News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd May 2006


Kew Palace, King George III's country retreat, has reopened following a 10 year £6.6m conservation and restoration programme. The interiors have been faithfully redecorated and furnished as the Royal family would have known them. George III, Queen Charlotte and their family spent time at Kew away from the public eye while the King recuperated from his illness. A domestic Royal residence, Kew's small and modest layout and appearance was a stark contrast to typical Royal palaces with grand and opulent State apartments. Following detailed archaeological and archival research, the interior decor of the palace's first floor rooms have been returned to their former glory, with bright green verditer wallpaper, contrasting with vivid black, gold and red furnishings. Fitted carpets, a relatively new fashion in early 1800, have been recreated using designs from an historic archive, and traditional techniques employed to produce handmade green and black flocked wallpaper, and furnishing fabrics and chintzs. This insight into Georgian taste and style is revealed in the Drawing and Dining Rooms, The Queen's Boudoir and the Bedchambers of Queen Charlotte and Princess Elizabeth. Among the objects and artefacts displayed, including personal belongings of King George, Queen Charlotte and their children, are a replica of a wax life mask of the King created by Madame Tussaud, a Dolls House made by the young Princesses, a harpsichord that belonged to George III's father, a waistcoat worn by the King later in his life, and the chair in which Queen Charlotte died at Kew in 1818. Kew Palace, continuing.

Roger Hiorns is the first major solo exhibition in Britain of the artist who transforms everyday objects into something unconventional. It comprises work from the last five years, together with a new commission. The first section is the largest assembled selection of Hiorns's copper sulphate dipped car engines, where BMW 8 series engines become coral-like forms cocooned within a crust of blue crystals. The engine of 'The Architect's Mother' is attached to similarly dipped cardboard models of cathedrals, suggesting religious relics, while in 'Nunhead', two engines are placed opposite one another suggesting the profiles of heads. The second element of the exhibition consists of Hiorns's ceramics, in which variously shaped vessels containing soap solution are suspended from the ceiling. The feeding of air into them results in the creation of a white foam, which grows upwards in columns, before eventually collapsing to the floor. The final part of the exhibition is the new commission, which experiments with chemical reactions, by applying substances such as disinfectant, saliva, perfume and detergent to a group of steel sculptures. Accompanying this is his film 'Benign', which reflects Hiorns's interest in the transgression and ritual. An excerpt from a play, written by Hiorons and delivered by an actor in monologue, describes a group's act against an individual, exploring ideas of ceremony, decay, compulsion and acceptance. Milton Keynes Gallery until 28th May.

Van Gogh And Britain: Pioneer Collectors consists of paintings and drawings by one of the most influential figures in 20th century art, acquired by British collectors in the period before 1939. In focusing on this early taste for the artist, the exhibition reveals that some 90 works formed part of British collections before the Second World War. Works on display include 'Portrait of Alexander Reid', 'Wheat Field with Cypresses', 'Vase with Oleanders and Books', 'Orchard in Blossom', 'Landscape at Auvers in the Rain', and 'Farmhouse in Provence'. The exhibition also features rarely seen archive material relating to the collectors of Van Gogh's work, including catalogues of the earliest exhibitions held in Britain, newspaper reviews of these exhibitions, photographs, and correspondence relating to the works.

Francis Bacon and Franz Xaver Messerschmidt is a complementary exhibition, with Francis Bacon's 'Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh', inspired by Van Gough's working self portrait 'The Painter on the Road to Tarascon', considered by some to be Bacon's most animated work. Shown alongside, are a series of self portrait sculpted heads by the 18th century Viennese Court sculptor Messerschmidt. Both Bacon and Van Gogh were painters of physical sensation, and Messerschmidt's 'Character Heads' record the artist's own tortured expressions - a register of the human condition in its rawest form.

Compton Verney, Warwickshire until 18th June


All Spirit And Fire: Oil Sketches By Tiepolo features the work of the Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who is principally known for his monumental frescoes and altarpieces. Yet much of his finest work can be appreciated in the small oil sketches that he made in association with these grand compositions. They exemplify the qualities of 'all spirit and fire', which contemporaries saw as characteristic of Tiepolo's work. The sketches were produced as quick studies from life, capturing a first artistic idea, and used as a small version of a large scale painting, for presentation to a patron, or reference by his workshop. The evolution of key commissions is reconstructed through the juxtaposition of some 35 drawings and paintings, including groups that have not been seen together since they left the artist's studio. These range from Tiepolo's first surviving oil study for a ceiling fresco in the Palazzo Sandi in Venice, to a group of sketches made late in his career in Spain. They offer an examination of how Tiepolo's preparatory works in the different media of paint, chalk and ink informed his creativity throughout his career. One of Tiepolo's most distinctive characteristics was his constant development and reinvigoration of motifs and narrative ideas in new forms. This is illustrated by six paintings and drawings of Anthony and Cleopatra, from the decoration in the Palazzo Labia in Venice, developed from earlier paintings, through two oil sketches 'The Banquet of Cleopatra' and the 'Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra', to even later ideas for his 'Cleopatra' cycles. Courtauld Institute Gallery until 29th May.

