News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th February 2004

Commencing

Vuillard: From Post-Impressionist To Modern Master is a retrospective of one of the main practitioners of Intimisme - intimate domestic genre painting - in the 1890s. Edouard Vuillard was one of the group of artists who formed Les Nabis - The Prophets - who were particularly influenced by Paul Gauguin's use of simplified forms, colour and symbolism. Eschewing naturalism, while choosing naturalistic subjects, he transformed scenes of everyday life into paintings of emotional power and psychological drama. Vuillard also painted portraits of icons from the world of theatre and fashion, still life and landscapes, and created works for the avant-garde theatre, including lithographed programmes, posters and set designs. Later in his career, Vuillard was commissioned to paint large scale decorative panels of urban landscapes and parks. Vuillard enthusiastically embraced the new technology of photography in the late 1890s, capturing his family, friends and fellow artists, offering a glimpse into his private life. This is the first exhibition to explore Vuillard's photographic output fully, and reveals the ways photography influenced his later paintings. Comprising over 200 works, spanning the fin-de-siecle through to the 1930s, this exhibition presents the full range and diversity of Vuillard's work for the first time. Royal Academy until 18th April.

The Art Of Influence: Highlights From The Walter Crane Archive is a selection from the recently acquired archive of material from the studio of a leading figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement. The display offers a unique perspective on the art, design and politics of Walter Crane. The Arts and Crafts Movement reacted against the unconstrained industrialisation of the late 19th century, embracing a 'back to nature' philosophy, and offering great respect to craftsmen and their work, as opposed to the mass produced and machine made. The exhibition brings to life Crane's values and vision through drawings, sketches, original designs for book illustrations, diaries, notebooks, photographs and press cuttings, spanning his entire career. The drawings and illustrations demonstrate his mastery of design and skilful absorption of varied historical influences. These traits are also clear in Crane's work as an interior decorator and commercial designer, employed by the major manufacturers of his day in ceramics, glass, textiles and wallpaper. He developed a style dependent on a strong use of line and an interest in symbolism that was instantly recognisable. The archive material is complemented by a selection of Crane's paintings, wallpapers and textile designs, together providing an insight into the artistic, commercial and political fabric of his life. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 23rd May.

Connected London: 125 Years Of The Telephone looks at the accelerating pace of change in communications in the capital. It charts the milestones of the journey, with a Bell patent telephone of 1878; the first London phone directory, issued in 1880, which listed just 250 subscribers; a standard 'No.1' wall telephone of 1910, with a separate ear piece; the first Red public telephone kiosk of 1926; the launch of the Speaking Clock in 1936; the introduction of the '999'emergency service in 1937, followed by the arrival of Dr Who style blue police telephone boxes; the gold 2 millionth London telephone of 1954; a warbling Trimphone of 1966, the UK's first mobile phone call made by Ernie Wise from St Katharine's Dock in 1985; and the most advanced mobile phone, the Sendo X, which soon to be launched in Britain. As well as the actual hardware, there are film and sound recordings that recreate the very different experience from today, when calls handled personally by operators. In addition, the exhibition explores how Londoners connected with each other before the phone, with a letter sent by pigeon post in 1846, a letter sent from Paris to London by balloon in 1870, and Suffragette telegrams of 1911. It also looks at the phenomenal success of the mobile, with ever increasing capabilities, and speculates on possible future developments, like e-voting and e-trading. Museum of London until 25th April.

Continuing

Bosch And Bruegel: Inventions, Enigmas And Variations brings together paintings, drawings and engravings that demonstrate the influence of Hieronymus Bosch on Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Although Bruegel was born several years after Bosch's death, he was known in his lifetime as a 'second Bosch', and he was familiar with and emulated his predecessor's work, sharing with him a supreme command of colour and pattern. This exhibition concentrates on the originality of the two artists, and their brilliance as designers and painters. Both were highly inventive artists, who made an important contribution to our visual heritage, profoundly influencing the fantasies and perceptions of succeeding generations. Two early versions of Bosch's 'Adoration of the Kings' were investigated during recent cleaning, and offer a new insight into the connections with the 'Crowning with Thorns' by Bosch, and Bruegel's 'Adoration of the Kings' which can be examined here. Also in the exhibition are Bruegel's 'Death of the Virgin', which is in a tradition of grisaille painting that owes much to Bosch's innovations, and Bruegel's drawing 'Avarice', which is inhabited by Bosch-like demons and scattered with fantastic buildings in the architectural style of Bosch. Bruegel, however, was more interested in humanity than Bosch, and his 'Everyman' represents a frantic searching for self-knowledge, advantage and possession. National Gallery until 4th April.

