News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th October 2010


Gauguin: Maker Of Myth traces the unique approach to storytelling of one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the late 19th century. The exhibition challenges commonly held assumptions about Paul Gauguin and his work, revealing the complexity and richness of his narratives, and exploring the myths and fables that were central to his creativity. Bringing together almost 200 of Gauguin's works, the show features many of his iconic paintings, including 'Vision of the Sermon', 'Teha'amana has Many Parents', 'The Loss of Virginity', 'Nevermore', 'Yellow Christ' and 'The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch', together with self portraits such as 'Self-portrait as Christ in the Garden of Olives' and 'Self-portrait with Manau tu papau'. Inspired by Tahiti's tropical flora, fauna and daily island life, during his self impose exile, Gauguin also immersed himself in its fast disappearing local culture to invest his art with deeper meaning, ritual and myth. While Tahiti revitalised Gauguin's artistic output, the works were a continuation of his earlier paintings made in Brittany, Martinique and Arles, in which he first explored ideas around religion, fable, myth and tradition. The exhibition reflects Gauguin's breadth of approach by including examples from throughout his career, and in a wide range of media, from painting and watercolour, to ceramics, carvings and decorated objects. These are shown alongside rarely seen illustrated letters, sketchbooks, memoirs and journalism, revealing intimate insights into his working practices and thought processes. Tate Modern until 16th January.

The Roman Baths have reopened following a 5 year £5.5m restoration and development programme. The site includes Britain's only hot springs, the most complete suite of Roman baths in northern Europe, magnificent architectural and sculptural remains from the Temple of Sulis Minerva, and the Pump Room, the social heart of the city in the 18th century. The work was concentrated in 3 areas: Conservation, the cleaning and consolidation of Roman masonry and the Victorian balustrades and statues above it, employing both traditional techniques and the innovative use of laser technology; Access, the introduction of lifts to transport visitors with mobility difficulties down 20ft through the listed building and ancient monument from today's street level to the Roman level, with more of the site open and visible to the public; and Interpretation, an innovative approach that tells the story of the Baths and Temple using men and women, priests and pilgrims, miltiary and civilian, local and well-travelled from Roman times - which includes the presence of some of these characters as costumed interpreters around the Baths - all based upon inscriptions and sculptures recording people in Aquae Sulis (Roman Bath) - plus more of the original artifacts on display, and the introduction of interactive exhibits. Visitors now enter the Temple Courtyard through the archway that was used by the Romans, making it easier to understand how the complex space was used in Roman times. A theatre style space has been created in the Temple Pediment, where people can sit down and spend time viewing the exhibit, and a projection sequence reveals how the carvings looked 2,000 years ago. The Roman Baths, Bath, continuing.

Treasures From Budapest: European Masterpieces From Leonardo To Schiele showcases the breadth and wealth of one of the finest collections of art in Central Europe. The exhibition features over 200 works, and includes paintings, drawings and sculpture from the early Renaissance to the 20th century, many of which have not previously been shown in Britain, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Goya, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Durer, Tintoretto, Nicolas Poussin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Egon Schiele, Marc Chagall, Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso. The show is organised broadly chronologically, with thematic sections that consider the richness of the collections in relation to religious works, mythological subjects, portraiture, still lifes and landscape painting. Among the highlights are the 4m high 'St Andrew Altarpiece from Liptoszentandras'; Raphael's 'Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist' (The Esterhazy Madonna); Goya's 'Water-carrier'; Veronese's 'Portrait of a Man'; Rubens's 'Head of a Bearded Man'; Rembrandt's 'Saskia van Uylenburgh Sitting by a Window'; Canaletto's 'The Lock at Dolo'; Leonardo's 'Mounted Warrior'; Toulouse-Lautrec's 'These Women in the Dining Room'; and Schiele's 'Two Women Embracing'. Royal Academy of Arts until 12th December.


