News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th November 2006


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.

Featuring Walls: Celebrating Three Centuries Of Wallpaper Decoration marks the opening of a permanent display space for a unique collection of historic and modern wallpapers, featuring some 30 visually inventive decorations. The exhibition, which is curated by Christine Woods, Britain's only full time curator of wallpapers, reflects many of the social and cultural currents at work when the papers were made. They range from exquisite 18th century English floral patterns, block printed and stencilled on hand made rag paper, through exotic 19th century French drapery and chinoiserie confections, to 20th and 21st century examples. This display illustrates the range of wallpaper, as a signifier of social status, a source of imaginative inspiration and a reflector of cultural preoccupations. It is certainly not just the predictable good taste William Morris - although of course he and the Arts and Craft Movement are represented. Among the highlights are: Les Prodigues, a risque Parisian decoration from 1855, revealing the hangover aftermath of an orgy of demimonde indulgence, more suitable for a brothel than a bourgeois living room; Lantern Frieze, from 1930, showing the twin influences of the 'Orient' with colourful depictions of lanterns and blossoms, and the first 'talkies' as these are set in a filmstrip; Peter Jones's Sikhara from 1971, a jazzy geometric design echoing the rise of pop, bold enough to blur your vision; and artist Abigail Lane's Bloody Wallpaper, a red silkscreened work based on a photograph of a New York murder scene. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 30th September.

David Smith: A Centennial provides a comprehensive survey of the distinctive work of one of the most innovative and influential American sculptors of the 20th century. Smith was a pioneer 'welder artist', constructing pieces out of iron and steel sheets and wires, rather than employing traditional casting methods. He is best known for his diverse large scale metal pieces, constructed from used machine parts, abandoned tools and scrap metal. In the 1930s and 1940s, influenced by Surrealism and Constructivism, he created hybrid figural sculptures, and in the 1950s, he began to work in stylistic series, ranging from the complicated abstract drawings-in-space of the 'Agricolas' to anthropomorphic and totemic sculptures incorporating machine parts such as the 'Sentinels' and 'Tanktotems'. In the 1960s, his work grew in scale, and became more concerned with abstraction, as in his series of 'Voltris', 'Wagons', and 'Cubis'. This exhibition of almost one hundred pieces comprises the largest selection of his work ever shown in Europe. It encompasses Smith's early experiments with found objects in the 1930s, his exploration of both animate and inanimate forms within interiors from the 1940s, and his examination of landscape in the 1950s. Iconic pieces on display include works never seen before in this country, such as 'Australia 1951' and 'Cubi XXVII', together with 'Saw Head', 'Star Cage', 'The Letter', 'Reliquary House' and 'The Forest'. Tate Modern until 14th January.


David Teniers And The Theatre Of Painting tells the story of one of the most remarkable artistic enterprises of the 17th century: David Teniers' publication of the Theatrum Pictorium or 'Theatre of Painting', the first illustrated printed catalogue of a major paintings collection. David Teniers was court artist to the Governor of the Southern Netherlands, whose collection comprised some 1,300 works, including paintings by Holbein, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Van Eyck, Raphael, Giorgione, Veronese and Titian. This exhibition includes Teniers's first detailed visual compendium of the collection in 'Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Picture Gallery', and later, further acquisitions in 'Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery in Brussels'. Teniers then embarked on an illustrated catalogue of 243 of the Archduke's most admired Italian paintings, which became the Theatrum Pictorium. He employed a team of 12 engravers to reproduce the paintings, and in order to ensure the accuracy of their work, made small copies in oil of each of the chosen works, issuing them as models. 25 of these copies are featured in the exhibition, displayed alongside the prints from the Theatrum for which they were made, and Teniers's little known painted design for the frontispiece, showing a portrait of the Archduke and two of his favourite paintings. There also are several examples of the Theatrum, including a rare 1660 edition with the Archduke's coat of arms, a copy owned by Joshua Reynolds, and one lavishly introduced in four languages. The Courtauld Institute, London until 21st January.

