News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th November 2004

Commencing

William Nicholson: British Painter And Printmaker reveals the breadth of Nicholson's work, encompassing intensely observed still lifes, psychological portraits, minimalist landscapes that move towards abstraction, book illustrations, theatre posters, and radical woodcut prints. The first major review of his work to be held in London in sixty years, this exhibition includes many works that have rarely been seen in this country, with some 68 paintings and over 50 prints. They range from early graphic work of the 1890s to the late still lifes of the 1940s. Among the woodcuts are all 26 prints from The Alphabet, a poster for Don Quixote, and a portrait of Queen Victoria, which established Nicholson at the forefront of the international print revival in the 1890s. Highlights among the painted portraits include studies of such friends as the writer Max Beerbohm and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. The majority of his paintings are small and jewel-like, however, the First World War work 'The Canadian Headquarters Staff' is a vast canvas showing a group of Officers standing in front of an aerial photograph of the ruined cloth hall at Ypres. Nicholson's book illustrations are represented by popular children's titles 'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams, and his own 'Clever Bill' and 'The Pirate Twins'. Nicholson's work shows an artist whose independence of vision was seemingly untouched by any of the many revolutions in art during his lifetime. Royal Academy of Arts until 23rd January.

Queen Alexandra And The Art Of Photography provides an insider's view of the lives of the royal families of Europe from the 1880s to the First World War. Queen Alexandra, the consort of King Edward VII, was a talented artist and the most celebrated royal photographer of her time. Her interest in photography began in 1885, after George Eastman presented her with one of his new roll-film cameras. Over the next 20 years she went on to take part in several Kodak exhibitions. Queen Alexandra's photographic albums, often embellished with watercolour decoration and annotated with impromptu anecdotes, are unique personal diaries that provide a detailed record of the life of the British royal family and their European relations. In addition to the albums and photographs, the display also includes the Queen's Kinora, an early machine for viewing short films.Treasures From The Royal Library is a selection from the collection that has been located here since the reign of William IV. In addition to over 50,000 printed books, the Library contains coins and medals, orders of chivalry, prints, maps, fans, and one of the finest collections of Old Master drawings in the world. As works of art on paper are easily damaged by exposure to light, they cannot be on permanent display. The current selection includes drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein. The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle until 25th April.

Designing Modern Life - A History Of Modern Design is an ambitious exhibition that explores how design has transformed daily life over the last century. By reconstructing innovative projects that dominated future developments in design, the exhibition shows how ingenious designers have harnessed advances in materials and technologies, as well as cultural, social and behavioural changes, to transform the way we work, rest and play. These include the model modern apartment designed by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand in 1920s Paris; a London Transport underground platform of the 1930s, showcasing its pioneering graphics; one of the rooms designed by Arne Jacobsen for his showpiece SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in the 1950s; and a 1960s office equipped by Dieter Rams. The exhibition also deconstructs the design histories of specific objects, including the book - from pioneering 1930s Penguin paperback to contemporary books designed and made by Irma Boom - the humble chair, album covers and recent phenomena such as the website. A specially created installation by Spanish designer Marti Guixe of 'Statement Chairs' features items that are both pieces of furniture and commentaries on modern design. In addition, each month a design guru selects 10 examples of good contemporary design costing no more than £10. Design Museum until 27th November 2005.

Continuing

The Architecture Gallery is Britain's first permanent space devoted to the display of architectural drawings, models, maquettes and elements of real buildings. The £5.2m project, designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects, brings together the unique collections of the Royal Institute of British Architecture and the Victoria & Albert museum. The display draws on works by great architects from Palladio, Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren and Robert Adam, through Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, to Norman Foster, Zia Hadid and Richard Rogers. The gallery provides a concise general introduction to architecture, for both students and the casual visitor. Around 180 permanent exhibits are split into thematic displays: The Art Of Architecture, The Function Of Buildings, Architects And Architecture and Buildings In Context. They range from British icons such as St Paul's Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster, to the Alhambra in Granada, Fort William in Calcutta and Sydney Opera House. In addition to the permanent display there is an area for temporary exhibitions, where Great Buildings is the opening show. There are also new study rooms and stores, designed by Wright & Wright, to house the RIBA's Drawings, Manuscripts and Archives collections alongside the V&A's Prints, Drawings and Paintings collections, which will allow the public to view the entire archive. Victoria & Albert Museum continuing.