The Shape Of Ideas is an exhibition of small scale sculpture, models and maquettes by some of the most important and innovative artists of the twentieth century. It includes both familiar and rarely seen works, many on display for the first time. Sculptors use models to explore ideas and materials, as a way of thinking about form and space in three dimensions. Models are often provisional, and as a record of thought in progress, may appear in different variants. This thought becomes fixed in the maquette, a small scale version of a final work. However, the cost of making large sculpture often means that a maquette is the only way a sculptor can realise ideas. Some sculptors have used the notion of scale or relative size as the focus for the work itself, and the small sculptures included in this display are finished works in which scale is an essential element. Among the artists represented here are Naum Gabo, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Barbara Hepworth, Joan Miro, Henry Moore and Kurt Schwitters. Works on display include a group of submissions for the competition run by Institute for Contemporary Art in 1952 for a monument to the Unknown Political Prisoner, which attracted 140 proposals from all over the world. The event was won by Reg Butler, but sadly the full size sculpture was never built. Tate Liverpool until 31st May.

Ancient Myths And Legends examines classical imagery in the decoration of European fans of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition of over 60 fans and fan leaves shows in the subjects depicted, the influence of antiquity and the classical tradition on painters, makers and collectors. Scenes from the lives of the Gods, the Trojan War, the Heroes and Women in ancient times are all surveyed and explained. The exhibition reveals the origins of the subject matter depicted, which has been discovered by investigation into related paintings, prints and sculptures. The permanent collection has over 3,500 fans and fan leaves, with examples from all over the world from the 11th century to the present day. The collection is particularly strong in European fans of the 18th and 19th centuries. Fan making workshops are held on the first Saturday afternoon of each month, lasting approximately 3 hours, during which the participants make two fans, one of the traditional Chinese shape, and the other of the Fontange shape, an early 20th century design. Further information can be found on the Fan Museum web site via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet. The Fan Museum, Greenwich until 9th May.

William West And The Regency Toy Theatre celebrates a great British institution on the 150th anniversary of the death of its inventor. In 1811, William West, a London haberdasher, began to issue sheets of engraved figures from current theatrical productions as an amusement for children. The phrase 'penny plain and twopence coloured' was coined to describe these prints, hand-coloured in deep hues. When children started to use them to perform the plays on miniature stages, West found that he had accidentally stumbled on a new career. He developed and perfected the idea over the next twenty years, commissioning wooden theatres for sale, and publishing plays that crossed the boundary from souvenir to practical toy. Later works by his successors John Redington and Benjamin Pollock are possibly better known, but this exhibition is devoted to West's pioneering work in creating the English toy theatre. It offers an insight into the childhood pursuits, scenic art, production style and popular culture of the period. The Regency toy theatre is closely related to the development of the architecture of its time, displaying the same historical and exotic styles, and effects of colour, perspective and lighting that were familiar to theatre audiences. This exhibition features the best of West's characters and scenes from the 146 miniature plays he produced. Associated material shows his sources, including scene designs, playbills and scripts, from the exotic melodramas produced at Covent Garden, Drury Lane, the Olympic and Astley's Amphitheatre. Sir John Soane's Museum until 27 March.

Kerry Harker: Miniature Masterpieces Of Delicacy, Humour And Colour is the culmination of a year's work by the recipient of the Vickers Award, examining the heritage of the porcelain industry at the Royal Crown Derby factory. Harker is a conceptual artist who re-interprets photographic imagery, often condensing pop and film celebrities to their most unforgettable features: Elvis's quiff and Marilyn's lips. Here she has produced a series of plates, which straddle the line between the fine and decorative arts. Elements of print were used on the factory's tablewares alongside collage and hand painting to create tableaux from the history of the industry, recalling the narrative tradition in antique Chinese porcelain. There are also 40 small oil paintings derived from the porcelain collection. Slides of archive photographs were projected onto canvas, and the object's outline traced in black linework against a flat coloured ground echoing the original porcelain 'ground' colours. The paintings are installed in a grid format following the placement of the porcelain collection in glass display cabinets, contrasting the differing modes of display for painting and ceramics. In addition, two large circular canvasses utilise an eclectic mix of visual elements, drawn from the porcelain archive, Disney, Manga, natural history and road signage, placed against the same flat 'ground' colours. Derby Art Gallery until 7th March.

