News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st August 2012


Another London: International Photographers Capture City Life 1930 - 1980 explores the capital city through the eyes of some of the greatest names in international photography. In the years between 1930 and 1980, some of the best known photographers from around the world came to London to make work about the city and its communities. Bringing together 180 classic photographs, this exhibition highlights the vibrancy of the city as a dynamic metropolis, richly diverse and full of contrast. For these artists London was a foreign city, which they either visited briefly or settled in permanently, and they recorded and represented it in their own unique style and distinctive ways. Emblems of Britishness that might have been familiar to visitors such as pearly kings, red buses and bowler hats are documented alongside the urban poor surviving life in the city as pavement artists, beggars and buskers, often captured in stunning compositions. These pictures, showing London streets and public places as they were during those years, with Norland nannies pushing Silver Cross prams in Hyde Park, Eliza Dolittles selling flowers in Piccadilly Circus, advertisements for products that have long since disappeared, and streets shrouded in fog and smog, reveal the capital as almost a foreign country to us today. The exhibition features striking images from renowned photographers including Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Robert Frank, Al Vandenberg, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Dora Maar, Bruce Davidson, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Irving Penn and many more. Tate Britain until 26th September.

John Piper - The Gyselynck Collection features works in a variety of media by one of Britain's most influential modernist artists. The exhibition comprises the collection of over 30 John Piper works acquired by collector Michael Gyselynk, and is the first time the works have been displayed together in public. It provides a unique opportunity to view work spanning Piper's entire career across his different mediums, and represents many aspects of his artistic output, including abstract landscape compositions, topographical and figurative paintings, collage and ceramics. During his career Piper developed a unique style, fusing fluidity of line with elemental forms and perfectly balanced use of colour to communicate the spirit of a place, the feel of a body or the essence of a landscape. Among the highlights are 'Composition', one of a few pure abstracts by Piper painted during a period when he was experimenting with abstraction; 'Reclining Nude', a painted ceramic dish produced by Fulham Pottery, one of eight beach girl designs where the figure has been formed using the minimum of line made from a piece of finely rolled clay laid on a roughly shaped platter; and 'Autumn Flowers', a large and vibrant example of Piper's expressive work from towards the end of his life, when he could no longer travel far and often painted the flowers from his garden. River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until 8th October.

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker: 850 Years Of London Livery Company Treasures features objects from the rare to the curious, the ancient to the modern. The exhibition offers an opportunity to see items from the collections of London's Livery Companies, the 108 associations in the City of London responsible for regulation of their trades, not usually on view to the public. Visitors can marvel at the splendour of medieval manuscripts and wonder at the rituals of livery company life, as the objects reveal the stories behind some of the world's oldest crafts and trades. Highlights include the oldest recorded livery charter, granted to the Weavers' Company in 1155 by Henry II; a portrait of Henry VIII and the Barber Surgeons by Hans Holbein the Younger; a surgeon's 'pop-up' textbook 'A survey of the Microcosme: or, the anatomy of the bodies of Man and Woman' from 1702; the only known pair of Scarlett-type temple spectacles in the world, dating from around 1730; 'Plocacosmos: or, the whole art of hairdressing', which includes meticulous engravings of the exuberant hairstyles of the late 18th century; The Weoley Cup, a very rare tooled, enameled and gilt Venetian goblet dating from around 1500; a Georgian Fishmonger's shop sign, made from a turtle shell with a coat of arms painted on it; and the left-hand coronation gloves of both Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2 until 23rd September.


From Paris: A Taste For Impressionism showcases treasures from the Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts's holdings of French 19th century art. The exhibition comprises 70 major works, many of which have never been on public display in Britain before. These include Impressionist masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Sisley and Morisot, as well as an exceptional group of more than 20 paintings by Renoir. The show also embraces important works by pre-Impressionist artists such as Corot, Theodore Rousseau and Millet, as well as examples of highly polished 'academic' paintings by Jean-Leon Gerome and Bouguereau. The paintings are presented by genre, in order to reveal the range of subject matter and diversity of stylistic approach in French 19th century art: landscapes and cityscapes; marine views; genre paintings depicting scenes of life; nudes; still lifes; portraits - including self portraits of artists central to the exhibition such as Renoir and Degas - and paintings reflecting the contemporary interest in Orientalism. Highlights include Monet's 'The Cliffs at Etretat' and 'Portrait of Madame Monet (Madame Claude Monet Reading)', Alfred Sisley's 'Banks of the Seine at By', Manet's 'Moss Roses in a Vase', Berthe Morisot's 'The Bath' Jean-Leon Gerome's 'The Snake Charmer', James Tissot's 'Chrysanthemums, and Renoir's 'At the Concert' and 'Girl With a Fan'. Royal Academy of Arts until 23rd September.

