News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th February 2007


Citizens And Kings: Portraits In The Age Of Revolution 1760 - 1830 examines the radical shift that occurred in portraiture, both painted and sculpted, in response to the Enlightenment and the revolutions in Europe and America. These years saw dramatic transformations in the world order as new ideas and wealth vied with the old order of absolute monarchies. The exhibition consists of 150 works, ranging from the kings and queens, through the revoluitionary heroes and the rising beorgoisie, to Enlightenment thinkers, writers and artists. It includes works by the great innovators of portraiture, David and Goya, as well as their contemporaries such as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Roslin, Mengs, Vigee Lebrun and Singleton Copley and their successors, including Ingres, Gros, Lawrence, Chantry and Runge. The development through the period in both style and subject is perhaps best illustrated through Ingres's 'Napoleon on the Imperial Throne' and 'Louis-Francois Bertin' - Emperor to newspaper editor. Among the iconic works are: Goya's 'Ferdinand VII', Lawrence's 'George IV', Shubib's Catherine the Great', Zoffany's 'Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons', David's 'The Death of Marat' and The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries', Stuart's 'George Washington', Reynolds's 'Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse' and 'Joseph Banks', Copley's 'Samuel Adams', Boizot's bust of Marie-Antoinette, Pigalle's sculpture 'Voltaire Naked' and Houdon's bust of Benjamin Franklin. The Royal Academy of Arts, London until 20th April.

William Roberts: England At Play illustrates England's 20th century social history through the distinctive paintings of William Roberts, social commentator and a unique figure in the history of Modern British art. Known predominantly for his early ventures into Cubism, and for his membership and participation within Wyndham Lewis's pre-First World War Vorticist group, Roberts's work captured the English with humour and affection, providing a panorama of modern life. Taking as his subject the leisure activities of the English working class, he found inspiration at the doorstep of his London home. Visiting local cinemas, parks, cafes and pubs, plus trips to the races and the seaside, Roberts captured his fellow Londoners at play, and portrayed the eccentricities, peculiarities and pastimes of those around him, with a dignified humour and an unerring affection. Alone among 20th century English artists, Roberts used the language of Modern art to re-invigorate a tradition of recording everyday life, situating 'Everyman' at the heart of his work. This exhibition features key oil paintings from the 1920s to the 1970s, which not only chart Roberts's artistic development from his Vorticist origins to the monumental figures of his mature work, but also reveals how the way life in England changed dramatically during the period. Among the highlights are: 'Rush Hour', 'Jockeys (The Paddock)', and 'Goal'. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 18th March.

Number 1A Kensington Palace: From Courtiers' Lodgings To Royal Home is a photographic exhibition that tells the story of the people who have lived in this building, since 12 years of renovation by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, turned the former Nottingham House into a royal palace, at the behest of King William III and Queen Mary. Members of the royal family have lived here for more than 300 years - it was where the 18 year old Princess Victoria was called from her bed in June 1837 to be told of her accession to the throne - and some still do, so only certain parts of the Palace are open to the public. The exhibition is being staged in Apartment 1A, a series of rooms on the first floor that were formerly part of Princess Margaret's accomodation. It highlights the work carried out by the Princess and Lord Snowdon in the 1960s to refurbish these rooms, mixing modern with 18th century, a blend evidenced in the entrance hall, Lord Snowdon's study, the guest bedroom, and garden room. Optional guided tours take visitors behind the scenes, into the drawing and dining rooms, and the apartment's large kitchen with its spectacular extractor hood designed by Lord Snowdon. Kensington Palace, London continuing.


Canaletto In England: A Venetian Artist Abroad 1746 - 1755 brings together over 50 of the paintings executed by Canaletto during the nine years he spent in London, which re-launched his artistic career. Canaletto's views of England are often panoramic, but are also precise to the last brick and flagstone - and include many local characters. Yet at the same time, each scene is saturated in a distinct (and slightly un-English) quality of light, as he brings a rather idealised vision to bear on his new home. The Thames is seen by Canaletto as a huge commercial version of the Grand Canal, and beyond the river's boundaries, a rural idyll, where he painted suburban the villas of the aristocracy and medieval castles. Highlights include 'The City seen through the Arch of Westminster Bridge', 'The Old Horse Guards from St James's Park', 'The City from the Terrace of Somerset House', 'Westminster Bridge with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames', 'Syon House', and 'Warwick Castle, The South Front'. Canaletto also continued to paint Italian views and capricci (fantastical scenes combining Italian and English features) during this period, and these are also included in the exhibition. Highlights include ' The Molo from the Bacino di San Marco on Ascention Day', 'Rome, The Arch of Constantine from the South', 'Capriccio of a Ruined Gothic Chapel by a Sluice Gate' and 'Capriccio Renaissance Triumphal Arch seen from the Portico of a Palace'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London until 15th April.

