News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd March 2011


Jan Gossaert's Renaissance celebrates the Flemish artist's decisive role as an artistic pioneer, bridging the gap between the Northern and Southern Renaissances and paving the way for Low Country artists of the future. Jan Gossaert was one of the most startling and versatile artists of the Northern Renaissance. A pivotal Old Master, Gossaert changed the course of Flemish art, going beyond the tradition of Jan van Eyck and charting new territory that eventually led to the great age of Rubens. The exhibition includes more than 80 works, placing Gossaert in the context of the art and artists that influenced his development. It brings together many of his most important paintings, including 'The Adoration of the Kings', 'Virgin and Child', 'Hercules and Deianeira' and 'Saint Luke Painting the Virgin', with drawings, prints and sculptures by contemporaries such as Albrecht Durer, Jacopo de'Barbari and Lucas van Leyden. The story of Adam and Eve fascinated Gossaert, and the exhibition includes various examples of how he explored the erotic nature of the relationship between the first couple in some exceptional - almost unprecedented - paintings and drawings over the span of his 30 year career. Another highlight is the reuniting of a triptych for the first time since it was painted in the early 16th century, with centre panel 'Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane' joining its exterior wings 'Saint Jerome Penitent'. Gossaert had a remarkable ability to represent the lifelike appearance of individuals, and his close study of physiognomy and extraordinary handling and execution of paint set him apart from his contemporaries in this genre. He also played intriguing spatial games, creating figures that seem to emerge from the confines of their frames, examples of which include 'An Elderly Couple', 'Portrait of a Merchant', 'Portrait of Anna van Bergen' and 'Portrait of Henry III of Nassau. National Gallery until 30th May.

Secret Egypt allows visitors to investigate the truth behind some of the most popular myths about ancient Egypt. The display brings together over 200 objects from some of the most important Egyptian collections in Britain, some of which have not been on public display before. Exhibits include a granite colossus statue of Ramases II from the British Museum, a rare sandstone head of Queen Nefertiti from the Ashmolean, crocodile mummies from Bolton Museum and a gold pendant from Manchester Museum, discovered by archaeologists in the hands of an ancient robber trapped in a collapsed tomb. The show examines the Egyptian belief system surrounding the protection and endurance of the physical body, the truths of how the pyramids were constructed, how the process of mummification was conducted, the logic of the design and decoration of the burial chambers, the thinking behind the inclusion of the funerary objects for use in the afterlife, and how the Egyptian civilisation came to an end. At the climax of the exhibition visitors are invited to explore a recreated tomb, to ponder why the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. The display includes an offering chapel and a mummy of a woman called Perenbast, an example of the care and respect given during the preparations for passing into the eternal life. Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until 5th June.

London Street Photography showcases candid images of everyday life in the streets of the capital. From sepia-toned scenes of horse-drawn cabs taken on bulky tripod-mounted cameras to 21st century Londoners digitally 'caught on film', over 200 images explore how street photography has evolved from 1860 to the present day. The exhibition also examines the relationship between photographers, London's streets and the people who live on them, and reflects on the place of photography on London's streets today as anti-terrorism and privacy laws grow ever tighter. The show brings together the works of 59 photographers including: Valentine Blanchard, who experimented with a small-format stereoscopic camera in 1860s London to produce the first photographs of busy city streets in which everything in motion was arrested in sharp definition; Paul Martin, who pioneered candid street photography in the early 1890s, when he began using a camera disguised as a parcel to photograph people unawares; Horace Nicholls, an early independent press photographer whose photographs of well-to-do Edwardians at leisure are particularly revealing; Henry Grant, a freelance photojournalist who photographed London's changing streets from the 1950s to the 1980s; Roger Mayne, who sought to record a way of life as he photographed a rundown area of North Kensington before it was redeveloped in the 1960s; and Paul Trevor, whose photographs of Brick Lane in the East End from the early 1970s are a unique record of the area before large-scale immigration and gentrification wrought their changes. Museum of London until 4th September.


