News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th October 2006


Cezanne In Britain is a retrospective focussing entirely on works held in British collections to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Paul Cezanne. Although he never came to Britain, thanks to pioneer collectors, this country now holds one of the world's most outstanding collections of works by Cezanne, and about fourty five of them have been selected for this display. The exhibition traces the full development of Cezanne's art, comprising paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints, and covers his wide range of subject matter: portraits, still lifes and landscapes. World renowned and trademark paintings, such as 'The Bathers' and 'Mont Sainte-Victoire', are shown alongside rarely seen works, including an earlier prototype for 'The Bathers', seen in public for the first time. The successive styles of Cezanne's career are represented: expressive works 'painted as though with mud' of the 1860s such as 'The Abduction' and 'The Autopsy'; 'Impressionist' pictures made during the 1870s, showing a lighter palette as in 'Pool at the Jas de Bouffan'; 'synthetic' works from the 1880s and 1890s such as 'The Card Players'; and finally, serene and highly resolved paintings from the later period of his life, such as the 'Still Life with Teapot'. From the early portrait of 1862, 'The Painter's Father, Louis-Auguste Cezanne', to one of his last paintings, the 'Portrait of Gardener Vallier' made in 1906, the exhibition reflects the forty year artistic journey of a solitary man who relentlessly looked for perfection. National Gallery until 7th January.

Francis Bacon: Paintings From The 1950s explores the major themes that interested Bacon between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, affording an unprecedented insight into his imaginative powers, as well as his constantly evolving sources and techniques. This was the period during which Bacon created many of the most central and memorable images of his career, from the screaming heads and snarling chimpanzees, through the early Popes and portraits of Van Gogh, to the anonymous figures trapped in tortured isolation. For a painter whose imagination so rarely strayed beyond the walls of dark claustrophobic interiors, there were even glimpses of landscape, recollections of Africa and the South of France. It was a period that saw Bacon still searching for himself, and eager to explore a variety of impressions and take all kinds of risks. Throughout his life, Bacon carefully controlled the way his work was selected and presented, ensuring that in all exhibitions the emphasis was placed on his most recent paintings - especially on the late triptychs. As a result, works from the earlier half of his career have received much less attention. This exhibition attempts to rectify that, and among some seventy paintings, including 'Study (Imaginary Portrait of Pope Pius XII)', 'Two Figures in a Room' and 'Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh I', which some people consider to be his greatest work, there are a number that have rarely been seen in public before. Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts, Norwich until 10th December.

First And Last Loves: John Betjeman And Architecture features the writings, recordings and films of John Betjeman, in a celebration of his life long passion for architecture. The exhibition brings together rare archive material, photographic and film footage, as well as original art work from Betjeman's friends and contemporaries, such as John Piper. It is an intimate show, rather like visiting Betjeman's library and being able to look around his own rooms, hung with his pictures and decorated with objects he liked. From his bicycle tours of Oxford as a young student, to his hard fought campaigns to save endangered Victorian masterpieces such as St Pancras Station in the 1960s, architecture remained Betjeman's great love. Following a spell at the Architectural Review in the 1930s, he went on to edit the iconic Shell Guides, which steered motorists around historic buildings county by county, and after the Second World War, became increasingly well known as for his television work, which reached its peak with the classic film Metroland. As well as encouraging a better understanding of Britain's greatest towns and buildings, Betjeman was a tireless promoter of the marginal, the overlooked and the obscure. His love for Victoriana (he was a founder member of the Victorian Society in 1958) and his passionate pleas to preserve Britain's railway architecture is credited with instigating the great revival of interest in buildings of the 19th century. The exhibition provides both a feast of new material and a rare opportunity to view vintage footage of one of the greatest architectural writers and broadcasters of the 20th century. Sir John Soane's Museum, London until 30th December.


Holbein In England features the work produced in England under the patronage of the Tudor court and for Henry VIII by Hans Holbein, who effectively brought the Renaissance in painting from continental Europe to Britain. Comprising 160 works, including 40 portrait and subject paintings, as well as portrait drawings, decorative designs and prints, it is largest collection of Holbein's work to be seen in Britain in over fifty years. The exhibition shows the range of his skill and accomplishment as an artist, developing a finely poised balance between individualised character and ideal presentation. It also documents the personalities and court life in Tudor England, reflecting the unsettled history and politics of the time. The selection concentrates on Holbein's two periods working in London: 1526 - 1528 under the patronage of Sir Thomas More, and 1532 - 1543 when his patron was Henry VIII - the time during which his best known portraits were painted. Among the highlights are the portraits of Henry VIII, his wife Jane Seymour and their young son, later Edward VI, reunited for the first time in many centuries; a drawing for a group portrait of Sir Thomas More and his family, with detailed instructions for the composition handwritten by More, back in London after 500 years; and individual portraits of More, Erasmus, William Roper, Archbishop Wareham and Anne of Cleves. The exhibition also highlights Holbein's contribution to the revolution in English decorative design, examining the ways in which his understanding of new classical decoration was applied to designs for goldsmiths, as well as to the composition of large scale paintings. Tate Britain until 7th January.

