News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st July 2009


J W Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite is the first major British retrospective exhibition of the Pre-Raphaelite artist in a generation, and features over 40 paintings. John William Waterhouse was born in the year that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood delivered their manifesto for a new reformed art. He inherited their taste for Tennyson, Keats and Shakespeare, but also drew inspiration from classical mythology interpreted by Homer and Ovid. Although his pictures are perceived as serene, they belie a Romantic fascination with intense human passions. Waterhouse's painterly manner and adherence to three dimensional space distinguish him from his Pre-Raphaelite forerunners. The exhibition considers how Waterhouse's paintings reflect his engagement with contemporary issues, ranging from antiquarianism and the classical heritage, to occultism and the New Woman. It includes almost all the paintings that made him one of the most successful and critically acclaimed artists of the day. Highlights are 'The Lady of Shalott', 'A Naiad', 'Hylas and the Nymphs', 'St Eulalia', 'Circe Invidiosa: Circe Poisoning the Sea', 'A Mermaid' and 'St Cecilia' These works are accompanied by studies in oil, chalk and pencil; period photographs; sketchbooks; and the volumes of Tennyson and Shelley in which Waterhouse drew sketches. Royal Academy of Arts, until 13th September.

Diane Arbus celebrates the work of the legendary New York photographer, who transformed the art of photography, capturing a unique view of 1950s and 1960s America. Diane Arbus's singular vision, and her ability to engage in an uncompromising way with her subjects, made her one of the most important and influential photographers of the 20th century. Arbus was born in New York City and was a photographer primarily of people she discovered in the metropolis and its environs. In her photographs, the self-conscious encounter between photographer and subject becomes a central drama of the picture. Her "contemporary anthropology" - portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle class families, transvestites, people on the street, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities - stands as an allegory of post war America and an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theatre and reality. (Alternatively, she created a 20th century version of a Victorian Freak Show). The exhibition comprises 69 black and white photographs, including the rare and important portfolio of 10 vintage prints: Box of Ten, one of the best collections of Arbus's work in existence. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, until 31st August.

Mariscal - Drawing Life is the first British exhibition of work by the Spanish designer and artist Javier Mariscal. Regarded as one of the world's most innovative and original designers, Mariscal's diverse body of work spans cartoon characters to interiors, furniture to graphic design, and corporate identities. Mariscal's intense relationship with drawing and illustration is central to his career, and is the basis for his designs over the last 30 years. He gave Barcelona its graphic identity as it emerged from the Franco era, and introduced Cobi, the official Olympic mascot of the Barcelona games. Sketches, designs, films and photographs are on display alongside furniture and textiles.

Remembering Jan Kaplicky - Architect Of The Future celebrates the work of the innovative Czech architect, who came to Britain following the Soviet invasion in 1967. After working with Denys Lasun, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, Jan Kaplicky set up Future Systems with David Nixon, as a think tank to explore new ideas. These included robot built structures in space, houses in the guise of space age survival pods, and malleable interiors. Among Kaplicky's best known designs featured in the exhibition are the award winning Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground, and the Selfridges store in Birmingham, together with the Hauer-King House in Wales, the Floating Bridge in Docklands, and Comme des garcons in Tokyo.

Design Museum until 1st November.


Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings Of Jodhpur is an opportunity to view a unique type of Indian royal court painting from the 17th to 19th centuries. The exhibition features 56 paintings from the royal collection at the Mehrangarh Museum in Jodhpur, none of which has ever previously been seen in Europe. It explores the two distinct styles of painting that flourished over the period, 'Garden', the ornate style depicting the temporal pleasures of courtly life and the verdant forests where scenes from the great Indian epics took place, and 'Cosmos', the metaphysical paintings concerned with philosophical speculation and the origin of the universe. The paintings were created for the personal pleasure of the maharajas who ruled over north western India, and as such, they represent the varying aesthetic tastes and differing political and spiritual views of three generations at the Jodhpur court. During this period, the region produced a distinctive and inventive painting style, which brought together traditional Rajasthani styles and combined them with styles developed in the imperial court of the Mughals. Thus, the paintings range from glorious gardens in desert palaces to opulent images of cosmic origins, depicting the political, cultural and spiritual vitality of Jodhpur and indicating the sophisticated way in which artists conveyed profound spiritual conceptions. The paintings included in the exhibition range from a handful of miniatures to monumental artworks depicting the palaces, wives and families of the Jodhpur rulers. British Museum until 23rd August.

Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour 1950 To Today looks at the shifting moment in 20th century art, when a group of artists began to perceive colour as 'readymade' rather than as scientific or expressive. Taking the commercial colour chart as its point of departure, the exhibition emphasises a radical transformation in the post Second World War Western art, which is characterised by the departure from such notions as originality, uniqueness and authenticity. The exhibition celebrates a paradox: the beauty that occurs when contemporary artists assign colour decisions to chance, readymade source, or arbitrary system. Midway through the 20th century, long held convictions regarding the spiritual truth or scientific validity of particular colours gave way to an excitement about colour as a mass-produced and standardised commercial product. The romantic quest for personal expression instead became Andy Warhol's "I want to be a machine"; the artistry of mixing pigments was eclipsed by Frank Stella's "straight out of the can; it can't get better than that." It is the first major exhibition devoted to this pivotal transformation, and offers an alternative survey of mid to late 20th century art, emphasising the significance of colour as an indicator of shifting conceptions around art, commodity and creativity. There is also a presentation of the University of Liverpool's research project on the visual perception of colour and digital colour calibration. Colours look different on different digital display devices - projectors, monitors and so on. This project demonstrates that humans have a remarkable ability to calibrate colour in the brain, as we all perceive certain colours in approximately the same way. Tate Liverpool until 13th September.

Future Gardens is a 27 acre conservation project, designed by Ivan Hicks in the shape of a giant butterfly, with an ongoing commitment to bio-diversity. The project comprises innovative designer gardens, wildflower meadows, a tropical butterfly house, and a British butterfly garden featuring nectar rich planting. It is intended to be an annual event, covering 4 months, offering visitors the chance to see and appreciate how gardens mature and evolve throughout the seasons and the years. At the heart of the project are 12 gardens, selected to present thought-provoking ideas, showing that sustainability and innovative design can be perfect bedfellows. These were designed by Jane Hudson and Erik De Maeijer, Paul Dracott, Fiona Heron, Michelle Wake and Chloe Leaper, Hugo Bugg and Maren Hallenga, Roger Phillips, Tony Heywood, Peter Thomas, Andy Sturgeon, Marcus Green, Rosita Castro Dominguez, Isabelle Fordin, and Bruno Marmiroli. This is the beginning of what will become Butterfly World, which will include the world's largest butterfly dome, with 10,000 butterflies and birds, due to open in 2012. Future Gardens, Miriam Lane, off Noke Lane, Chiswell Green, St Albans, Hertfordshire, until 4th October.

Futurism celebrates the centenary of the dramatic art movement, launched by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, with the publication of the Manifesto of Futurism on the front page of Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Drawing upon elements of Divisionism and Cubism, the Futurists created a new style that broke with old traditions and expressed the dynamism, energy and movement of their modern life. The exhibition both showcases the work of key Futurists, such as Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, Carlo Carra and Luigi Russolo, and explores art movements reacting to Futurism. Highlights include Umberto Boccioni's dynamic bronze 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space'; Carlo Carra's 'Funeral of the Anarchist, Galli'; Gino Severini's 'Dance of the 'Pan-Pan' at the Monico'; and responses to the challenge represented by Futurism in works such as Delaunay's 'Eiffel Tower'; Jacob Epstein's 'Torso in Metal from the Rock Drill'; and Picasso's 'Head of a Woman (Fernande)' and 'Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Vieux Marc', onto which he pasted the Futurist periodical, Lacerba. There are aslo major works by artists such as Georges Braque, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Kasimir Malevich, Natalya Goncharova, Liubov Popova, David Bomberg, Wyndham Lewis and C R W Nevinson. Tate Modern until 20th September.

Enchanted Worlds explores a world of magic, mystery and fairytales, with artworks dating from the 1780s to the contemporary. Delving into tales of fantastical worlds, it discovers some very strange creatures, in painting, sculpture, photography, film, animation, puppetry, print and illustration, from some of the world's most revered artists of the genre. The exhibition looks at the fairy phenomenon in British art from the early influence of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, to the popularisation of fairy stories throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, including art work inspired by the classic fairytales Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Whilst much of the work is strikingly beautiful, there is more than simple whimsy at play, as the art is layered with cautionary tales and dark humour. Among the featured artists are Richard Dadd, Jean Cocteau, Lotte Reininger, David Hockney, Quentin Blake, Paula Rego, Jan Pienkowski, William Heath Robinson and Mabel Lucie Attwell. In addition, visitors have an opportunity to examine the enigmatic Cottingley Fairy photographs up close, and decide whether they are real or not. There is also a display of rare first edition fairy tale books illustrated by artists such as Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Mervyn Peake. Harris Art Gallery, Preston, until 5th September.