Hoppe Portraits: Society, Studio And Street features the work of one of the most important yet least remembered photographers of the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition brings together for the first time E O Hoppe's strikingly modernist portraits alongside his fascinating documentary studies capturing the realities of day-to-day life in Britain between the wars. Hoppe was the prototypical celebrity photographer, and by 1913 his photographic studio was a magnet for the rich and famous. The exhibition features over 80 their portraits, including Margot Fonteyn, George Bernard Shaw, King George V, Vaslav Nijinsky, Ezra Pound, David Lloyd George and Benito Mussolini. In 1922 Hoppe published the Book of Fair Women, a compilation of photographs of the women he considered to be the most beautiful on earth. Notable for its multicultural approach, Hoppe selected 32 representative beauties from 24 different countries. Fascinated by questions of race and social mobility, Hoppe compiled a collection of studio portraits examining different 'types' of people, shot against a neutral background, illuminated from above, and cropped to remove details of any clothing. A selection of these portraits includes a postman, a flower lady and a 'highly respectable type'. In the 1920's and 1930's Hoppe increasingly left the studio to make photographs of British street life, capturing those at the other end of the social spectrum to his celebrity sitters. These pictures, sometimes taken with a hidden camera, explored ideas about class and typology. More than 50 of these studies include the homeless, bell ringers, behind the scenes at Sandhurst Military Academy, a dog hospital, night watchmen, a girl's borstal institute, a skeleton shop, portraits of 'pearlies', street musicians and the tattoo artist George Burchett. National Portrait Gallery until 30th May.

David Hockney: Bigger Trees Near Warter is the first time this huge painting has been seen outside London. 'Bigger Trees Near Warter', is the largest painting David Hockney has ever produced, and measures 40ft wide and 15ft high (12m by 4m). Featuring two copses, a huge sycamore tree, buildings and early flowering daffodils, the painting in oils is comprised of 50 individual canvas panels, and takes inspiration from a site at Warter in the Yorkshire Wolds. It was painted 'en plein air' (outside) in 6 weeks - 3 weeks preparation and 3 weeks of furious painting before the arrival of spring changed the composition. Hockney used digital technology to help him complete the work, creating a computer mosaic of the picture that enabled him to 'step back' and see it as a whole. Thus the painting neatly combines a return by Hockney to his Yorkshire roots, with his continuing exploration of new technology. Films, including Bruno Wollheim's documentary A Bigger Picture, showing Hockney at work, are being shown in the same gallery, alongside additional information on how Hockney created this incredible painting. York Art Gallery until 12th June.

Dinosaurs Unleashed sees the return of Britain's largest animatronic, life sized dinosaur experience, with 22 full size dinosaurs in an interactive enclosure. It is a Jurassic Park style prehistoric adventure on a truly epic scale, offering the chance to get up close and personal with the largest and most fearsome creatures the Earth has ever seen, walking alongside the giants of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Visitors can meet Stegosaurus, Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Triceratops, marvel at massive Diplodocus three times the length and double the height of a double-decker bus, come face to face with infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, taller than the tallest giraffe, and tremble at the sight of small but vicious Velociraptors. A prehistoric aquarium using the latest computer graphics brings the prehistoric underwater world to life. In addition, visitors can put themselves in the picture in the 'scream' experience or in the 'green screen' theatre The exhibition is entirely based on current scientific thinking, with expert paleontologists ensuring that it is as accurate as possible. As they say: it's the family day out that London has been waiting 65 million years for. The O2, Meridian Gardens, Peninsula Square, London, continuing.