Catherine The Great, An Enlightened Empress marks the 250th anniversary of Catherine's ascension to the Russian throne, with a selection of art works that she collected, which forms the basis of the State Hermitage Museum. The exhibition explores Catherine's life and 30 year reign through her collection, which reflects her interests and provides a glimpse of the wealth and magnificence of the Imperial Russian court. In her lifetime she amassed some 3,000 old master paintings, 10,000 engraved gems and cameos and 34,000 cameo and medallion copies. The exhibition comprises more than 600 priceless works, most of which have never been seen outside Russia. They include paintings, silverware, porcelain, sculpture, tapestries, imperial court costumes and uniforms, metal and polished stones, medals and trophies, jeweled snuffboxes, classical cameos, jewellery, hunting weapons, ceremonial swords, furniture, letters and diaries, and even a highly ornate and gilded winter sleigh. In addition there are plans, drawings and watercolours of some of the many palaces that Catherine commissioned, enlarged and redecorated. Highlights include a recently discovered portrait of Catherine on her horse Brilliant by Vigilius Eriksen, hidden at the outbreak of the Russian revolution; a ring featuring a cameo of Catherine; a snuff box showing the monument to Peter the Great by Falconet; a Coronation portrait of Catherine; a gold, diamond and rock crystal snuff box by Johann Gottlieb Scharff; and a portrait of Catherine by Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder. National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, until 21st October.

Stadia: Sport And Vision In Architecture examines the origin and history of some of the largest and most technically accomplished buildings ever created. From the Hippodrome of Constantinople to ancient Greek amphitheatres, the exhibition looks at these colossal venues and how architects continue to use some of these design elements as the foundation for contemporary stadia, such as the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. The display includes original blueprints, highly-detailed models and intriguing stadium relics like terra cotta lamps featuring gladiator fights. One of the most notable items on view is Michaelangelo's Codex Coner, a pared down architectural sketchbook and the earliest archeologically correct record of the Colosseum. The exhibition also looks at temporary stadia, a concept that evolved around the Middle Ages when sporting events began playing out in town squares, such as Florence's Calcio Storico competition still held annually in Piazza Santa Croce. These structures reflect the communal aspect of athletic games, and ways in which a venue's architecture allows for social activity. The aspect of how stadium design can affect the population can be seen in the proposal for Sports City in Saudi Arabia, comprised of a 100,000 seater stadium, an arena, aquatic center, multi-sport complex, golf complex and a women's sport facility. The complex is connected to housing, schools, a mosque and a hospital, serving as a way of improving the residents' health. Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2, until 22nd September.

Shakespeare: Staging The World explores the world and works of the world's greatest playwright. The exhibition provides a new insight into the emerging role of London as a world city 400 years ago, interpreted through the perspective of Shakespeare's plays. One of the key innovations of the period was the birth of the modern professional theatre: purpose-built public playhouses and professional playwrights were a new phenomenon, with the most successful company being the company at the Globe who worked alongside their house dramatist, William Shakespeare. The exhibition shows how the playhouse informed, persuaded and provoked thought on the issues of the day; how it shaped national identity, first English, then British; and how it opened a window on the wider world, from Italy to Africa to America, as London's global contacts were expanding through international trade, colonisation and diplomacy. The exhibition features some 190 objects, from great paintings, rare manuscripts, maps, prints, drawings, arms and armour, to modest, everyday items of the time, including the Ides of March coin, the gold aureus commissioned by Brutus shortly after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC; a portrait of Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun, Moroccan Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I, who may have informed the character of Othello; and items excavated from the sites of the Globe and Rose theatres, such as a sucket fork for sweetmeats and the skull of a bear. British Museum until 25th November.

Van Gogh To Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape In Europe 1880 - 1910 offers an insight into the rich diversity of art in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. Symbolism was a radical movement of artists, poets, writers and composers that emerged in reaction to the industrial expansion and materialism of late 19th century Europe. Symbolist artists abandoned the direct representation of nature or reality, creating instead a vision of the world drawn from the imagination. Their work explored powerful themes that reflected the anxieties and uncertainties of the age, including a fascination with death, dreams and the unconscious, fears about scientific advances and a questioning of man's place in the world. Symbolist painting embraced a broad range of styles, and was closely linked to literature and other art forms, and the relationship between art and music - a major preoccupation for some artists - is a significant underlying theme. The exhibition brings together some 70 outstanding landscapes by 54 artists of the avant-garde, including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Munch, Monet, Whistler, Mondrian and Kandinsky. It also introduces a group of less well known artists from Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe, such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Jacek Malczewski. Highlights include Leon Bakst's 'Terror Antiquus', Prins Eugen's 'Forest', Gallen-Kallela's 'Lake Keitele', Fernand Khnopff's 'Bruges: The Lac d'Amour', Whistler's 'St Mark's Square, Venice', Gauguin's 'Vision of the Sermon', Van Gogh's 'Sower' and 'Reaper', and Joaquim Mir's 'Abyss'. Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 14th October.