A Secret Service: Art, Compulsion, Concealment shows off the work of 15 international artists and groups whose practices centre on the creation of secret worlds, or the exposure of hidden facts and images. It includes key figures of Modern art, established and emerging contemporary artists, and also outsiders and those operating beyond the mainstream. Together, they address numerous aspects of secrecy: magic, alchemy, sexuality, dreams, religion, political conspiracy, assumed identity and the covert workings of the State. A highlight is Kurt Schwitters's final creation 'The Merzbarn', a rare surviving example of his four Merzbuildings - complex, architectural constructions created from refuse and found objects - seen only by a few trusted friends during his lifetime. The Merzbuildings remain confounding riddles, and the exhibition includes rarely seen documentation of the Merzbuildings in conjunction with a specially commissioned new work by Turner Prize nominee Mike Nelson. Among the work by outsiders, there is a presentation of watercolours by the reclusive Chicago janitor Henry Darger, whose illustrations for the fantasy novel In the Realms of the Unreal came to light only at the very end of his life. The full list of other artists comprises: Sophie Calle, Roberto Cuoghi, Gedewon, Susan Hiller, Tehching Hsieh, Katarzyna Jozefowicz, Joachim Koester, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Mark Lombardi, The Speculative Archive, Jeffrey Vallance and Oskar Voll. Hatton Gallery, Newcastle until 11th November.

Chinoiserie explores the decorative styles of the Orient, and their creative inspiration, as reflected in fan designs of 18th century Europe. As trade grew between Europe and the Orient, 'exotic' imported eastern goods became popular, and these commodities offered inspiration to home grown artists and craftsmen, who interpreted the Orient through a European perspective, and thus Chinoiserie was born. As the 18th century progressed, the vogue for Chinoiserie swept across Europe, each country adopting its own interpretation of the style. Fans, an essential fashion item for all ladies of quality, were an ideal medium for reflecting and expressing the style - and at a considerably more realistic price than building the Brighton Pavilion - and so they were decorated with miniature visions of an imaginary country of gentle dragons and moustachioed mandarins. However, just as the fantastic onion domes and ogee arches of the Pavilion pay little regard to geographical accuracy, so does the marriage of European and Oriental design of the fans and other fashion objects featured in this exhibition. Pink cheeked Europeans are dressed in Oriental costumes, situated in landscapes that combine elements of the Orient and European pastoral idylls. With loans from the Bowes Museum and elsewhere joining a selection from the resident collection, the exhibition sheds light on the enduring appeal of Oriental design in the west. Furthermore the location, an 18th century house, with its own oriental style garden, forms a perfect back drop against which to display these objects. The Fan Museum, Greenwich, until 26th November.

Rodin the sculptor who heralded the modern age, receives his first London retrospective for 20 years, with a chronological display that explores his inspiration, from studies of unposed models to a love of antiquities. It begins with Auguste Rodin's early contacts and first recognition, introduces his special relationship with Britain, and explores how the support of a few artists, writers, business men, politicians and aristocrats led to recognition by an international public. Rodin brought monumental public sculpture into the 20th century, breaking with traditional and calssical sculpting methods, creating clay representations of moving models, from which a plaster copy would be taken, and after further refinement bronze casts would be made. 'The Gates of Hell', his first major public monument, 'The Burghers of Calais', 'The Age of Bronze', 'The Kiss', 'St John the Baptist' and a large version of 'The Thinker' feature amongst 200 pieces on display, including works in marble, bronze terracotta and plaster. Rodin was also a talented draughtsman and his lyrical, erotic drawings and tiny clay sketches are shown alongside period photographs of his work, together with many large plasters that have never before been exhibited outside France, largely from the Musee Rodin and the store at his home at Meudon. In his later years Rodin made many portrait busts of British people, especially members of London society, including George Wyndham, the Countess of Warwick, Lady Sackville, Eve Fairfax and George Bernard Shaw. Royal Academy of Arts until 1st January.

John Gotto: Floodscapes explores the shifting relationship of painting and photography in John Gotto's work, leading to a synthesis in digital photography. Over the past 25 years the combination of painting and photography, and their respective histories and traditions, has been Gotto's preoccupation, and employing this process, he has related global issues to everyday situations, viewed through his uniquely satirical eye. This exhibition is centred on a series of digitally manipulated ecological allegories, following the fortunes of a crew of Hooray Henries and Essex Girls adrift on the Thames, as the flood waters rise and their smug privileges are washed away.

Derby Museum And Art Gallery until 22nd October.

John Gotto's New World Circus examines the current international situation through the form of a circus performance. Gotto uses a mixture of models, mannequins and actors within his brilliantly coloured big top. American patriotic emblems, army uniforms, cowboy outfits, Union Jacks, shalwar kameez costumes, Disney characters and military insignia are mixed in with traditional circus apparel, creating an disquieting bricolage. The artistes' costumes and the acts they perform reference both the history and traditions of the circus going back to Commedia dell'arte, and the war on terror as played out in the new world order.

Focal Point Gallery, Southend until 21st October.