Paintings And Drawings From The National Gallery Of Scotland:From Raphael To The Glasgow Boys is part of the celebration of the National Art Collections Fund's centenary, showcasing works it has helped Edinburgh's National Gallery of Scotland to acquire. The exhibition comprises forty paintings, prints and drawings by a wide range of artists, with Old Master paintings ranging from Renaissance Italy to Golden Age Denmark, and important prints and drawings that are not on permanent display for conservation reasons. At its core, are a group of English drawings and watercolours by Turner, Blake, Girtin, Constable, Cotman and Rowlandson. There are also Old Master drawings, among them Raphael's chalk drawing 'Kneeling Nude Woman with her Left Arm Raised', Poussin's preparatory drawing for 'The Dance to the Music of Time', which can be seen alongside the finished work for the first time, Rembrandt's etching 'Ecce Homo', and Ingres portrait of Mlle Hayard. Scottish paintings and drawings in the show include Joseph Crawhall's 'The White Drake', and works by Alexander Nasmyth, George Henry and David Gauld. The Wallace Collection until 18th April.

Concluding

Illuminating The Renaissance: The Triumph Of Flemish Manuscript Painting In Europe brings together some of the greatest works of the quintessential medieval art form, painted between 1470 and 1560. In the wake of the invention of printing, Flemish illuminators created extravagant and lavish manuscripts in which their art was revitalized and given new direction, resulting in some of the most colourful and luminous examples of the late medieval era. Their work was characterised by innovations in colour, light and texture, and naturalistic detail and illusionism, which rivalled the best panel panting of the period. Flemish illuminators also gave attention to the borders surrounding the text and accompanying miniatures. Previously stylised and two dimensional, they brought them to life with vivid, naturalistic detail, so that at first glance it might seem as though the text was actually surrounded with flowers, fruits and insects. The manuscripts displayed here reveal the full range of sizes and formats in which illuminators worked, from a monumental genealogy to diminutive private altarpieces on parchment, from huge folio sized volumes to tiny prayer books, and from single independent miniatures to books containing a hundred or more examples. The types of texts also vary, from histories, chronicles and romances, to Christian devotional writings, breviaries and books of hours. The fact that they have rarely been displayed means that the colours they retain their brilliance despite being 500 years old. The Royal Academy until 22nd February.

Thomas Jones In Italy features the work of one of the most innovative, yet least known British artists from the second half of the 18th century. Jones small oil-sketches, painted during travels around Italy in the 1770s and 1780s, are masterpieces of observation and concision, while his 'Memoirs' are the most complete and compelling records of an artist's life at the time. Neither were known until about 50 years ago, when their rediscovery led to the recognition that a major artist had been all but forgotten. This exhibition includes 70 informal oil-sketches, drawings and watercolours, painted in Rome and Naples, and the surrounding countryside. Jones speciality was architectural landscapes, or to be precise the depiction of walls - the more decrepit the better - and thus he was in his element in southern Italy. Although the sketches were made as records of locations, to be incorporated in later paintings created in his studio back in England, the acuteness of their observation and their freshness make them works of art in their own right. Among those included here is 'A Wall in Naples' of about 1782, recognised as a masterpiece of the oil-sketch tradition. National Gallery until 15th February.

Follow A Shadow centres on that magical process described by William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of photography, as 'the art of fixing a shadow'. In collaboration with installation artist Geraldine Pilgrin and lighting designer Chahine Yavroyan, Simon Warner has created a film installation that combines objects, lighting and image to transform two galleries into a counterpoint of black and white - an allegory for both the silhouette and photography's positive and negative. Warner's dual environments evoke the lost world of the 19th century silhouette portraitist, including custom made reproductions of the curious and long obsolete silhouette chair. Projected within the installation, Warner's film takes visitors on a journey through the origins of photography, tracing a brief history of the shadow. The central character re-enacts the legend of Korinthea, the Greek maiden who outlined the shadow of her departing lover on the wall, and thus became the first recorded portraitist. It recasts the legend in photographic terms, using photosensitive chemicals and paper to 'capture' the fleeting shadow of a figure in a life size silhouette portrait, and a selection of these is included elsewhere in the exhibition. The installation traces the destiny of the silhouette not to the realism of the lens based photographic image as we know it, but to an alternative and archaic Victorian demi-monde of peep shows, zoetropes and magic lanterns. Impressions Gallery, York until 14th February.