A Replica Skeleton Of The Elephant Man is now the highlight of the collection at the former home of Joseph Merrick. Using fragile bones kept for research at the Royal London Hospital, where Merrick lived in specially converted accommodation in the basement from 1886 until his death in 1890, curators reconstructed his frame. 3D digital scans were then made, and a replica skeleton created, which now forms the centrepiece of the Elephant Man display. This also includes information on Merrick's condition, which has been reappraised following new DNA analysis of his remains. It is now believed that he suffered from an exceptionally rare disorder known as Proteus Syndrome, unknown at the time, but now treatable. The display also includes replicas of Merrick's hat and mask, documents relating to his residence, an intricate model of a church that he crafted during his time at the hospital, and a series of photographs.. In addition to the display on Joseph Merrick, the museum also has original material on the other local celebrity, Jack The Ripper, and hospital surgeon Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, who helped to investigate the Whitechapel murders, nurses Edith Cavell and Eva Luckes, doctors Frederick Treves and Thomas Barnardo, and the history of the hospital since its foundation in 1740. These include works of art, surgical instruments, medical and nursing equipment, uniforms, medals, written archives, books, films - and a set of dentures made for George Washington. The Museum is located in the former crypt of a late 19th century, early English style church, designed by Arthur Cawston, which has been extensively restored. Royal London Hospital Museum, St Augustine with St Philip's Church, Newark Street, Whitechapel, London E1, continuing.


Bauhaus: Art As Life explores the world's most famous modern art and design school, and delves into the subjects at its heart: art, design, people, society and culture. From its avant-garde arts and crafts beginnings the Bauhaus shifted towards a more radical model of learning uniting art and technology. A driving force behind Modernism, it further sought to change society in the aftermath of the First World War, to find a new way of living. The exhibition traces the life of the school from its founding by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, and its expressionist-influenced roots, to the embrace of art and industry and subsequent move to a purpose built campus in Dessau in 1925 under the direction of Gropius and then Hannes Meyer. Finally it looks to the Bauhaus' brief period in Berlin, led by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and its dramatic closure in 1933, under pressure by the Nazis. Bringing together more than 400 works, the show features a rich array of painting, sculpture, architecture, film, photography, furniture, graphics, product design, textiles, ceramics and theatre by such Bauhaus masters as Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Oskar Schlemmer, and students including Anni Albers, T Lux Feininger, Kurt Kranz, Xanti Schawinsky and Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. Significant works in the exhibition include Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's 'Construction in Enamel 1 (EM1)', the largest in a series of three famously known as the 'Telephone Pictures'; Wassily Kandinsky's 'Circles in a Circle', two bands of colour intersect in a thick black circle containing 26 overlapping circles of varying colours and sizes; Paul Klee's watercolour 'Doppelturm' with its geometric forms in pink and green hues; and Gunta Stolzl's 2m high wall hanging, 'Funf Chore (Five Choirs)'. Barbican Gallery until 12th August.

British Design 1948 - 2012: Innovation In The Modern Age showcases the best of British design and creative talent from the 1948 'Austerity Olympics' to 'London 2012'. It is the first comprehensive exhibition to examine the ways in which artists and designers who were born, trained or working in Britain have produced innovative and internationally acclaimed works over the last 60 years. The exhibition charts the development of British design in fashion, furniture, fine art, graphic design, photography, ceramics, architecture and industrial products, featuring some 300 objects. These include much loved designs such as a 1959 Morris Mini Minor; a 1961 E-type Jaguar car; a Brownie Vecta camera by Kenneth Grange from 1964; an Alexander McQueen evening gown from the 2009 Horn of Plenty collection; a 6m model of Concorde; fine art by Richard Hamilton and David Hockney; textiles from the 1950s by Lucienne Day and 1980s by Laura Ashley; a 1964 Moulton bicycle; Kit Williams's 1979 golden hare jewel from Masquerade; Brian Duffy's original photograph for the cover of David Bowie's 1973 Aladdin Sane album; a Brian Long Torsion chair from 1971, and 1960s furniture by Max Clendinning; a Sinclair ZX80 home computer and Jonathan Ive's Apple iMac; and Foster & Partner's 30 St Mary Axe building and Zaha Hadid's new Olympic Aquatics Centre. Key themes investigated include the Festival of Britain, the Queen's Coronation, the 1950s New Towns movement, developments in retail such as Habitat, and the British Art School system, plus counter-cultural movements from Swinging London to Cool Britannia. Victoria & Albert Museum until 12th August.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,250 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 11,000 submissions, from 27 countries, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by both high profile and up and coming artists. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year the show has been masterminded by Tess Jaray, with Chris Wilkinson and Eva Jiricna overseeing the architecture section. The Central Hall pays homage to Matisse's 'The Red Studio' with a selection of paintings whose main concern is colour; Gallery 3 features a large quantity of smaller paintings, demonstrating that work of a more modest scale can be as powerful as larger work; and the architecture gallery seeks to blur the boundaries between architecture and the fine arts. Among the artists exhibiting this year are Michael Craig-Martin, Michael Landy, Tracey Emin, Ken Howard, Anselm Kiefer, Raqib Shaw, Calum Innes, Keith Coventry and Jayne Parker. The Royal Academy of Arts until 12th August.