Strawberry Hill the finest example of Georgian Gothic revival architecture in Britain has reopened to the public after a 2 year, £8.9m restoration programme. Horace Walpole built Strawberry Hill as a summer villa beside the Thames at Twickenham between 1747 and 1790, and designed the interiors together with architects including Robert Adam. Walpole was one of the most important English collectors of the 18th century, and one of the best known commentators on the social, political and cultural life of his time. The house provided the setting for his collection encompassing paintings, ceramics, glass, silverware, sculpture, furniture, portrait miniatures, arms and armour, historical relics, and rare books and manuscripts. There are 25 show rooms on the ground and 1st floors, which have been meticulously restored, based on Walpole's descriptions in numerous letters to his friends, and specially commissioned drawings by John Carter, and paintings by Heinrich Muntz, recording its appearance. During the work large areas of gothic trompe l'oeil decoration were found on the stairs and landing, dating from the 1750s and the 1790s. On entering, visitors can see Walpole's 'Beauty Room' preserved with its various layers exposed: the wooden panelling of the original small house begun in1698; a gothic fireplace designed by Richard Bentley; Walpole's windows, shutters and painted glass; a closet with a colourful 'bird' paper from the 19th century; a section of William Morris wallpaper dating from the 1930s; and a glass panel in the floor revealing the intricate working of the bell system. The core of the garden is also being restored to its original 18th century design, with the Open Grove of lime trees being reinstated, as well as the Priors Garden and shell bench. Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Surrey, continuing.

Epic Of The Persian Kings: The Art Of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh brings together nearly 100 paintings from lavishly illustrated manuscripts spanning 800 years. The exhibition explores the monumental artistic legacy of one of the world's greatest literary epics: the 1000 year old Persian 'Book of Kings', or Shahnameh. It is an epic narrative poem telling the 'Iranian version' of the history of the world, mixing royal history with the mythical and supernatural, from the creation of the world and the first men through to the fall of the Persian Empire in the 7th century AD. Twice as long as the Iliad and Odyssey put together, and only finished after 35 years, it is the longest recorded poem ever written by a single author. Completed by the poet Ferdowsi in 1010 AD, it is an icon of Persian culture, inspiring some of the world's most exquisite manuscripts, bringing its warring kings, heroes, dragons and demons to life. Embellished with gold, lapis lazuli and other precious pigments, these manuscripts juxtapose fantastical portrayals of terrifying demons and monstrous creatures with astonishingly expressive depictions of human emotion, from scenes of tender affection to fiercely violent struggles, set against backdrops of beautifully detailed landscapes, and peopled by crowds of onlookers, who spill over the pages and peep at the scenes contained within. As well as these manuscripts, the exhibition brings together ceramics, metalwork and painting on silk, whose imagery was inspired by the poem's amalgam of history, myth and legend, from frieze tiles to ornate bowls, and even an Iranian saddle of the type depicted under horsemen throughout the manuscripts. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 9th January.

Salvator Rosa: Bandits, Wilderness And Magic features the work of one of the boldest and most powerfully inventive artists and personalities of the Italian 17th century. Salvator Rosa invented new types of painting: allegorical pictures, distinguished by a haunting and melancholy poetry; fanciful portraits of romantic and enigmatic figures; macabre and horrific subjects; and philosophical subjects, bringing into painting some of the major philosophical and scientific concerns of his age. Rosa's early works, particularly the landscapes, are bright and rich in picturesque motifs - crumbling towers, boats on the seashore, colourful travellers crossing perilous bridges, bandits lying in wait in rocky ravines - but he moved towards a grander style, and his mature art is characterised by a free technique, rich chiaroscuro and dark but strong colours creating a suggestive atmosphere. The exhibition ranges from self-portraits and other fanciful portraits to landscapes - pastoral, heroic and anchorite. Some of these are stark works, and the power of the elements pulses through them, of wind, water, fire and cloud. They are linked in theme to the paintings of magic and science, conveying a 17th century sense of the awesome grandeur of the natural world revealed by the new science. Highlights include 'Archytas', 'Lucrezia as Poetry', 'Allegory of Fortune', 'The Death of Empedocles', 'Jason Charming the Dragon', 'The Death of Regulus', 'The Frailty of Human Life' and 'Witches at their Incantations'. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 28th November.