Hungary's Heritage: Princely Treasures From The Esterhazy Collection does exactly what it says on the tin. Jewellery, silver clocks, gold enamelled boxes, carved ivory, gold coins and medals, Medieval silverware and other historical treasures, gifts of gold cups from the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, bejewelled Turkish daggers and pieces associated with Matthias Corvinus, Hungary's greatest king, make up this exhibition. The Esterhazys were the richest and most powerful family in Hungary, playing a dominant role in Hungarian military and court life from the early 17th century to the early 19th century. Prince Miklos Esterhazy founded the family treasury, having an unerring eye for the magnificent, and the funds to indulge himself. Succeeding generations added to it, logging personal history with silver and gold plate commemorating tragedies and celebrations, and national history through the spoils of military conquest, and gifts exchanged at the signing of treaties and visits by foreign Royalty. The exhibition comprises some 50 outstanding works of art from the Esterhazy Treasury, the first time such a substantial group has been seen outside Hungary. The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, London until 23rd January.

Art In The Making: Degas is part of a series of exhibitions on artists' techniques. Edgar Degas was one of the most experimental artists of the 19th century, and throughout his long career constantly found new ways to use oil paint, chalk, pastel, essence and printmaking processes - in particular monotypes - often combining two or more media in the same work. This exhibition is an in-depth examination of some twelve works by Degas, ranging across his career, from early portraits to later history paintings. They are complemented by x-radiographs, infra-red reflectograms and pigment analyses, which reveal just how complex Degas' methods could be. He continued to change paintings over long periods, reworking them again and again - even wanting to return to some after they had been sold. Many of what are thought of as Degas' masterpieces were discovered as 'works in progress' in his studio after his death. Images that look spontaneous are revealed to be the result of deliberation, experiment and correction, such as 'Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando', for which Degas even hired an architectural draughtsman to assist in perfecting the cirque's dome. An x-ray reveals that a portrait of his cousin Elena Carafa started with her facing away, but in the final version her face is tilted towards the viewer. Earlier and later versions of 'Young Spartans Exercising', painted some 20 years apart, even show how Degas moved from classicism to modernism. National Gallery until 30th January.

The London Look: Fashion From Street To Catwalk, celebrates the wit and style of London fashion, by bringing together over 200 exhibits by more than 70 designers spanning the past two centuries. As well as the garments themselves, the exhibition presents London fashion through sound recordings, photographs and archive footage of fashion shows and designers at work. Photographers, models and make-up artists talk about their work, alongside a rare film screening of a 1963 Mary Quant fashion show, and fashion photography by Terence Donovan, Sarah Moon, Nick Knight and others. Charting the growth of the city's fashion industry from the late 1940s, items on display range from a silk satin couture evening dress painted with roses by Norman Hartnell (1948), through a floral printed trouser suit by Biba (1973) to a Vivienne Westwood tailored men's suit with matching ermine cape and crown (1987). London's long pre-eminence in tailoring is reflected in suits and overcoats from 19th century Savile Row tailors. London's street styles, from the Teddy boys of South and East London, through the Mods of Carnaby Street, to the Punks of the Kings Road, have their moments of sartorial glory remembered. Finally, the story comes up to date with contemporary clothing and accessories, including men's outfits by Burberry and Paul Smith, alongside dresses by Alexander McQueen, Catherine Walker, Stella McCartney, John Galliano and Giles Deacon. Museum of London until 8th May.

Ed Ruscha has captured the cool spirit of the modern American West Coast, and of Los Angeles in particular, perhaps more than any other artist. In 1956 he took the mythical Route 66 from Oklahoma City (his childhood home) to LA, where he studied commercial art. His experiences of the wide open landscape and man made billboards along the way had a lasting impact on his work. Paintings and drawings of words set against a largely empty, coloured backgrounds and horizons became central to his spare tributes to the Californian landscape. Equally important to Ruscha was the impact of film. Many of his works reflect the way that credits appear, and the show includes a group that deal with the final word on a film - 'The End'. This retrospective of a 50 year career includes drawings on paper, photographs and illustrated books as well as paintings. Among the highlights are photographs of car parks and Los Angeles streets, apartment blocks and neon signs, pop-inspired paintings of objects and words, silhouette paintings, aerial views of intersections and place names, and paintings of text superimposed on panoramic mountain views. Ruscha has even become part of the landscape he loves, with Kent Twichell's 'Ed Ruscha Monument 1978-87' on South Hill Street in Los Angeles - a 70ft portrait of Ruscha staring blankly towards the city's downtown area. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh until 16th January.