The International Flipbook Festival is a celebration of 'hand-powered cinema', designed and decorated by Rama Hoffpauir. The exhibition presents over 100 flipbooks, made by contemporary artists throughout Europe and North America. It celebrates the ways in which artists rise imaginatively to the challenge of basic media in our hi-tech age - the original hand held moving picture entertainment centre. The event was devised 4 years ago by artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright as a film festival without the film, and each of the flipbooks has been submitted into one of four categories: Live Action, Animation, Experimental, and Documentary. As in traditional film festivals The International Flipbook Festival awards prizes in each category. Among the 90 artists whose work is on show are Sebastian Bodirsky, Jill Blagsvedt, Kelly Coats, Samantha Gerlach, Libby Hartle, Katja Von Helldorff, Robert Hengeveld and Jen Hutton Jason Hsu, Mikhail Iliatov, Lana Kim and Saelee Oh, Selena Kimball, Stan Krzyzanowski, Sara MacKillop, Peter Pezzimenti, Topsy Qur'et, Annette Rnol, Ruth Scott and Celeste Toogood. The ultimate hands on exhibition experience. Reg Vardy Gallery, University of Sunderland, Ashburne House, Ryhope Road, Sunderland until 8th December.

Beyond The Maker's Mark: Paul de Lamerie Silver celebrates the work of Paul de Lamerie, London's leading 18th century silversmith. In addition to items from the permanent collection, the display includes around 50 pieces of de Lamerie silver from the American Cahn Collection, which includes some of the most important pieces of de Lamerie silver in private hands, such as the Maynard Dish and the Turtle Tureen, and many works that have never before been on public view. In the first half of the 18th century, London was a centre for the production of luxury goods, and de Lamerie's pieces set the standard for luxury and fine craftsmanship. The popularity of coffee and tea, and introduction of new foods, gave rise to a range of specialized wares and serving vessels. De Lamerie's mark appears on numerous objects of silver, ranging from candelabra to complete dinner services. The exhibition explores de Lamerie's career, including his patrons, the evolution of his style, and the organisation of his highly successful business. Among the most splendid pieces are: the Chesterfield Wine Cooler, with cast dolphin handles and four panels chased with the Elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water); the Newdigate Centrepiece, richly decorated with bold scrollwork, flowers, shells and helmetted putti; the Walpole Salver, which has engraving attributed to William Hogarth, with seal roundels supported by a figure of Hercules, flanked by allegorical figures representing Calumny and Envy, with a view of the City of London; and the Ilchester Ewer And Basin, with the handle of the ewer in the form of a mermaid with long flowing hair supporting its body with her arm. Victoria & Albert Museum until 21st January.

David Hockney Portraits is the most comprehensive survey of the artist's portraits ever staged, comprising almost 200 works - paintings, drawings, prints, sketchbooks and photocollages - made over the past five decades. Offering the opportunity to see many works together for the first time, it provides a visual diary of the life, loves and friendships of one of the most admired British artists of his generation. The portraits provide insights into the Hockney's intense observations of the people he has charted over many years, including his parents, designer Celia Birtwell, art dealer John Kasmin and some of the leading cultural figures of the 20th century, such as Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Christopher Isherwood, Lucien Freud and W H Auden. Some of Hockney's most personal and powerful works are included in the exhibition, starting with very early self portraits and studies of his father created during his years at Bradford School of Art. Also brought together are the almost life size double portraits 'Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott', 'American Collectors (Mr and Mrs Weisman)', 'My Parents' and 'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy'. While showcasing major examples of Hockney's work from his time in Britain and California, including 'Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool' and 'Divine', the exhibition concludes with new work, marking his return to large scale painted portraits. It also celebrates Hockney's many innovations in the art of portraiture, from his Cubist influenced photographic collages of the 1980s to his recent camera lucida drawings. National Portrait Gallery until 21st January.

Vive la Parisienne examines the portrayal of women in Parisian life in the late 19th century, at a time when the Impressionist movement was capturing the emerging modern world with spontaneity and life. The exhibition focuses on how the leading exponents of Impressionism were concerned with life in the city centre and the portrayal of the 'Parisienne'. It explores how women and their activities formed a large part of the artists' subject matter, and reveals the wide spectrum of approaches, comparing the settings for these paintings and their sitters, and examining the role of the modern woman in Paris - from chorus girls and artists' models, to the domestic realm and polite society of the middle and upper classes. Works on display include Degas' 'Chanteuse de Cafe-Concert', Pissarro's 'Mme Pissarro Sewing Beside a Window', Helleu's 'Portrait', Toulouse-Lautrec's 'La Passagere du 54', Renoir's 'Misia Sert' and Cassatt's 'Portrait of a Woman'.

Liz Rideal: Fall, River, Snow is the premiere of a unique film installation, shot at Niagara, Burleigh Falls and Big Cedar in Canada this year. It is in three parts entitled 'Water Drape', 'Ice Steam', and 'Deer Portrait', is projected outdoors onto the natural landscape of a lake and trees, and focuses attention on the mesmeric power of scenery. Shot on Super 8, these silent films are a meditation on the beauty of the natural world, tracking the movement of water, snow packed firm on land, a lake, wheeling gulls, camouflaged deer moving through woodland, a double rainbow, and the snow laden branches of trees.

