News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st January 2007

Commencing

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 the suburban 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.

Continuing

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.

A Victorian Master: Drawings By Frederic, Lord Leighton marks the completion of the conservation and cataloguing one of the largest collections of drawings by a single Victorian artist, comprising some 715 works. The painter and sculptor, Frederic, Lord Leighton, was one of the great draughtsmen of the 19th century, and the collection of his drawings began to be assembled immediately after his death. Uniquely, the collection is located in his former home, where many of the drawings were made. Over 60 examples of drawings and oil sketches as preparations for his paintings have been selected for this exhibition, many of which have not been seen for more than 50 years. The drawings trace a journey through Leighton's life and career, focussing on three particular periods of his work: the six weeks spent in Capri in 1859, when Leighton produced his celebrated 'Study of a Lemon Tree'; studio work of 1877, the mid point of his career; and the last years before his death, including his final emotive painting 'Clytie', displayed alongside its oil sketch studies for the first time. Subjects cover a wide range, including nature - 'Study of an Oleander and a Tuberose', landscapes - 'Capri at Sunrise', architecture - 'Vaulted Loggia at the Villa Madama', portraits - Dorothy Dene, and studies after classical paintings and sculpture. Leighton House Museum, London until 25th February.

Barbed Wit: Italian Satire Of The Great War presents rarely viewed original artwork for postcards produced in Italy during the Great War, displaying bold designs, biting satire, and a specifically Italian slant on wartime propaganda. 36 highly coloured original designs by little known artists are exhibited alongside a selection of corresponding monochromatic postcards, revealing the mass produced outcome beside the original design. Postcards enjoyed a golden age in the first decade of the 20th century, and in addition to the newspapers, formed an important part of the social and political commentary on events of the Great War.

The artists featured in this exhibition used a variety of different satirical devices including personification, caricature and bestialisation to create a sophisticated, shrewd and visually appealing commentary on Italy's changing involvement in the conflict. Italy was at first undecided, with Virgilio Retrosi's red faced Italian infantryman pondering whether to follow a signpost to the 'European Theatre' titled 'Shall I just be an extra or take a starring role?'; she then joined Germany and Austria-Hungary, reflected in the Futurist Gino Severini's, semi-abstract, 'Dynamic Vision of Befana', which merges the national colours of France, Belgium and Germany, together with bullets, shrapnel and interspersed wording such as 'misery' and 'snow'; she then became neutral, before finally changing sides to join the Triple Entente against her former allies. Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London, until 18th March.

Art For The Nation traces Britain's long and defining relationship with the sea, reflecting British Maritime heritage, in commerce exploration and empire, as interpreted by the nation's greatest artists. As well as marine painting, subjects cover portraiture, history painting and landscape, treating the themes of encounter, colonialism and global exploration, shipwreck, battle and spectacle, as well as personality and the cult of the hero. Among some 200 paintings are portraits by Joshua Reynolds, whose full length portrait of Augustus Keppel established his career, Thomas Gainsborough's 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Francis Rigaud's Horatio Nelson, George Romney's Emma Hamilton, and Wiliam Hogarth's cabin scene with Lord George Graham; landscapes from William Hodges's '(Cascade Cove) Dusky Bay' and 'A View of Point Venus and Matavai Bay, looking east' from his record of Cook's second voyage in the Pacific, to Canaletto's 'Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames'; and marine paintings including Charles Brooking's 'An English Vice-Admiral of the Red and his Squadron at Sea', 'An East Indiaman in a Fresh Breeze' and 'Greenland Fishery: English Whalers in the Ice', Eugene Boudin's 'Trouville, Awaiting the Tide', and William van de Velde the Younger's 'A Dutch Ship Scudding Before a Storm', 'A Royal Visit to the Fleet in the Thames Estuary' and 'An English Ship in Action with Barbary Corsairs'. Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich until 2nd September.

Concluding

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.

The Past From Above: Through The Lens Of Georg Gerster presents over 100 aerial photographs of archaeological and heritage sites from across the globe taken by the Swiss photographer Georg Gerster. These images range from natural phenomena such as Uluru in Australia, to man made wonders such as the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq, or the Great Wall of China, providing a 'world tour' of the great monuments of human civilisation. These unique images reveal the scale of mankind's achievements, as well as highlighting the complex relationship between culture and nature - humans have shaped nature but are also shaped by it. To provide insights into these people, the exhibition also features objects displayed alongside some of the photographs, which help to complete the picture of the civilizations and the monuments that defined them. A stone hand-axe, one of the earliest objects made by humans from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, is on view beside a photograph of the site; a Mummy portrait by an image of the Kharga Oasis; and a seated Buddhist goddess next to a shot of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The objects personalise these imposing sites, re-emphasising the part humans played in their construction or, in some cases, destruction. The photographs also serve as reminders of the transience of culture and civilizations. In many instances the photographs are a reminder of times that have passed, beliefs that have faded, and empires that have crumbled. From a career spanning over 45 years, Georg Gerster has a collection of over 8,000 such aerial photographs, taken in more than 50 countries. The British Museum until 11th February.