Private View held by Richard Andrews
Schwitters In Britain is the first major exhibition in Britain to examine the late work of one of the major artists of European Modernism. The exhibition focuses on Kurt Schwitters's British period, from his arrival in Britain as a refugee in 1940 until his death in Cumbria in 1948, and comprises over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures, many shown for the first time in over 30 years. Schwitters was a significant figure in European Dadaism who invented the concept of Merz: 'the combination, for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials'. Whether those materials were string, cotton wool or a pram wheel, Schwitters considered them to be equal with paint. He is best known for his pioneering use of found objects and everyday materials in abstract collage, installation, poetry and performance. Schwitters's collages often incorporated fragments from packaging and newspapers reflecting British life, such as the London bus tickets and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts wrappers used in 'Untitled (This is to Certify That)'. Highlights include an early example of Schwitters's unique concept of Merz in the assemblage 'Merz Picture 46 A. The Skittle Picture', the sculpture 'Untitled (Birchwood Sculpture)', and 'Anything with a Stone'. In 1945 Schwitters relocated to the Lake District, and inspired by the rural Cumbrian landscape, began to incorporate natural objects into his work, as shown in small sculptures including 'Untitled (Opening Blossom)', and his last great sculpture and installation, the Merz Barn. Tate Britain until 12th May.
Vikings! explores and challenges conceptions of what has become a mythical period in Scandinavia. The exhibition features more than 500 objects from the Viking period, including jewelry, weapons, carvings, precious metals and household items from the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm, which have rarely been seen outside Scandinavia. Recent archaeological discoveries have shed new light on the Viking Age, challenging commonly held views of this key period in European history. The traditional view of the Vikings - stereotypes of raiders wearing horned helmets - has been replaced by a more complete picture. The exhibition explores the power of mythology and the symbolism of Viking ships; offers insights into domestic life and death rituals; and reveals evidence of astonishing Viking workmanship in jewellery, metalwork, textiles and objects made from glass, bone and amber. Highlights include the earliest Scandinavian crucifix, a trefoil brooch of silver and gold with animal ornamentation, pendants representing the pagan Norse Gods, a silver thorshammer pendant with filigree ornamentation, and an animal-head brooch made from bronze, silver and gold. By bringing together these unique objects with new research, the exhibition reveals who the Vikings really were, and creates a vivid picture of how they lived more than 1,000 years ago. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until 12th May.
Through American Eyes: Frederic Church And The Landscape Oil Sketch reveals the majestic scenes and striking colouration in the work of the man considered by many to be the greatest American exponent of the landscape oil sketch. Frederic Church's oil sketches reveal the freshness of his work and the spontaneity of his style as he captured scenes out of doors, some of which he elaborated later in the studio. Regarded as one of the most ambitious of the Hudson River School landscape painters, Church's works reveal a voracious appetite for travel to locations as distant as Ecuador, 'Distant View of the Sangay Volcano, Ecuador', Jordan, 'Ed Deir, Petra', Jamaica, 'Ridges in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica', Germany, 'Konigssee, Bavaria', and the waters off Labrador where he studied icebergs. The exhibition of some 30 oil sketches also includes works executed closer to Church's home on the Hudson in upstate New York, including 'Winter Twilight from Olana' and 'Hudson, New York at Sunset', which reflect his interest in the American landscape and his exploration of the effect of light. They are accompanied by Church's completed oil painting 'Niagara Falls, from the American Side', a canvas of over 2m square, to illustrate the journey from sketch to completed oil painting. National Gallery until 28th April.
Manet: Portraying Life is the first major exhibition in Britain to showcase portraiture by the pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. The exhibition examines the relationship between Edouard Manet's portrait painting and his scenes of modern life. By translating portrait sitters into actors in his genre paintings, Manet guaranteed the authenticity of the figures that populate his scenes of contemporary life, and asserted a new, more potent relationship between Realism and Modernity. The exhibition is arranged thematically, exploring Manet's world and the landscape of 19th century Parisian society, including The Artist And His Family, through Manet, Suzanne Leenhoff Manet and Leon Koella Leenhoff; Manet And His Artist Friends, such as Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzales and Claude Monet; Manet And His Literary And Theatrical Friends, including Emile Zola, Zacharie Astruc, Theodore Duret, George Moore, Stephane Mallarme and Fanny Clauss; Status Portraits, such as Georges Clemenceau, Henri Rochefort and Antonin Proust: and The Artist And His Models, which encompasses both female friends such as Mery Laurent and Isabelle Lemonnier, and professional models, such as Victorine Meurent. The display comprises over 50 paintings, spanning Manet's entire career, together with a selection of pastels and contemporary photographs. Highlights include 'The Luncheon', 'Mme Manet in the Conservatory', 'Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets', 'Street Singer', 'Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe', 'The Railway', 'The Artist: Portrait of Marcellin Desboutin', and 'Music in the Tuileries Gardens'. Royal Academy of Arts until 14th April.