Sixty Years Of Sculpture In The Arts Council Collection presents 60 works by the leading figures and the rising stars of British art, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection. Presented chronologically, the show starts with some of the earliest acquisitions, including pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, continues with work by a 'Next Generation' of sculptors such as Anthony Caro and William Tucker, and concludes with some of the newest acquisitions by artists including Gareth Jones and Eva Rothschild. Among the highlights are Anya Gallaccio's 'can love remember the question and the answer', featuring 60 scarlet gerbera flowers set behind the glass panels of an antique door, which will decay during the course of the exhibition; film of a performance by the 'living sculptures', Gilbert & George; Tony Cragg's rainbow coloured installation made from discarded everyday objects; and Anish Kapoor's sculpture featuring heaps of coloured pigment.

James Turrell: Deer Shelter Skyspace is a new work by the 'sculptor of light', who for over 40 years has used light and space to create art installations that extend and enhance perception - from indoor pieces, which attempt to baffle the senses by creating an illusion of infinite diffused light, to 'Skyspaces'. Behind an 18th century Grade II Listed deer shelter, Turrell has created a permanent 'Skyspace', consisting of a large square chamber with an aperture cut into the roof, through which the visitor is offered a heightened vision of the sky, seemingly transformed into a trompe l'oeil painting. This has made a place of contemplation and revelation, harnessing the changing light of the sky.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, Sixty Years Of Sculpture until 25th June.

Steve Bell Does Art marks 25 years of the 'If...' strip cartoon published in the Guardian, by featuring over 350 of the best known strips, plus other political cartoons by Bell, including those published during the Falklands War, which helped to make his name. Prior to finding a home at the Guardian, Bell's freelance career embraced the New Statesman, Punch, NME, City Limits, Private Eye and Time Out, where one of his first strips was 'Maggie's Farm', which was condemned in the House of Lords as 'an almost obscene series of caricatures'. Since 1990 he has produced four large free standing cartoons a week on the leader pages of the Guardian. Bell has created many lasting images of politicians over the years, such as John Major as Superman with his underpants over his trousers, and John Prescott as a simple minded bulldog, and he was the first person to spot that the mad eyed stare of "call me Tony" Blair, is eerily reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher. In addition to the cartoons, the exhibition also includes over 30 of Bell's less well known respectful art pastiches, which either copy revered artworks, or draw on the style of historical artists. References include Michelango, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Turner and Ford Madox Brown. University of Leeds Gallery until 16th June.

Bellini And The East explores the impact of the East on the work of the 15th century Venetian painter, Gentile Bellini. The exhibition focuses on this interaction between three cultures: Venetian, Byzantine and Turkish, and three religions: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and Islam. Bellini was Venice's most prestigious painter, and between 1479 and 1481, the Venetian Senate sent him to work for the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. This exhibition brings together for the first time all the works made while Bellini was in Turkey. His portrait 'The Sultan Mehmet II' is shown together with medals of the Sultan by Bellini and other European artists. First hand knowledge of the Islamic civilisations of the Mediterranean is demonstrated by the accurate depictions of particular objects in his paintings, including the Anatolian prayer mat in 'Virgin and Child Enthroned'. The intricately patterned and gilded 'Seated Scribe', while wholly Venetian in style, shows the influence of Islamic techniques in its colouring and gilding. The painting is displayed with a group of drawings depicting men and women whom Bellini saw in Istanbul. Many former Greek territories became Venetian colonies, reflected by Bellini's portrait 'Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus', and his work began to show further discernable influences. While 'Cardinal Bessarion and the Bessarion Reliquary', represents the Greek Reliquary Cross in a naturalistic Venetian style, other works, such as 'Madonna and Child', show traces of the iconic Greek style. National Gallery until 25th June.

Dynamics And Function: Realised Visions Of A Cosmopolitan Architect celebrates the life and work of Erich Mendelsohn, who, with Serge Chermayeff, designed the De La Warr Pavilion, the first public Modernist building in Britain. With his earliest buildings, the Einstein Tower in Potsdam, the hat factory in Luckenwalde and the Mosse Building in Berlin, Mendelsohn catapulted himself to the forefront of the avant-garde. He subsequently designed department stores, commercial buildings, factories and private houses in Germany, the Soviet Union, Norway, England, Palestine and the USA. This exhibition includes models, sketches, photographs and plans of Mendelsohn's buildings, revealing how his architectural style developed throughout his life.

Motion Path is a twelve screen video work by Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone, shot in four of Mendelsohn's major public buildings: the Schocken department store in Chemnitz, The Metal Workers' Union Building in Berlin, the B'nai Amoona Synagogue in St. Louis, and the De La Warr Pavilion. The camera glides through each building, revealing the spaces as a set of changing relationships between vistas, voids, solids, reflections and apertures.

Bridget Smith: Rebuild is Smith's photographic record, charting the 3 year £8m refurbishment programme that restored the De La Warr Pavilion to its former glory.

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea until 2nd July.

