News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th July 2004

Commencing

Russian Landscape In The Age Of Tolstoy is an exhibition of 19th century paintings - many epic in scale - which played a critical role, along with music and literature, in defining Russia's national identity, and provided a vehicle for the exploration of political, social and moral issues. The exhibition includes 70 of Russia's best known and loved paintings, many of which have never left their homeland before, and are largely unknown in this country. There are works by fifteen artists dating from 1820 to the early years of the 20th century, showing lakeside and forest vistas, depictions of the endless Russian horizon, and the hard struggle of peasant life in both summer and winter. The exhibition opens with canvasses by the founder of Russian landscape painting, Aleksei Gavrilovich Venetsianov, who introduced realism to Russian painting. These hang alongside works by his contemporaries Silvestr Fedosievich Shchedrin and Mikhail Lebedev, both of whom travelled to Italy, where they learned 'plein-air' painting, influencing later generations of landscapists in Russia. It features many works by the giant figures of the age, Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin - the master of monumental woodland scenes, Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi - who had an eerie sense of colour, and Isaak Ilich Levitan - an artistic innovator who was a close friend of Anton Chekhov. The show culminates in Levitan's bleak vision 'The Vladimirka Road', the infamous pathway that led to Siberia and exile. National Gallery until 12th September.

Lasting Impressions: Collecting French Impressionism For Cambridge is the inaugural exhibition in the Mellon Gallery, which forms the centrepiece of the £12m courtyard development (similar in concept to that of the British Museum) designed by John Miller. Roofing over the central area has created an additional 3,000 square metres of space, providing education rooms, a ceramics study centre, the inevitable cafe and shop, and a ground floor area that can accommodate talks, concerts and a variety of other activities. The exhibition features paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints and sculpture by all of the major Impressionists. Works by Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, Gauguin, Seurat, Boudin, Cezanne and Signac are featured, together with a large group of works by Degas, representing all aspects of his career, and all of the different media in which he worked. Highlights include pairs of paintings that show Pissarro's skill as a painter of snow; Monet's as a painter of the sea; contrasting views of Brittany by Renoir and Monet, both painted in the same year; and Degas oil paintings, ranging from a rare early landscape to his scene of two women 'au cafe', plus three of the unique waxes from which his bronze sculptures were cast. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge until 26th September.

The Tower Environs Scheme, an eight year, £20m scheme to improve the setting of the Tower of London, and provide a new public space for London, has finally been completed. The last phase, designed by Stanton Williams, created a new square on Tower Hill almost the size of Trafalgar Square, on a gentle slope leading down to the entrance, paved with York stone and granite. Most importantly it has cleared away the tourist clutter that had begun to create the aura of a Middle Eastern souk, and given the approach to the Tower back its dignity. In addition, it has cunningly introduced a drop at the edge of the square, like a ha-ha in an 18th century garden, thus allowing unobstructed views of the Tower. The scheme includes the provision of new ticketing facilities and a Welcome Centre in a restrained new building at the edge of the site, a shop in the restored Salvin's Pumphouse, an education centre within the Tower Vaults building, and the re-installation of an historic road under its traditional name of Petty Wales. Previous phases restored the historic riverside Wharf, opening up lost vistas of the Thames, renovated Tower Pier, opened up better views of the archaeological remains of medieval buildings, and improved links to the nearby St Katherine's Dock. There is now a growing demand for the moat, which was drained in the 1840s, to be refilled to complete the picture. The Tower Of London, continuing.

Continuing

The Art Of The Garden is the first major exhibition to examine the relationship of the garden and British art. It takes a broad view, encompassing the domestic garden, allotments, garden suburbs, artist's own backyards and imaginary gardens. From the last two centuries, it brings together over one hundred works by artists ranging from Constable and Turner to Lucian Freud, Marc Quinn and Gary Hume. These includes iconic paintings such as John Singer Sargent's 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose', John Constable's two depictions of his father's flower and kitchen gardens in Suffolk, 'The Badminton Game' by David Inshaw, Waterhouse's 'Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid's Garden' and Samuel Palmer's idyllic visions of the English countryside. Among the artist's gardens, revealed through painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture there are Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay's classically inspired garden, in which sculptural works carrying poetic inscriptions lurk among trees and shrubs; a drawing by Beatrix Potter of her potted geraniums; and Howard Schooley's painting of Derek Jarman's beach garden at Dungeness. The influence of colour theory on the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll is reflected through her own watercolours and early colour photographs of planting schemes she created for her garden at Munstead Wood. Among new works made specifically for the exhibition is a spectacular installation by Anya Gallaccio employing ten thousand roses. Tate Britain until 30th August.