Love And Devotion: From Persia And Beyond celebrates the beauty of Persian manuscripts, and the stories of human and divine love that they tell. The exhibition features over 60 stunning Persian manuscripts, including rare examples of 13th to 18th century Persian, Mughal Indian and Ottoman Turkish illustrated manuscripts. These magnificently illustrated works come from one of the richest periods in the history of the book, and give a fascinating insight into the great artistic and literary culture of Persia and its timeless epics, tales and romances. They include a poetic history of Alexander The Great; the love story of a 6th century King and his Armenian Princess; the tale of Layli and Majnun (the Romeo and Juliet of the East); the biblical travails of Zulaykha and Joseph, a tale of slavery and far flung loyalty; and in a 60,000 couplet work, standing as the longest poem ever written by a single person, the entire history of humanity within the Iran centred Shahnamah (Book Of Kings). The shapeliness and beauty of the calligraphic script, the illuminations in gold and lapis-lazuli, the exquisite motifs of flora and fauna, and the delicately painted images are all testament to the love, care, dedication and devotion of all those who were involved in their production. They transcend the bounds of language, culture and religion. Bodlian Library, Oxford, until 28th April.
Light Show explores the experiential and phenomenal aspects of light by bringing together sculptures and installations that use light to sculpt and shape space in different ways. The exhibition showcases artworks created from the 1960s to the present day, including immersive environments, free-standing light sculptures and projections. From atmospheric installations to intangible sculptures that you can move around - and even through - visitors can experience light in all of its spatial and sensory forms. Individual artworks explore different aspects of light such as colour, duration, intensity and projection, as well as perceptual phenomena. They also use light to address architecture, science and film, and do so using a variety of lighting technologies. The display comprises some of the most visually stimulating artworks created in recent years, and also includes rare works not seen for decades and specially re-created. The show features works by 22 artists including David Batchelor, Jim Campbell, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Bill Culbert, Olafur Eliasson, Fischli and Weiss, Dan Flavin, Ceal Floyer, Nancy Holt, Jenny Holzer, Ann Veronica Janssens, Brigitte Kowanz, Anthony McCall, François Morellet, Ivan Navarro, Philippe Parreno, Katie Paterson, Conrad Shawcross, James Turrell, Leo Villareal, Doug Wheeler and Cerith Wyn Evans. Hayward Gallery until 28th April.
Giorgio Morandi: Lines Of Poetry features some 80 etchings and watercolours by the Italian artist who was a master of poetic understatement. Although Giorgio Morandi was entirely self-taught as a printmaker, he quickly mastered the technique, and restricted only in subject matter, his still lifes, landscapes and flower studies reveal a stylistic versatility and passion for experimentation. Morandi's stark black and white images are entirely composed of cross hatchings, so regular and sharp that they resemble machine made stitches running back and forth at complex anglers. Also in the exhibition are a number of Morandi's watercolours, works that are rarely seen in Britain. More than any others, these paintings exemplify Morandi's ability to distil the essence of a complex scene or composition into an arrangement of near-abstract forms. Notable for their restraint and extraordinary economy of means, these images are intensely evocative of time and place.
Nino Migliori: Imagined Landscapes comprises reworked Polaroid images by the renowned Italian photographer. Created by Nino Migliori during the mid 1980s, these works form a series entitled 'Imagined Landscapes: The Places of Morandi' and explore the Grizzana landscape beloved by Morandi and immortalised in many of his works. Best known for his black and white neo-realist images of life in 1950s Italy, these works reveal a different side to Migliori's research in which the photograph is merely the starting point for an image that aspires not simply to document a moment in time or a specific location, but to express something of its emotional resonance.
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39A Canonbury Square, London N1, until 7th April.
Force Of Nature: Picturing Ruskin's Landscape examines the huge theme of landscape, as reflected in the thoughts and opinions of the Victorian critic and scholar. The depiction of the landscape in art proved a lifelong obsession for John Ruskin. While his belief that artists should reflect and record their environment was unwavering, Ruskin's view on how to best capture the 'truth' of a vista or scene was to go through a radical shift in later life. In particular, this exhibition addresses Ruskin's notions of the physical and emotional truths of landscape art. The display comprises three sections, each taking inspiration from the developments in Ruskin's thinking; The Mountain In Miniature looks at the genesis of Ruskin's ideas, observing parallels between patterns in small geological forms and those in the broader landscape; Seeing The Landscape takes its focus from Ruskin's initial belief in realistic, visually accurate representation; and Sensing The Landscape looks at how Turner prompted Ruskin to revise his opinions and explores the importance of conveying our emotional response to the landscape. The exhibition brings together a host of historical and contemporary work, including Turner's 'Landscape with Water', William Holman Hunt's 'The Sphinx, Giza, Looking Towards the Pyramids of Saqqara' and 'Llyn-y-Cau, Cader Idris' by Richard Wilson, as well as examples of Ruskin's own topographical studies, alongside contemporary responses to landscape, such as Julian Opie's 'Jet Stream', Carol Rhodes's 'Surface Mine' and Dan Holdsworth's 'Andoya'. Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, until 23rd June.