Diaghilev And The Golden Age Of The Ballets Russes 1909 - 1929 explores the world of the influential artistic director and the most exciting dance company of the 20th century, who combined dance, music and art in bold ways to create 'total theatre'. Diaghilev's dedication to pushing boundaries, and collaborating with the best designers, choreographers and artists, transformed dance, reawakening interest in ballet across Europe and America. The exhibition includes more than 300 objects, including giant backcloths, original costumes, set designs, props, posters, programmes, photographs, art, film and sound, which bring the energy of the Ballets Russes' performances to life. Among the highlights are: Picasso's huge front cloth for 'Le Train Bleu', dedicated and signed, as well as a costume he designed for 'Parade'; the costume for Modest Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godonov' worn by Feodor Chaliapin; the turban for 'Le Pavillon d'Armide' and the gold and pearl tunic from 'Le Festin', worn by Vaslav Nijinsky, alongside sculptures of him by Auguste Rodin and by Una Troubridge; 9 costumes designed by Nicolas Roerich for 'The Rite Of Spring', which caused a riot in the aisles at its first performance in Paris; Nijinsky's notation for 'L'Apres-midi d'un faune', on display for the first time as it was intended to be read, and the musical score for Stravinsky's 'Pulcinella'; the designs for the original production of 'The Firebird', including the actual backcloth; and costumes by artist collaborators Leon Bakst, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau, Joan Miro and Marie Laurencin. A specially created film features composer Howard Goodall explaining the development of music that accompanied the Ballets Russes. Victoria & Albert Museum until 9th January.

The Pre-Raphaelites And Italy challenges what is known about the influence of Italy - its culture, landscape, and history - on one of Britain's most significant and enduringly popular art movements. In re-examining their early years, the exhibition aims to shed new light on the artists who emerged as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the 1850s. From the influence of the movement's champion, John Ruskin, one of Italy's most dedicated tourists, to their illustrations of early Italian art and literature, the exhibition explores the idea of Italy itself, a place which captured the imagination of a whole generation of British men and women, and which was the source of such varied artistic responses. The exhibition brings together over 140 pictures, including works by John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais, William Holman Hunt, John Brett and Edward Burne-Jones. Highlights include Rosetti's 'Monna Vanna', 'Dante Drawing an Angel on the Anniversary of Beatrice's Death' and 'Borgia Family'; Ruskin's Venetian architectural drawings; Burne-Jones's 'The Fall of Lucifer' and drawings for the mosaics of the American Church in Rome, united for the first time in Britain; and Brett's 'Florence from Bellosguardo' and 'Capri in the Evening', which has not been seen in public since 1865. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 5th December.

John Pawson: Plain Space is a retrospective of the work of the British designer hailed as 'the father of modern architectural minimalism' by the New York Times. John Pawson is known for his rigorous process of design, creating architecture and products of visual clarity, simplicity and grace. The exhibition celebrates Pawson's career from the early 1980s to date, through a selection of landmark commissions, including the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the new Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Novy Dvur in the Czech Republic; and Calvin Klein's flagship store in New York, as well as current and future projects. At its centre is a site-specific, full-sized space designed by Pawson to offer a direct and immersive experience of his work. Specially commissioned, large-scale photography looks at his architecture in the landscape. Actual architectural elements in stone, bronze, wood and metal taken from a range of buildings, including the Baron House in Sweden and Pawson's own house in London explore his sensitive use of materials. The process of design and construction is shown through photography, film, sketches, study models, prototypes and interviews relating to a number of projects including a private home in Treviso, Italy currently under construction. Personal items from the Pawson archive are also on display, including letters from Karl Lagerfeld and the writer Bruce Chatwin. Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, until 30th December.


Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance And The Camera provides an insight into photographic images made surreptitiously or without the explicit permission of those depicted. Spanning a variety of 'lens-based media' from the late 19th century to the present day, the exhibition offers an illuminating and provocative perspective on subjects both iconic and taboo. Aided and abetted by the camera, voyeurism and surveillance provoke questions about who is looking at whom, and whether for power or for pleasure. The show examines the history of what might be called 'invasive looking' by bringing together more than 250 works of photography and film by well known figures including Brassai, Guy Bourdin, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank,Nan Goldin, Dorothea Lange, Lee Miller, Thomas Ruff, Paul Strand, Weegee and Garry Winogrand, plus images made by amateur photographers, press photographers, and automatic systems such as CCTV. Taking the idea of the unseen photographer as its starting point, the show includes images of clandestine, informal or candid situations, impromptu and even intimate moments, made by photographers who have worked in ingenious and inventive ways, often using small or easily concealed cameras. The exhibition includes examples of erotic photography, the cult of celebrity and the paparazzi, and the phenomenon of surveillance. Highlights include images from Brassai's Secret Paris of the 1930s, Walker Evans's subway portraits, Weegee's photographs of Marilyn Monroe, and recent work by artists and photographers such as Philip-Lorca di Corcia and Shizuka Yokomizo. Tate Modern until 30th October.

Edward Weston: Life Work is a retrospective of the work of the American who was regarded as one of the masters of 20th century photography. Edward Weston's legacy of carefully composed and superbly printed photographs has influenced photographers around the world. This exhibition is the largest ever to be shown in Britain. It contains 115 vintage prints from every phase of Weston's career, with previously unpublished masterpieces interspersed with signature images. Weston began his career as a relatively unremarkable commercial portrait photographer. A stay in Mexico heralded a new trimmed-down approach, which led on to his memorable still life photographs of the late 1920s. They in turn fed naturally into a remarkable set of sculptural nudes in the 1930s. Subsequently, Weston's style loosened as he turned to the open landscape. The exhibition is arranged in thematic sections: Early Work, Mexico, Portraits, Nudes, Still Life, Early Landscape and Late Landscape. Images include an important suite of six dune studies made near Oceano, California in 1934 and 1936; 'Excusado', the iconic photograph of a lavatory pan, and the bedpan on its side that looks like a bird; two nested nautilus shells; the nude-like 'Pepper No 30' and 'Anita (Pear-Shaped Nude)'; the 'Armco Steel, Middletown, Ohio' factory chimneys and 'Three Radishes'; and his final photograph, nicknamed 'The Dody Rocks'. A 30 minute video, Remembering Edward Weston, featuring interviews with family members accompanies the show. City Art Centre, Edinburgh, until 24th October.

Camille Silvy, Photographer Of Modern Life, 1834 - 1910 is the first British retrospective of work by one of the greatest French photographers of the 19th century. Marking the centenary of Camille Silvy's death, the exhibition includes over 100 images, many of which have not been exhibited since 1860. The portraits on display offer a unique glimpse into 19th century Paris and Victorian London, through the eyes of one of photography's greatest innovators. The exhibition shows how Silvy pioneered many branches of the photographic medium, including theatre, fashion, military and street photography. Working under the patronage of Queen Victoria, having taken portraits of her children, Silvy photographed royalty, statesmen, aristocrats, celebrities, the professional classes, businessmen and the households of the country gentry. His London studio was a model factory with a staff of 40, which produced over 17,000 portraits in the new 'carte de visite' format - small, economically priced, and collectable - that show how the modern and fashionably dressed looked. Works on display will include 'River Scene, France', considered Silvy's masterpiece, alongside his London series on twilight, sunlight and fog. Anticipating the era of digital manipulation, he created photographic illusions in these works by using darkroom tricks. The exhibition also includes a cache of letters in which Silvy describes how he set up and ran his London studio, a selection of Daybooks, providing a unique record of the workings of the studio; a dress worn by his wife for a portrait session; and albums and other items that build up a picture of his working practice. The display illustrates the transformation of photographic art into industry, the beginnings of the democratisation of portraiture, and the life of a photographic genius who fell into obscurity. National Portrait Gallery until 17th October.