Watercolour is a fresh assessment of the history of watercolour painting in Britain from its emergence in the Middle Ages through to the present day. This exhibition features around 200 works, including pieces by historic artists such as William Blake, Thomas Girtin and JMW Turner, through to modern and contemporary artists including Patrick Heron, Peter Doig and Tracey Emin. Drawing out a history that traces the origins of watercolour back to medieval illuminated manuscripts, the exhibition reassesses the commonly held belief that the medium first flourished during a 'golden age' of British watercolour, from roughly 1750-1850. It reveals an older tradition evident in manuscripts, topography and miniatures, and also challenges the notion that watercolour is singularly British, by showing some key watercolours from continental Europe, which influenced British artists, such as Jacques Le Moyne, Anthony van Dyck and Wenceslaus Hollar. Artists used watercolour because it was so versatile and portable, and before the advent of photography watercolour was used primarily for recording eye-witness accounts. The exhibition shows the wide range of contexts in which it was employed, including documentation of exotic flora and fauna on Captain Cook's voyages, spontaneous on the spot recordings of landscapes by artists such as Turner and John Sell Cotman, and on the battlefield by war artists such as William Simpson and Paul Nash. Often thought of as a medium for traditional representational painting, notably landscape, the sea and picturesque buildings, this show overturns such assumptions with works by contemporary artists who have reinterpreted the medium, including Andy Goldsworthy, Ian McKeever and Anish Kapoor. It also shows how these contemporary pieces form part of a longer tradition where watercolour has been used for visionary or abstract purposes with examples ranging from Blake through to the Pre-Raphaelites, Symbolists and Neo-Romantics in more recent times. Tate Britain until 21st August.

Return To Antarctica: The British Graham Land Expedition, 1934 - 1937 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the major discoveries made during the first 'modern' Antarctic expedition. The British Graham Land Expedition employed new approaches to travel and diet, and avoided many of the problems faced by earlier explorers. With a broad scientific programme, the expedition spent three years exploring the Antarctic Peninsula (Graham Land), proving it to be part of the Antarctic mainland, not islands as previously thought. This venture laid the foundations for the current British endeavors in the Antarctic, pioneering expeditionary techniques still used today. Through dramatic black and white photographs the exhibition shows the spectacular scenery and hostile conditions faced by the 16 scientists, explorers and military officers (including Duncan Carse, who, fittingly, later became the voice of Dick Barton Special Agent in the radio series) their dogs and Lummo, a Falkland Island cat, the first feline to set paw on Antarctica, who went on to enjoy retirement in Woking. The explorers travelled in the Victorian schooner Penola, while dogs, equipment, stores and a De Havilland Fox Moth biplane, capable of operating with skis or floats, used for aerial surveying and depot laying, were carried by an accompanying ship, Discovery II. Polar Museum, Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, until 30th April.

Doctor Who Experience is a unique walk through experience and exhibition featuring the world of the legendary time traveller. The interactive experience invites visitors to step through a crack in time to become the Doctor's companion on a journey through time and space in a brand new adventure, encountering some of the best loved and scariest monsters from the television series. It includes special scenes filmed with Matt Smith as the Doctor, and the very latest in special effects, with the chance to enter a recreation of the modern TARDIS, and even receive instructions from the Doctor on how to fly it. The exhibition element charts the success of the show from the first series in 1963 to the most recent episodes. Displays include items never seen in public before, including original costumes, the Tom Baker TARDIS police box and two authentic TARDIS sets from the eras of David Tennant and Peter Davison, plus iconic sets from recent series, such as the Pandorica Box and Chair. It is the first time that Doctor Who artefacts from the show's entire 47 year history, have been on display together. There are, of course, opportunities for visitors to come face to 'whatever' with numerous foes and monsters, including several generations of the Daleks and Cybermen as well as Silurians, an Ice Warrior and a Zygon - although few things in the 47 years are as scary as Catherine Tate's acting ability. Olympia 2, Kensington, London until November.