Murder In The Library: An A-Z Of Crime Fiction examines the genre that currently accounts for over a third of all fiction published in English, holding millions of people enthralled, with classic locked-room mysteries, tales of murder and mayhem in quaint villages or gritty adventures on mean city streets. The alphabetically presented exhibition takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the development of crime and detective fiction, from its origins in the early 19th century through to contemporary Nordic Noir, taking in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first appearance of Miss Marple, the fiendish plots of Dr Fu Manchu and the inspiration for Midsomer Murders along the way. Highlights include Conan Doyle's original manuscript for a late Holmes story, The Adventure of the Retired Colourman; a 'Crime Dossier' by Dennis Wheatley and J G Links, with physical clues such as human hair and cigarette ends pocketed in cellophane pouches, as if it is an actual Scotland Yard case file - and the solution in a sealed envelope; and a 1933 'Puzzle Tale', with an actual jigsaw that has to be completed as it contains clues central to its narrative. The British Library until 12th May.
Beyond Bagpuss - An Artist's Journey is a retrospective of the work of the artist and illustrator Linda Birch. The exhibition features work from Birch's early days as illustrator of the children's characters Pogle's Wood, Bagpuss and The Clangers, working with the legendary animators Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, through her long career as painter, teacher and writer. Birch has illustrated some 150 books, including Conker by Michael Morpurgo, and Who Shot Queen Victoria, by Horrible Histories author Terry Deart. Altogether the exhibition features some 40 works, including illustrations from Bagpuss, along with artwork from the BBC's Jackanory series, such as Simon And The Witch, photographs, sketchbooks and new paintings of landscapes, wild flowers and animals, both farm and domestic, plus a video of her at work, outlining her 40 year career. Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, until 17th February.
Women In Focus: Photographs By Dorothy Bohm is a rare opportunity to see work by the trailblazing mid 20th century British photographer. The exhibition features a selection of Dorothy Bohm's photographs dating from the 1990s to the present, which juxtapose the images of women that are ever present in advertising, artworks and shop windows, with actual women living and working in London. Bohm aims to capture the many roles of women in society, from professional to parent, and reflects on how women are seen in and see public spaces like the shops, cafes and streets of the capital. The works reveal some of the contrasts, similarities and discrepancies between the ideals and expectations of the feminine and real life women in everyday situations. While Bohm reflects on issues surrounding gender, her photographs are full of vibrancy and humour, with posed mannequins seeming to mimic some of those who pass by their shop windows, and women unconsciously repeating the same gesture as the image in an advertising poster. These kinds of motifs run through the work and link the images together, showing her enduring interest in people, especially women, of all ages and from all walks of life. On the surface these photographs can be enjoyed simply as a series on street life in London and on how people live, work and play in the city, but actually they go a little deeper, and consider how themes such as women's public presence - how they are looked at, and how they look. Museum of London until 17th February.
Constable, Gainsborough, Turner And The Making Of Landscape explores the development of the British school of landscape painting. During the 18th and 19th centuries there was a shift in style in landscape painting, represented in this exhibition in the works of Thomas Gainsborough, the emotionally charged and sublime landscapes of JMW Turner, and John Constable's sentimental, romantic scenes. These landscape painters addressed the changing meaning of 'truth to nature' and the contemporary discourses surrounding the definitions of the Beautiful, the Sublime and the Picturesque. The exhibition comprises some 120 works of art, including paintings, prints, books and archival material by these three towering figures of English landscape painting. Highlights include Gainsborough's 'Romantic Landscape', Constable's 'The Leaping Horse' and 'Boat Passing a Lock', and Turner's 'Dolbadern Castle' and etching and mezzotint 'Norham Castle on the Tweed'. A number of works by their contemporaries Richard Wilson, Michael Angelo Rooker and Paul Sandby are also exhibited, with prints made after 17th century masters whose work served as models: Claude, Poussin, Gaspard Dughet and Salvator Rosa. Letters by Gainsborough, Turner's watercolour box and Constable's palette are also on display. Royal Academy of Arts until 17th February.