Compton Verney Art Gallery, both exhibitions until 10th December.

Britannia & Muscovy: English Silver At The Court Of The Tsars offers a unique opportunity to see some of the most important surviving 16th and 17th century English silver, together with Russian gold and silver of the same period, preserved in the Kremlin's Armoury Museum. The relationship between English monarchs from Elizabeth I to Charles II and Russian Tsars from Ivan the Terrible to Alexey Mikhaylovich was a close one, and silver pieces and richly adorned weapons were prominent amongst diplomatic gifts. The silver in the Kremlin avoided being melted down, the fate of much English silver during the English Civil War, and so remains to give an insight into the opulence of Elizabethan and Jacobean court life. Among the English highlights are a gilded silver heraldic leopard vessel over three feet high; a unique silver-gilt perfuming pot and stand; a silver-gilt ewer over two feet high, its handle in the form of a serpent, its spout a winged dragon and the lower half of the body finely engraved with Tudor roses and thistles; and a pair of presentation belt pistols with barrels elaborately decorated in steel, mother-of-pearl and damascened gold. Russian treasures include a gold 'kovsh', a traditional vessel set with rubies, sapphires and pearls; a gold cup adorned with large precious stones and enamel; an elaborately chased, carved and gilded 'bratina' or loving cup; and an icon of the Virgin of Vladimir, with a silver cover profusely decorated with sapphires, emeralds, turquoise and pearls. Shown alongside these historical treasures are some examples of contemporary Russian gold and silver ware. Gilbert Collection, Somerset House until 28th January.


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.

Bejewelled By Tiffany 1837 - 1987 celebrates the design and craftsmanship of the jewels and luxurious objects created by Tiffany & Co during its first 150 years. The most comprehensive exhibition of Tiffany wares ever mounted, the exhibition comprises some 180 pieces from the Tiffany archive, together with jewels loaned from private collections, many of which have never before been on public display. Starting modestly as a 'Fancy Goods' store on Broadway in New York, Tiffany quickly rose to international fame, its jewellery winning medals at the great international exhibitions of the 19th century. The exhibition is displayed chronologically, within which the pieces are arranged thematically, highlighting particular designers, sources of inspiration or the materials favoured at different times. Among the most spectacular are a gold, silver, diamond, pearl and emerald brooch adapted by Bapst from a girdle once owned by the French Empress Eugenie; a necklace with matching brooch of gold and half-pearls, similar to one bought by Abraham Lincoln for his wife to wear at his Inaugural Ball; a leaf spray brooch of gold, platinum, diamonds and amethysts by Rene Lalique; the garland style Wade Necklace of gold, platinum and diamond; an enamelled and diamond orchid by G Paulding Farnham; a 'skyscraper' necklace of platinum and diamond; a 'bird on a rock' brooch by Jean Schlumberger in gold, platinum, yellow and white diamond and ruby; and a dragon brooch by Donald Claflin of platinum, gold, turquoise, diamond, emerald and ruby. Gilbert Collection, Somerset House until 26th November.

Designing Modern Britain examines how innovative design has shaped the modern world over the last 90 years, by reconstructing some of the landmarks with original artefacts. These include a 1931 tube station, featuring Harry Beck's revolutionary diagrammatic map of the London underground system, together with other signage and iconic posters; a room in Berthold Lubetkin's Modernist luxury 1935 Highpoint apartment complex in Highgate; part of the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank, with Ralph Tubbs's Dome Of Discovery and Michael Powell and Hidalgo Moya's Skylon; and Ben Kelly's 1982 transformation of a disused yacht showroom into the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, the blueprint for warehouse parties and superclubs. Industrial design projects include the first production models of the Alec Issigonis's Morris Minor and Mini, and early examples of Herbert Austin and Stanley Edge's Austin Seven, and Malcolm Sayer and William Heynes's E Type Jaguar - not to mention Clive Sinclair's infamous C5; and the winner of the Great British Design Quest: Concorde, sadly not the real thing, but represented by memorabilia and photographs. The exhibition even tells the story of the humble chair, from Modernist Marcel Breuer in the 1920s, to the latest in moulded plastic by Jasper Morrison. Looking to the future, there are designs and models of proposals for the 2012 Olympics in the Lower Lea Valley, and the regeneration of the Thames Gateway area, with homes, schools and sports stadia. Design Museum, London until 26th November.