French Porcelain For English Palaces: Sevres From The Royal Collection brings together around 300 pieces created by the pre-eminent European porcelain factory of the 18th century. The finely painted and gilded works by Sevres were loved by royalty, aristocrats, connoisseurs and collectors. The factory's unrivalled techniques and complex methods of production appealed to their liking for the rare, exotic and extravagant. The Royal Collection contains the world's finest group of Sevres pieces, much of it acquired between 1783 and 1830 by George IV, who popularised the taste for French porcelain in Britain. Porcelain production started in 1740 at the chateau de Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris, and the factory was re-established in the village of Sevres in 1756. Louis XV began the royal association with the factory, becoming first a customer and then a major shareholder, before acquiring it wholly as royal property in 1759. Among the highlights of the exhibition are a garniture of three vases first bought by Marie-Antoinette; a vase that was probably bought by Louis XV's mistress Madame du Barry, featuring a youthful profile of the French king; and the Table of the Grand Commanders, which was made for Napoleon, and given as a gift to George IV by Louis XVIII. Also on display is part of the most expensive dinner service created at Sevres in the 18th century for Louis XVI; and a pair of mounted vases that once formed part of the furnishings of the King's private apartments at Versailles. Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, until 11th October.


Baroque 1620 - 1800: Style In The Age Of Magnificence features the splendour of one of the most opulent styles of the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibition reflects the complexity and grandeur of the Baroque style, from the Rome of Borromini and Bernini, to the magnificence of Louis XIV's Versailles, and the lavishness of Baroque theatre and performance. On display are some 200 objects, including silver furniture, portraits, sculpture, a regal bed and court tapestries, which conjure up the rooms of a Baroque palace. Further, the exhibition shows how, as European power and influence spread, Baroque style reached other parts of the world. Highlights include: depictions of the Palace of Versailles, including the Hall of Mirrors and designs for the gardens; rare historic furniture made for Louis XIV; religious paintings by Rubens and Tiepolo; sculpture and architectural designs for St Peter's Basilica and the Cornaro Chapel in Rome; stage sets from theatres such as Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, Italian costumes and musical instruments; the original model for James Gibbs's church St Mary-Le-Strand in London; pearls from the vaults of Augustus the Strong in Dresden; costumes from the Swedish Royal court, and candelabrum from the Swedish Royal chapel; and a gilded altarpiece, sculpture, paintings and furniture from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Victoria & Albert Museum until 19th July.

Giuseppe Penone is one of the most important artists of his generation, emerging through the late 1960s and 1970s as an exponent of Arte Povera, the avant garde Italian art movement. This exhibition ranges from early seminal sculptures, drawings and photographs, through to recent and new pieces. Giuseppe Penone's works spring from observations on natural phenomena, with a bearing particularly on our interaction with our environment. The nature of sensory perception is crucial to his work, especially through touch and sight, and he has thus been consistently preoccupied with the eyes and skin, locations of interface between the human body and all that surrounds it. Highlights include 'Rovesciare i propri occhi (Reverse Your Eyes)', a sequence of photographic slide projections showing Penone on a tree-lined road, each one zooming in on him until we can clearly see that his eyes are covered with mirrored contact lenses; 'Soffio di Foglie (Breath of Leaves)', a bed of dried leaves that bears an impression of his prostrate body, near the head of which is a concavity as a result of his exhalation; and 'Essere fiume (Being a River)' which uses a mechanical masonry device to sculpt a quarry stone into an exact replica of a river stone, meticulously reproducing the smooth contours made from thousands of years of water erosion. Ikon, Birmingham, until 18th July.

Commodore Perry And The Opening Of Japan: Naval Diplomat And Collector is a display of the little known coin collection of Commodore Matthew C Perry, the American naval officer who opened up Japan to the West in 1854. Perry was an avid coin collector, acquiring collection of over 1,000 coins, which spanned Greek, Roman, medieval, Islamic, American, Canadian and modern world pieces from Europe, India and Mexico. Although coins have been collected throughout history, the study and collection of coins only took off in America during the mid 19th century, and thus Perry, collecting during the 1830s-1850s, was one of the first American collectors to build up such a varied and substantial collection. A number of Perry's coins can be associated with his famous trip to the Far East in the early 1850s. The Perry Collection therefore provides a tangible link with this important event in Japanese and American history, as well as a valuable insight into the scope and techniques of early American coin collecting. The wide date and denomination range of his collection suggests that Perry sought out specific coins rather than just collecting currency, showing that he was a careful and determined collector. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 5th July.