We The Moderns' - Gaudier-Brzeska And The Birth Of Modern Sculpture is the first exhibition to set Henri-Gaudier-Brzeska among his European contemporaries, and to showcase his contribution to the birth of modern sculpture. Gaudier's career as a sculptor was brief, as like many artists of his generation, he was killed in action during the First World War, aged just 23, yet in the three and a half years in England, he created a substantial and truly advanced body of work. Initially inspired by the sculptures of Rodin and Post-Impressionist painting, he soon became aware of the latest artistic developments on the continent, above all Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism. Gaudier was fascinated by the problems of expressing movement, constructing sculptural forms through geometrical planes, carving directly in stone, and reconciling European roots with the impact of non-European sculpture. Such concerns were shared with artists he cited as fellow 'moderns' - Brancusi, Modigliani, Epstein and Archipenko, and by others such Matisse and Picasso - whose works are shown alongside Gaudier's in this exhibition, to put his works into a European context. The gallery is the home of the most important collection of Henri-Gaudier-Brzeska's work in the world. Kettle's Yard, Cambridge until 18th March.

Visions Of World Architecture: John Soane's Royal Academy Lecture Illustrations showcases 64 of the drawings produced by Soane to illustrate his lectures between 1809 and 1820. These were intended to form the taste of the students, and to elucidate his theoretical points, Soane commissioned over 1,000 spectacular watercolours. These drawings, rendered by pupils from his architectural practice, presented a unique record of world architecture, ranging from pre-history to the latest buildings of Regency London, and were admired as fine works of art in their own right. The drawings are in three groups: those based on engravings from architectural folios on Soane's shelves, notably Piranesi; those drawn by pupils on site visits in London; and those based on Soane's designs and on drawings by earlier architects in his collection.

Soane And Turner: Illuminating A Friendship is a display marking the relationship between John Soane and J M W Turner. It provides a unique opportunity to see Turner's large 'Forum Romanum for Mr Soane's Museum', in the building for which it was intended. Other works by Turner include 'Ancient Rome: Agrippina landing with the Ashes of Germanicus', incorporating a bridge like Soane's fantasy 'Triumphal Bridge', and 'Temple of Neptune at Paestum' possibly inspired by Soane's Piranesi drawings of the temples, together with a watercolour study of two tench, a trout and a perch, recalling how Soane and Turner often fished together on Soane's estate at Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing.

Sir John Soane Museum, London until 28th April.

Classic Soviet Modernist Photographer Max Penson And The Soviet Modernisation Of Uzbekistan 1920-1930s features over 200 photographs by Max Penson, taken between 1920 and 1940, documenting the radical transformation of Uzbekistan from a highly traditional feudal society into a 'modern' Soviet republic. The 20th century history of Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan remained largely hidden until the collapse of communism in the early 1990s. Penson's archive contains roughly 30,000 images taken while he worked as a photographer for Central Asia's largest newspaper, Pravda Vostoka (Truth of the East), from 1926 until 1949. Penson's photographs document the sweeping social transformation that happened during this period, as well as showing an awareness of the Modernist aesthetic being explored by artists throughout Europe. Many of the images are clearly underpinned by a socialist, propagandist agenda, and show an idealisation of life under Soviet rule. However, Penson also sought out his own subjects, who reveal a more realistic picture. Some images depict women in traditional horsehair veils, while in others they wear trousers and drive tractors, previously unheard of tasks for women in this part of the world. Men are shown digging vast irrigation canals, attending literacy classes and watching sporting events or theatrical performances. Accused of being influenced by the West, Penson fell from official favour and was forced to leave his job after 25 years of working at the paper. The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House until 24th February.

Goya: Monsters And Matadors celebrates the work of the artist who, although best known as a painter, was one of the greatest printmakers of all time. Goya's use of the medium was revolutionary, and profoundly influential, and prints and printmaking played a central role in his work throughout his career, during which time he made over 300 works. This exhibition of over 40 prints focuses on etchings from three series: 'Disasters of War', one of the most affecting antiwar statements of all history, depict Napoleon's conquest of Spain, the ensuing civil war and eventual liberation of the country by Wellington, and are very much like a form of war photojournalism - a precursors to later photographic images; 'Tauromaquia', a history of bullfighting from its origins in hunting, to its development by the Moors as a sport; and 'Proverbios (or Disparates)', examining the glorious, absurd and futile rituals of life and death, Spanish style. These works belong to Goya's most intense period of printmaking, from 1810 until the end of his career, combining both etching and lithographic techniques, and present a direct social critique as well as a personal response to the world around him. Unlike his lush, rich painting style and more sedate subject matter, these often violent images shocked many contemporary viewers with their depictions of the seamier side of life. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh until 25th February.