Lucien Pissarro In England: The Eragny Press 1895 - 1914 celebrates the work of the French painter, engraver and printmaker, with the first comprehensive display of his books. The exhibition features the 32 books printed by Lucien Pissarro and his wife Esther at their home in London, along with his preparatory drawings, and paintings by his father, Camille Pissarro, the Impressionist painter, who assisted him during the 1890s. The exquisite handmade Eragny books are beautifully printed, using wood blocks designed by Lucien and cut by him and his wife, with a degree of artistry which owed much to the influence of the English Arts and Crafts movement. These illustrations, often printed in colour and sometimes with added gold, accompanied the texts of French and English authors, ranging from classic to modern literature. The first book, published in 1895, was the fairytale 'The Queen of Fishes' by Gerard de Nerval, translated into English by Margaret Rust. Other highlights include 'Un Coeur Simple' by Gustave Flaubert and 'Of Gardens' by Sir Francis Bacon, first published in 1625. To point up the influence of the English art scene on Lucien's work and his concurrent artistic contribution in England, there are a number of books from several famous contemporary private presses, including William Morris's Kelmscott Press and Charles Ricketts's Vale Press. It is this curious blend of two quite different traditions - a French artistic upbringing and the English craft revival in full swing - which gives the Eragny books their unique character. The books are accompanied by material from the Pissarro Family Archive, including paintings by Camille, such as 'The Cricket Match', photographs, letters and other memorabilia. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 13th March.

The Young Vermeer presents a unique opportunity to explore the development of one of the world's most celebrated artists. Despite the regard in which he is held, there are only 36 of Johannes Vermeer's paintings in existence. This exhibition reunites 3 of his early works, created between 1653 and 1656, from galleries around the world. They suggest a tantalising experimental phase in Vermeer's early career, as he explored classical and biblical subjects, and also reveal his fascination with light and colour. 'Diana and her Nymphs' is a serene and intimate painting, showing the mythological goddess Diana and her companions in a wooded landscape. It is thought to have been created soon after Vermeer had entered the painters' guild. 'Christ in the House of Martha and Mary', dating from slightly later, is the largest of Vermeer's surviving works. The subject is taken from St Luke's gospel, and can perhaps be linked to Vermeer's conversion to Catholicism. 'The Procuress' is a brothel scene, which marks two significant shifts in Vermeer's work: his move towards painting 'genre scenes', which show figures in everyday activities, and the development towards his mature style, rendering shapes in smooth and colourful hues of light and shade. The 3 paintings on show in this exhibition offer an insight into Vermeer's formative period, as they are strikingly different from his later works, which concentrate almost exclusively on domestic interiors. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 13th March.

Mischief: Sculptures And Drawings By Lucia Nogueira is the first British exhibition to survey the 10 year career of the Brazilian born, London based artist. Lucia Nogueira was one of the most individual voices in sculpture in this country, combining and adapting pieces of discarded furniture and other detritus, into works that engage with the space in which they are set. This exhibition includes little known pieces as well as some more familiar works, and reveals some recurring themes and motifs. Many of her pieces explore sensations of tension - weight and vulnerability, arrested motion, visibility and obscurity - through combinations of materials such as fur and metal or the juxtaposition of objects like the empty industrial-size cable wheel held still by a steel post in 'Full Stop'. In 'Mischief', the work that gives the exhibition its title, a wooden chair has lost its seat and one leg traps a white bridal train that turns out to be an unrolled strip of plastic carrier bags, while 'No Time for Commas' has a tied-up bag scurrying endlessly around inside an upturned table top, not revealing what's in the bag, nor in cupboards turned to the wall, nor why a cable disappears into a plan-chest. Bullets, petrol, gas pipes and broken glass feature in many of her pieces, which share a knack of revealing the link between surface calm and unexpected turbulence beneath. Wit, mischief and enigma also pervade her drawings, striking a similar balance between the delicate, the funny and the menacing, as row upon row of buttons become a crowd of spectators, and watercolour blotches take on the character of objects that cannot quite be identified - except when one becomes an elephant on wheels. Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, until 13th March.