Mariele Neudecker: Over And Over, Again And Again features recent works by the German born, British resident artist, who uses sculpture, film and photography to create representations of landscapes. She is perhaps best know for her atmospheric creations of landforms within glass vitrines - a sort of vegetarian alternative to Damien Hirst. There are two new vitrine works in this exhibition: 'There Go I' and 'Over and Over, Again and Again', commissioned by the Metrological Office. Both display jagged mountain ranges, composed of peaks and grottos covered with trees, and cloaked in the perpetual fog and snow of Neudecker's chemical compositions, very much in the tradition of the German Romantics. Another tank piece, 'I Don't Know How I Resisted The Urge To Run' is an eerie petrified forest just waiting for some Brothers Grimm fairytale to begin. 'Another Day' is a record of the simultaneous rising and setting of the sun on opposite ends of the globe - South East Australia and the Western Azores - displayed on a double sided lightbox. 'Winterreise' (A Winter's Journey) is a filmic response to Schubert's song cycle, the iconic work from the German Romantic 'Lieder' tradition. Neudecker has created a short film for each of the 24 movements, using locations based on the sixtieth degree of latitude that experience snowscaped winters: the Shetland Islands, Helsinki, Oslo and St. Petersburg. Tate St Ives until 26th September.

Time To Care is an exhibition that charts the history of the St John Ambulance service. Founded in 1877 by the British Order of St John, and inspired by the medical traditions of the Hospitallers, volunteers were trained in first aid to deal with the frequent injuries sustained by workers in factories in the industrial revolution, who could not afford medical treatment. The exhibition includes equipment, memorabilia, rare early film footage and the recollections of the experiences of members. In addition, two further galleries display treasures from the 900 year military, medical and religious history of Order of St John and the Hospitallers. These include a bronze cannon given to the Order by Henry VIII; armour worn by the Knights when defending Rhodes and Malta; a decorative collection of 16th to18th century majolica from the pharmacy in Malta; the illuminated charter, depicting Philip II and Mary Tudor, restoring the Order in 1557; and a 15th century Flemish altarpiece from the medieval priory on this site, plus surviving fragments of stone work, wood carving, tiles and stained glass. The buildings housing the collection include the remains the priory, a Norman crypt, a 16th century chapel, and a Tudor gatehouse, all of which are open to the public. Further information can be found on the Museum Of The Order Of St John web site via the link from the Museums section of ExhibitionsNet. Museum Of The Order Of St John, London, continuing.

The Foundling Museum has opened on the original site of the Foundling Hospital, Britain's first orphanage, which was founded in 1739, thanks to the work of the retired shipbuilder and sailor Thomas Coram. In an effort to satisfy the abandoned children's spiritual, as well as physical needs, Coram enlisted the help of William Hogarth, and other artists of the time, thus creating Britain's first art gallery. He also co-opted the services of composer George Frederick Handel. The museum reflects this unique heritage in its displays. Firstly, it has an exhibition that tells the story of the hospital and its charges, who amounted to some 27,000 children by the time of its closure in 1954. This includes items such as the often pathetic tokens, left with children as a form of identification by destitute mothers, who hoped one day to return and reclaim them, but rarely if ever did - real life 'little orphan Annies'; documentation of how the organisation was run; and details of the lottery system operated by the oversubscribed institution, to decide if applicants were given acceptance, waiting list place, or rejection. Secondly, the Hospital's collection of paintings is on display, including Hogarth's portrait of Thomas Coram, and works by Rysbrack, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Roubiliac, Hudson, Ramsay and Wilson. Thirdly, there is a collection of memorabilia relating to the life and work of Handel, who presented an organ to the Hospital chapel, which he personally inaugurated by playing a special version of the Messiah, a manuscript of which he later bequeathed to the Hospital. The Foundling Museum, 20 Brunswick Square, London WC1, continuing.

William Roberts: Retrospective 1895 - 1980 is the first major exhibition for over 40 years to examine the life and art of one of the most remarkable British artists of the 20th century. William Roberts studied at the Slade School and was a member of the Vorticist movement, before serving as an Official War Artist in both the First and Second World Wars. He was drawn to everyday incidents and dramas, which he captured in bold colours with his own unique style. Roberts portrayed the working lives of the men and women in the street in Britain between the wars, together with how they spent their leisure time (such as there was). The exhibition of over sixty paintings includes works from his entire career, some of which are being exhibited in public for the first time. In some cases, such as 'At The Hippodrome', an original preparatory drawing or watercolour can be viewed alongside the finished work, giving an insight into Roberts's creative process. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield until 4th September.