Quentin Blake At Christmas looks at several aspects of the work of the first Children's Laureate. A Christmas Garland is a celebration of Quentin Blake's many encounters with the festive season, including his illustrations for Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' and John Julius Norwich's 'The Illustrated Christmas Cracker', as well as a profusion of other books, cards, postage stamps and advent calendars. Welcome To Birdland surveys his longstanding enthusiasm for birds as a subject, from Aristophanes's 'The Birds', through books such as John Yeoman's 'Up with Birds!' and his own 'Cockatoos', to his new collection of drawings, 'The Life of Birds'. Cross Channel shows illustrated work done specifically for France, and reflects Blake's involvement in publication and education in France. Not For Publication features drawings that are intended for exhibition rather than for inclusion in books, such as 'Children and Dogs'. Finally, Artists And Angels includes the original drawings for Blake's new picture book 'Angel Pavement', described as "a paean to the magic of drawing", which arose out of his work with the Campaign for Drawing, together other works done to promote the activities of the Campaign. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 16th January.

Concluding

The Age Of Titain: Venetian Renaissance Art From Scottish Collections brings together works from various Scottish collections and galleries from the greatest period of Venetian art, between about 1460 and 1620. Some 80 paintings by Titian and his contemporaries, including Jacopo Bassano, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, together with 45 drawings, and 30 prints, plus 11 books and manuscripts, sculpture in marble, terracotta and bronze, furniture, textiles in cut velvet and silk damask, maiolica, glass and enamels, present a comprehensive picture of one of the most important periods in artistic history, when almost everything was imbued with a spiritual aura. Among the highlights are a huge 'Christ and the Centurion' by Paris Bourdon, Andrea Schiavone's largest known mythology 'Infancy of Jupiter', 'Portrait of Doge Marcantonio Memmo' by Palma il Giovane, and 'Christ and the Adulteress', now accepted as an early work by Titian, seen for the first time together with his 'Three Ages of Man', 'Diana and Acteon', Diana and Callisto', 'Venus Rising from the Sea' and 'Salome with the Head of John the Baptist'. The exhibition inaugurates the Playfair Project, a partially underground gallery, designed by John Miller and Partners, linking the restored Royal Scottish Academy building with the National Gallery of Scotland. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until 5th December.

Walter Sickert: Drawing Is The Thing opens up a new front in the current Sickertmania by examining the core of his creative process. Sickert drew constantly in order to capture new subjects for his paintings - theatrical interiors, the stage, and highly charged domestic dramas. By bringing together over 150 works, with every form of drawing Sickert made, and a number of related paintings and prints, it offers an insight into his techniques, themes and reasons for drawing. Sickert's earliest, small drawings, quick, evocative sketches made in the semi-darkness of the theatre, are evidence of his daily (or rather nightly) practice of drawing from real-life situations. His depictions of couples in an interior, recognised as his major achievement, form a large part of the exhibition. Just as many of the theatrical interiors featured the dynamic tension between audience and performer, so his domestic dramas are full of psychological tension. A central feature of the exhibition is the assembling of all the known drawings for his composition Ennui, together with the paintings and prints they inspired. The unusual nature of Sickert's subject matter extended to his choice of unconventional models, both architectural and human. He rejected professional models and preferred unglamorous, working class parts of town. The exhibition also explores the relationship between Sickert and one of his models, a young art student Cicely Hey, whom he drew many times. Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 5th December.

Somewhere Everywhere Nowhere is an exhibition of international contemporary art selected from five of France's FRACs (Fonds Regionaux d'Art Contemporain) which were set up in 1983 to collect, commission and present the art of our times. It looks at notions of place, space and context, from landscapes to interiors, embracing a wide range of media, including film, photography, sculpture and video. The works by major French and international figures - Lothar Baumgarten, Alighiero e Boetti, Dominique Gonzalez-Forester and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others - reflect the breadth and quality of the contemporary art being collected. Among the works are photographs of industrial sites by Bernd and Hilla Becher; Willie Doherty's traumatised suburban landscapes; Jeff Wall's cibachrome of a man holding an exploding carton of milk, mounted on a huge light box; Chen Zhen's bits of urban detritus in an industrial-looking glass case; Didier Marcel's architect's model of a building in the process of being demolished; Erwin Wurm's film of a pair of cardboard boxes in a gallery space projected onto a pair of cardboard boxes in a gallery space; Douglas Gordon's compilation of fragments taken from 'Star Trek'; and Andrea Fraser's video of a visitor responding over-enthusiastically to an audio-guide's description of the Guggenheim Bilbao. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh until 28th November and Dundee Contemporary Arts until 4th December.