Shared Experience: Art And War examines how Britain, Australia and Canada lived through and recorded the Second World War. The exhibition combines paintings and sculpture from the collections of the War Museums of the three nations to compare and contrast national and individual stories from the greatest world conflict in human history. Featuring works by British war artists Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, Leonard Rosoman, and Australian and Canadian artists Sidney Nolan, Stella Bowen, Russell Drysdale, Miller Brittain, Alex Colville and Pegi Nicol MacLeod, many of which are being shown in the UK for the first time, it aims to capture the breadth and depth of the impact the war had on individual lives across the globe. The paintings and sculptures are grouped into themes: Battle reflects heroism and excitement alongside the inevitable destruction and loss; Military Service depicts the waiting and preparing as well as actual fighting; Civilian Work acknowledges the way society was re-ordered, through the effects of new technology and the need to replace workers and increase output; Captivity and Casualties attempts to reflect the constraints and the demands placed on people, and the price they had to pay, both at the time and afterwards; and Home and Leisure includes dreams of escape, fleeting pleasures, living with loss, the celebration of peace and the return home. Imperial War Museum until 25th June.


Americans In Paris 1860 - 1900 examines the work of the American artists drawn to Paris to study and work during the second half of the 19th century. The exhibition includes works by high profile artists such as James McNeill Whistler, including his 'White Girl' (hugely controversial when first shown at the notorious Salon des Refuses of 1863) and 'Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 Portrait of the Artist's Mother'; and John Singer Sargent, including the painting that helped make him a sensation in Paris 'Portrait of Madame X', 'The Daughters of Edward Darley', 'Portrait of Carolus-Duran', 'Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood' and 'In the Luxembourg Gardens'. Alongside there are artists who are less familiar, such as Theodore Robinson - 'The Wedding March'; Henry Ossawa Tanner - 'The Young Sabot Maker'; Willard Leroy Metcalf - 'In the Cafe (Au Cafe)' and 'The Ten Cent Breakfast'; and Frank Weston Benson - 'Eleanor'. Something like a third of American art students in Paris at this time were women, and among those represented here are Cecilia Beaux; Elizabeth Nourse; Ellen Day Hale - 'Self Portrait'; Elizabeth Jane Gardner (the first American woman to win a medal at the Paris Salon) - 'The Shepherd David'; Mary Fairchild - 'In the Nursery - Giverny Studio'; and Mary Cassatt (the only American to show with the French Impressionists) - 'Young Woman in Black (Portrait of Madame J)'.

Cassatt was also an accomplished print maker, and a separate solo exhibition includes prints from all stages of her career.

National Gallery until 21st May.

Tropicalia: A Revolution In Brazilian Culture 1967 - 72 endeavours to capture the revolutionary movement that influenced the art, politics, music and fashion that exploded onto the cultural scene of late 1960's Brazil - the South American equivalent of Swinging London. It revisits the energy and excitement of this seminal moment in Brazilian culture, and examines its relationship with the complicated urban and political landscape of Latin America in the late '60s and early '70s. The exhibition includes over 250 exhibits, showcasing the range and breadth of the movement, including album covers, fashion, posters, documentaries, advertising, books, pop influenced paintings, theatre sets, architectural drawings and models, television footage and music. At its centre is a recreation of Helio Oiticica's 1969 Whitechapel Art Gallery installation 'Tropicalia', comprising straw beds, tents pitched on an indoor sandy beach dotted tropical plants, gravel walkways between wicker screens, live parrots, the music of Caetano Veloso and ramshackle huts evoking the shanty town dwellings of a Brazilian favella. The exhibition also includes seminal works by visual artists of the era, including Lygia Clark, Amilcar De Castro, Antonia Dias and Lygia Pape. The movement continues to have an impact on a new generation of artists, writers and musicians working in Brazil today, who are represented by Arto Lindsay, Marepe, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander and Dominique Gonzalez-Forster. Let the sunshine in! Barbican Gallery until 21st May.

Pre-Raphaelite Drawings is a rare chance to see some of the gallery's Pre-Raphaelite drawings and watercolours, which are so delicate and rare that they are normally kept in storage to preserve them from fading. The star turn is a recent acquisition, John Everett Millais's early ink on paper drawing 'Cymon and Iphigenia', which is on public display for the first time. Millais later revisited the subject in oils, which can be seen alongside the drawing. The exhibition includes 35 pencil, charcoal, chalk, ink and watercolour drawings, and is a mixture of preparatory studies for well known paintings, including precise sketches of Holman Hunt's 'The Scapegoat', together with stand alone works, both portraits (often studies of fellow Pre-Raphaelites as well as family and friends) and landscapes that exemplify the 'truth to nature' aesthetic. It explores the development of the style of the movement, from their brightly coloured early works displaying precision and detail, based on realistic observation of specific things and places, to the later, looser and more generalised, works, depicting imaginary scenes and poetical concepts, which are more muted in colour. There are contributions by many of the Brotherhood, including Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, Edward Burne-Jones, George Price Boyce, Daniel Alexander Williamson and Marie Spartali Stillmann. Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight until 14th May.