museums were both thin on the ground and impoverished, and the lingua franca between the Catalans and the British was French, without which it was, if one had neither Spanish nor Catalan, hard to survive. Today the city is awash with fine, well-funded museums and, for anyone

Memoirs of a genius

Tom Maschler, son of a distinguished Jewish publisher, was born in Berlin in 1932 and came to England with his parents in 1939. After Leighton Park School, having turned down a place at Oxford, he worked on a kibbutz and as a tour guide, hitch-hiked round America and did a brief stint of National Service

Rise, fall and rise of an artist

It will be interesting to see if next week’s full-scale Wyndham Lewis (1882–1957) exhibition at Olympia will help, as previous Olympia shows have done, to cement the artist’s reviving reputation. Certainly the timing is good in relation to last month’s scholarly symposium and the excellent recent exhibition concentrating on his works on paper, both at