Textiles & Prints

textiles and prints: Gallery 3 Louis Vuitton

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

textiles and prints: Gallery 3 Louis Vuitton

This gallery feels very different from all the others.  It displayed some of the first pictures that Shuchkin collected between 1898 and 1905.  The pictures seem more conventional,  selected for their decorative and narrative attributes and framed in  heavy gilt.  There is a a pre-Raphealite painting – an Edward Burne-Jones(1833-1898) which is very beautiful and shimmers with light and colour but it does look oddly out of place.  ‘The Dauphin’s Salon at Versailles’ by Lobre (1862-1951) is very beautiful and was apparently a particular favourite of Shuchkin – who seemed to work hard to try an understand the paintings he bought. He placed this one at the centre one of the rooms of his home exhibition. It emanates calmness and a sense of...

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Icons of Modern Art: Louis Vuitton Foundation

Posted by on Nov 8, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

Icons of Modern Art: Louis Vuitton Foundation

    In the second gallery of the Shchukin Collection  there is multimedia presentation by Peter Greenaway and Saskia Boddeke which reinterprets the paintings by Henri Matisse – The Dance (1909) and Music (1910). These large panels were commissioned by Shchukin to grace the stairway of the Troubetsko Palace.  It seems surprising (given our preconceptions about the cultural mores of the time) that these wonderful pictures of  naked dancers were put in such a prominent picture in his house.  The pictures are full of joy and life and colour. The exhibition is worth attending to see the Matisse paintings alone – there is a later gallery filled with his...

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Wonderful Exhibition: Icons of Modern Art: Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

Wonderful Exhibition: Icons of Modern Art: Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Why have we never heard of Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin? He assembled one of the greatest collections of modern art assembled by one man and showed great prescience,  in his recognition of new artists.  Some of these wonderful paintings are now on show at the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris. It must partly be because he is Russian and lived as the revolution took hold – so that his collection was ‘nationalised’ and then later broken up by Stalin and he remained unrecognised for that he had achieved for ideological reasons.  (More prosaically,  his name seems to be spelt many different ways and each variant used in the same articles about him, which probably doesn’t help non-Russians get to grips with who he is exactly). His collection  was, however, very famous around the turn of the 20th century and by bringing together paintings from the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists Cubists and Fauve schools and putting them on public display  he had a profound influence on the development of many Russian artists of that period. Shchukin (1854-1936) was born into a family of rich industrialists and, with his brothers, built up one of the largest textile firms in pre-revolutionary Russia. All the family seemed to be gifted with artistic eyes and Shchukin was courageous enough to collect painters whose  genius he recognised but could not yet understand. The words of Alexander Benois seem particularly apt, when he called Shchukin a ‘collector hero.’ 13o of the most important works in his collection has been brought  together for this exhibition at the LouisVuitton Foundation and are displayed in 14 galleries. On a practical note be prepared to queue for each stage of the exhibition and have a meal before you go as only a full lunch is available within the Foundation building itself. Here is a quick tour of what is available in each room. Gallery 1 This gallery has a series of self-portraits and portraits of other people (including Shchukin himself) by Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso and Derain. This room is full of surprises – I have not seen many portraits by the Impressionists before. The self-portrait by Gauguin (1848-1903) was particularly striking, disturbing in many ways. Gauguin is painted,  shaded in dark colours and looks almost dangerous. Certainly troubled. Cezanne’s  (1839-1906) gaze, painted in his forties, looks out at you directly,  strong, confident, challenging. The surprise in this room was a portrait of Benet Soler painted in 1903 by Picasso, delicate, fastidious in a palate of blue.      ...

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Louis Vuitton Centre Paris: wonderful exhibition

Posted by on Nov 6, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Louis Vuitton Centre Paris: wonderful exhibition

There is a wonderful exhibition of French Impressionists and Pablo Picasso at the building that Frank Gehry designed to ‘recognise Paris’s  cultural vocation.’ This is now called the Foundation Louis Vuitton . The centre is in the Bois De Boulogne – from a distance it looks rather like a large plastic insect with unfolded wings. I decided I would not like it : I was wrong. As you approach it there is a beautiful waterfall – continuously flowing water down some grey steps but very engaging, holding your attention and producing a sense of restfulness and calm.  There was a long, long queue enveloping the building: tip buy an internet ticket or enter through the Jardin d’Acclimatation (worth a visit themselves) where there is no queue. Then prepare to queue for each salon but it is a magical exhibition in a (yes I came round to this) a stunning building with wonderful views of Paris from its...

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Abstract Expressionism: The Royal Academy

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Discussion, News | 0 comments

This is a stunning exhibition at the Royal Academy  : I suddenly understood what Mark Rothko (1903-1970) meant when he talked about the relationship between painting and viewer as ‘a consummated experience between picture and onlooker. Nothing should stand between my painting and the viewer.’ Like one of my tutors who was very sceptical about whether you could think of Rothko as a great artist because his paintings are apparently so simple. I had no more doubts when I saw the Rothko room at the exhibition. His work is powerful and serious. His works are grouped together in a circular gallery and the effect is sombre and all-encompassing. You feel held in the atmosphere created by the paintings and slowly you perceive what they mean to you. I was sad to find out more about Rothko’s life . It started with hardship (in Russia, now Latvia, with persecution as a Jew) and ended very sadly.  He committed suicide, quite unexpectedly though in retrospect his paintings showed the darkness of his mood. After his death, he became clear he had been  swindled by his agent  and many years of legal action followed before the wrong was righted. Many of the abstract expressionists, including Jackson Pollock, died sadly and in a period of personal hopelessness. They were serious about what they were trying to do and it meant much to them so the arid times must have been particularly unbearable.      ...

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Caravaggio Exhibition: The National Gallery

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I went to the members preview of the Caravaggio exhibition on Monday 10th October at The National Gallery – although it was limited admittance it was very full and reviews have suggested it will be the ‘must see’ exhibition of the winter. There are actually only 7 of his works on show; that said these are worth travelling to see in their own right, particularly ‘The Taking of Christ’ where Judas does not quite kiss Jesus and Caravaggio himself looks on in the background, seemingly both horrified and mesmerised. The rest of the exhibition focuses on Caravaggio’s influence on other artists – which was profound – in spite of his jealousy and anger when anyone seemed to copy him in his lifetime.   The darkness of his paintings, the horror and violence of the subjects he chose (Judith and Holofernes, The Beheading of John the Baptist, David and Goliath) reflect the darkness and turbulence of his own life. Caravaggio (1571-1610) had his greatest success in Rome where he was commissioned to paint religious subjects to fill the new Churches and counter the ‘threat’ posed by Protestantism. The naturalism of this paintings – where saints and sinners could be seen as real, living breathing people shocked and thrilled, as they still do today.   With all the court cases, brawls, escapes from goal and trials for murder with which he was embroiled and the shortness of his life, it is amazing that he could achieve everything that he did. A fine exhibition of someone whose influence is clear and unrivalled and still shocks and involves us...

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