Turner: The Rigi Watercolours brings together for the first time three of JMW Turner's greatest watercolour paintings: 'The Blue Rigi', 'The Dark Rigi' and 'The Red Rigi'. Turner's groundbreaking use of watercolour, which spanned his career, culminated in the early 1840s with a series of views of Swiss lakes and mountains. Chief among these are the three views of Mount Rigi as seen from Lake Lucerne. Each shows the mountain at a different time of day and is characterised by a defining colour or tone: dark, blue or red. 'The Blue Rigi' was Turner's first attempt at recording the moment before dawn when the sun just perceptibly begins to chase away the darkness of night. Using subtly modulated washes of blue, Turner recreates the stillness and wonder of this instant, anticipating by many years the unified tonal approach to image making of the Aesthetic Movement. Although Turner probably intended these watercolours to remain together as studies in contrasting atmospheric effects, they were sold to separate collectors. This exhibition reunites them, together with Turner's preparatory material for the Rigi series, including a sequence of sketchbooks and watercolour studies that highlight the many hours of observation and contemplation that lie behind the finished works, and reveal the artist's complete creative process. 'The Blie Rigi' was sold at auction last year to an overseas buyer, and the Art Fund has until 20th March to raise matching funding to keep it in Britain. Tate Britain until 24th March.


Recent Acquisitions Of British Drawings And Watercolours comprises some striking and important acquisitions in this field, dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The landscapes and figure subjects cover a broad range of media from pencil to watercolour and pastel. Among the highlights are: 'The Prospect', a watercolour by Samuel Palmer, on public display for the first time, alongside 'Yellow Twilight', one of the last works from his Shoreham period; JMW Turner's 'Christ Church, Oxford'; 'Noctes Ambrosianae', a pastel of the interior of the Middlesex Music Hall by Walter Sickert; a watercolour by Richard Parkes Bonington; a design by Sir James Thornhill for the chapel of All Souls College, Oxford; 'An Exhibition at the Old Town Hall in 1854' by George Pyne, depicting several Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces; 'Wittenham Clumps', a drawing by Paul Nash of the landmark near Didcot; a group of watercolours by John Piper; 'Pine-wood, North West Gale' by Michael Ayrton; and a sketchbook of nude studies of Beatrice Warde by Eric Gill. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford until 18th February.

Experimental Photography From The Bauhaus Sculpture Workshop showcases a collection of remarkable and little seen vintage photographs, which explore how innovative photographic practice became central to the Bauhaus Weimar Germany. The sculpture workshop was a somewhat anomalous element of the influential Bauhaus school of art and design, seemingly out of touch with its unapologetically modernist outlook. Photography provided a way out of this impasse. Led by Joost Schmidt, a former Bauhaus student, the new sculpture workshop emerged in 1928 as an experimental arena with photography at the centre of its practice. Such photography went far beyond a documentary relationship to sculptural objects, instead, sparking a dialogue over the nature and function of sculpture in modernity. Photography also proved a bridge between the esoteric traditions of sculpture and the materiality of mass culture by using photographs of sculpture for visual display and advertising. These strange and beautiful images became works of art in themselves. The 26 photographs presented in this exhibition include a mix of studio scenes and still lifes, abstract explorations of space, volume and perception, film noir stills, and studies and designs for advertising and exhibition stands, with works by Franz Ehrlich and Heinz Loew, Edmund Collein and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy amongst others. Henry Moore Institute, Leeds until 18th February.

Alan Fletcher: Fifty Years Of Graphic Work (And Play) features a selection of work from the archive of one of the most influential figures in the history of British graphic design. Co-founder of Fletcher/Forbes/Gill in the 1960s, and Pentagram in the 1970s, his enduring legacy includes the identities of Pirelli, Reuters and the V&A, while more recently as Creative Director of Phaidon Press, he had a major impact on book design, with titles such as The Art Book and The Silver Spoon. He was also instrumental in the setting up of the Design and Art Directors' Association - D&AD. Fletcher synthesised the graphic traditions of Europe and America into witty and personal style. He called himself a 'visual jackdaw', forever on the lookout for something others might overlook, to take back to his studio and transform. The exhibition explores the ingenuity of Fletcher's commercial work for high profile clients, including Olivetti, ICI, Penguin, Shell and Lloyds, alongside personal projects in lettering, collage and illustration, with which he entertained himself and the public. This retrospective, charting his journey from art school to guru, includes many of his best known works, including the bus poster for Pirelli, which made it appear that the passengers were wearing its slippers; the photo-fit portrait of Prince Charles for the National Portrait Gallery; the brand name EVIAN rearrainged as NAIVE; and the classic shapes poster for Designers' Saturday London Event 1982. Design Museum, London until 18th February.