Poetic Prints: An Insight Into The Art Of Illustration brings together a selection of prints, books and photographs to explore the relationship between word and image, reflecting how over the centuries, artists have been inspired by both poetry and prose. The concept is of course unfashionable nowadays, but exhibition includes a diverse range of works, from William Blake's 'Illustrations to the Book of Job' to Marc Chagall's etchings of the 'Fables of La Fontaine'. In addition, a number of books are also on display, including Eclogues of Virgil by Samuel Palmer and The Well at the World's End by William Morris. The show highlights the range of different ways in which artists respond to poetry and prose, bringing new interpretations to the text. Patrick Caulfield's images are not typical illustrations but are inspired by the desire to gain greater understanding of Jules Laforgue's melancholic poems. This approach contrasts with the wood engravings of Gertrude Hermes and Blair Hughes-Stanton, which are symbolic but faithful illustrations to the text of John Bunyon's book Pilgrim's Progress. Many of the works included here have not previously been on show and have been specially conserved for this exhibition. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, until 18th November.


Angus McBean: Portraits is the first retrospective devoted to one of the most significant British photographers of the 20th century. It brings together over 100 photographs in black and white and colour, including a large number of vintage prints. These reveal the full range of Angus McBean's work, from surrealist portraits of the 1930s, through a period as the most important photographer of theatre and dance personalities of the 1940s and 1950s, to his re-emergence as a chronicler of pop music, including his Beatles first album cover, in the 1960s. Highlights of the exhibition include the iconic 1951 photograph of the then unknown Audrey Hepburn, her head and shoulders emerging from sand and posed amidst classical pillars; Margot Fonteyn viewed through the legs of another dancer; a double image of Vivien Leigh; Spike Milligan's head mounted under a Victorian glass dome; Rene Ray's face superimposed on a mask; and West End producer Hugh 'Binkie' Beaumont as a puppeteer with a toy theatre. The 40 year spread of the exhibition also includes later photographs of Derek Jarman, Tilda Swinton, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier. On show for the first time is the complete series of McBean's self-portrait Christmas cards which he produced between 1934 and 1985. These inventive and innovative portraits are displayed alongside theatrical props used in their composition, including a Mae West puppet, a marble 'Greek God' bust, bisque 'bathing beauties' and two 1930s papier mache masks of Greta Garbo and Ivor Novello. National Portrait Gallery until 22nd October.

In The City Of Last Things takes its title from the dystopian city in Paul Auster's novel In the Country of Last Things: 'a haunting picture of a devastated futuristic world which chillingly shadows our own'. Katja Davar, Paul Noble and Torsten Slama use drawing and animation to present their projections of alternative urban and social possibilities. Katja Davar's 'Forking Ocean Path' addresses the self destructive nature of mankind, and imagines the possible consequences, through 3D animation and large scale drawings. Davar presents an undersea world devoid of human life, and in one animation, a creature, part marine and part machine, slowly floats upwards through the remnants of an industrial city at the bottom of the ocean. Paul Noble's 'Unified Nobson' comprises extremely large pencil drawings depicting a fictitious industrial town. Modelled on the new towns devised in the early 20th century to create a perfect fusion of the urban and rural, the drawings offer aerial perspectives over a fantastical cityscape in which each blocky construction is crafted out of a grouping of letters that identifies its owner or function. Torsten Slama's coloured pencil drawings from the cycle 'Gardens of Machine Culture' are inspired by Chinese paintings, and recall the aesthetics of vintage science fiction, as Modernist architecture and industrial constructions merge with rocky landscapes, sparsely grown with vegetation. The depicted worlds are anti-cities in which industry and architecture, like the humans who built them, are part of an evolved nature. Site Gallery, Sheffield until 21st October.

Modigliani And His Models is the first major exhibition of the work of sculptor and painter Amedeo Modigliani to be held in Britain since the 1960s. It comprises around 55 works, encompassing nudes and portraits, together with sculptures and paintings of caryatids, selected to show particular aspects of his work. Modigliani has always been controversial, leading a satisfyingly dissolute and suitably short life, and establishing an instantly original and recognisable style, yet criticised for pursuing it rigorously. Modigliani almost exclusively painted people, portraits and nudes, most of which were executed in the last six years of his career, between 1913 and 1919. His signature style - swan necked elongated figures and faces with almond eyes - drew on a variety of sources: Renaissance to Rococo painting, the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne and Brancusi, ancient Greek, African and Asian sculpture. As the exhibition title suggests, the works featured here are mostly of a succession of women with whom he had relationships as muse, model and mistress. These include the South African born British poet and critic Beatrice Hastings, as in 'Beatrice Hastings in Front of a Door', and his last mistress, the former art student Jeanne Hebuterne, seen in 'Jeanne Hebuterne Sitting' and 'Jeanne Hebuterne, a Door in the Background', who, though nine months pregnant, threw herself out of a fifth storey window on the day after his death. Other portraits, include friends and dealers such as 'Paul Guillaume Seated', and 'Portrait of Picasso', whom he encountered in the cafes and studios of Montparnasse, a crucible in which French and foreign artists, writers, musicians and critics worked side by side to create what is now called 'Modern art'. The Royal Academy of Arts until 15th October.