Matisse To Freud: A Critic's Choice - The Alexander Walker Bequest reveals to the public for the first time the distinguished film critic's collection of modern prints and drawings. Over a period from the early 1960s to his death last July, Walker the assembled a collection of more than 200 works, which he left to the British Museum - the largest and most significant bequest of modern works that it has received in the past fifty years. The focus of the collection is post 1960 American and British art, with works by artists including Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn and Brice Marden from the United States, and Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, Paula Rego, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Keith Vaughan and Rachel Whiteread from Britain. Picasso, Matisse and Miro, as well as Jean Dubuffet, Eduardo Chillida and Nicholas de Stael are among the School of Paris artists collected by Walker, as well as the principal exponents of British Vorticism: Nevinson, Bomberg and Wadsworth. This exhibition, comprising nearly 150 works, shows that Walker was a highly discerning collector of modern art, with an eye for works that showed a new direction or turning point for the artist. British Museum until 9th January.

Concluding

Censored At The Seaside: The Censored Postcards Of Donald McGill examines a bizarre event in the life and work of a man now regarded as a national treasure. For more than fifty years Donald McGill was the pre-eminent exponent of the British saucy seaside postcard. Yet in the 1950s, his postcards became the subject of complaints and he fell foul of the antiquated 1857 Obscene Publications Act. In May 1954, fifty years after he had produced his first postcard, McGill was brought to trial in Lincoln, and fined £50 plus costs. This exhibition looks at the story behind the prosecution, showing for the first time documents from the public prosecutors office relating to many of the censored cards, as well as the postcards themselves. It also presents a less than flattering picture of the Britain of the time that such a prosecution could have been brought. In addition to the condemned designs, the exhibition includes rare 'roughs' of ideas, and over 30 original works by McGill from all periods of his career. A prolific worker, McGill created new designs each year. Also featured are examples of tributes to McGill by cartoonists Larry, Steve Bell and Biff amongst others. Cartoon Art Trust Museum until 31st July.

Bill Brand: A Centenary Retrospective celebrates the work of one of the pre-eminent photographers of the 20th century. With 155 mainly vintage, gelatin-silver prints from the Bill Brandt Archive, the exhibition displays the finest selection of his rare and famous prints to be seen in Britain for over thirty years. Brandt's career as a photographer began in Vienna, and included work as an assistant to Man Ray in Paris, before he settled in London in 1931. He became the great documentarian of British cultural and social life for the news magazines of the time, exposing the contrasts in 1930s society. During the Second World War Brandt photographed both the landscapes of 'Literary Britain', creating images of Hardy's Wessex and the Bronte sisters' Yorkshire Moors, and London, with the moonlit blacked-out streets, and crowds sheltering in Underground stations during the Blitz. After the War, returning to an interest in the surreal, Brandt acquired a wide-angle Kodak camera, and photographed nudes outdoors on the beaches of England and France. This 'Perspective of Nudes' series radically revised the genre by creating dramatic sculptural images of nudes merging with the landscape. From the 1940s onwards, he also produced striking portraits of great artists and writers, such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and Graham Greene. Brandt's innovations expanded the medium of photography and gave his work a timeless quality. Victoria & Albert Museum until 25th July.

Home And Garden: Domestic Spaces In Paintings 1830 - 1914 explores the representation of urban domestic interiors and gardens in art, focusing on the middle classes rather than the more familiar Royalty or aristocracy. It offers an opportunity to examine the material culture, tastes, values and social milieu of this increasingly influential and confident sector of society at the peak of Britain's wealth and power. The exhibition comprises 40 paintings and drawings, including works by William Powell Frith, James Jacques Tissot, Walter Sickert, George Elgar Hicks, Rebecca Soloman, Mary Ellen Best, John Atkinson Grimshaw and Spencer Gore. It is divided into three main sections: portraits, the room or garden as subject, and genre. The genre paintings, which reflect morals, manners, roles and relationships within the domestic context, often contain revealing details or carry implicit messages reflecting middle class values. The exhibition explores the stories contained within each image in an attempt to assess to what extent these paintings show actual homes and gardens, and how much the artist may have altered or intervened in the interests of composition. These pictures are rich in meaning and symbolism, and provide vivid glimpses into private worlds. For example, 'Evenings at Home', a rare portrait of the great Victorian design reformer Henry Cole (responsible for the development of Victoria and Albert Museum) conveys both an enormous amount about his character and home life, and some of the design principals on which he based his career. Geffrye Museum until 18th July.