Discussion

Textiles and Prints; both at Matisse in the Studio

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Discussion, Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

One thing you must do this autumn – sunlight and inspiration Make sure you go to https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/matisse-in-the-studio – it’s a wonderful exhibition of an eclectic mix of artworks and the objects that inspired them.      Jonathan Jones, writing for The Guardian  said the exhibition was less about art and more about the creative process (as if this was a fault). For me, and anyone else studying art, it makes it even more important to see it not once but many times. Mr Jones felt that the exhibition amounted to ‘genius crowded out by bric a brac.’   As a lover of bric-a-brac myself this would also be an attraction – a genius’ s bric-a brac collection, what could be more appealing? It is so much more – Matisse’s beloved object that he carried around throughout his life and with which he populated his studio – old friends themselves- are transformed into some of his most famous works.  Laura Cumming describes it much better for me – ‘a few of his favourite things’ ….’reused, reworked, transformed into new phrases and poems’ To  see how much-loved possessions, everyday things,  that Matisse had lived with and had studied  over many  years were transformed into great inspiring art that has come to be part of our lives. The creative process is in some ways a mystery to be entered into rather than understood. Some feel it can never be understood. I have now worked with two artists at West Dean – Sarah MacCrae (jeweller and silversmith) and Kate Boucher – who both use processes to work through an idea and develop it into the beginning of a finished artwork.  Both suggest taking an image, then concentrate on one area and then working into it. Perhaps drawing it twice as large, or half as big, drawing it upside down. The image then becomes yours and you make choices about...

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Art in Verona: not a print in sight.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 in Discussion | 0 comments

Visited the Torre dei Lamberti today  – a wonderful climb to spectacular views over Verona. I cannot think of any tall building of today, built with many more aids to design and construction, that matches it for beauty and grandeur. There are so many of these astounding buildings in Italy (think Siena) – this one essentially built to show off the wealth and power of one family.  Trying to work out what it is that makes it so imposing and yet attractive is harder than it should be. There is its age (started in 1172)  the warmth and solidity of the brick work, which alternates with tufa. This is a soft porous rock, a limestone, made of calcium carbonate which was supplanted by travertine or marble in many later Italian buildings. It is reassuring and magnificent at the same time.  A work of art that is part of the fabric of every life.  It was added to over many years and houses two great bells, the Rengo and Marangona, which regulated city life.  You can look out over the city, orientating yourself with ease, the Via Mazzini, the Via Stella, the station in the distance. The ancient part blending well with the newer areas over the river.  We came down from the Tower and climbed the great gothic staircase, the, Scala della Ragione, (stairs of reason)  to the Palazzo della Ragione, which houses the new gallery of modern art.  The buildings around it are so ancient that I wondered what modern would mean – but it was a very interesting exhibition in stunning surroundings. Light and airy and with plenty of space giving the exhibits – paintings and sculptures – room to be seen at their best.  It made me ask what makes an artist become famous all over the world, a household name – so many of these were distinguished but not widely known.  It was also clear how important art was to the modern Italians to express the tensions, the horrors, the joys of becoming a nation and then being asked to ‘return to order’ during the second world war.  ‘The Manifesto del Realism di Pittori e Scultura’  (The Manifesto of Realism in Painting and Sculpture.’) was a protest against this and Emilio Vendova an important voice in the idea that art was part of protest and politics.  In times of turbulence and violence art is part of the debate. ...

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Gallery 5 Post Impressionists

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

Gallery 5 Post Impressionists

Gallery 5 contains more landscapes but these are Post-Impressionist, Fauve or Cubist.  There are two by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)- a most beautiful landscape of an Aqueduct in the Aix countryside. The Aqueduct  itself (in this painting) is seen in the distance, through tall trees which really dominate the painting.  Reading round, trying to understand more, it seems he painted many different views of the same landscapes showing just how different the same area can look from different view points, in different lights and different moods.  This painting was apparently very influential in the development of Cubism – Cezanne emphasising ‘a geometric approach to shapes and space in order to apply a “logic of organized sensations.”‘ Not much understood in his life time but having a profound effect on the development of...

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Gallery 4 : landscapes by Monet

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

Gallery 4 : landscapes by Monet

Gallery 4 is full of landscapes.  Shchukin was clearly a deeply thoughtful and spiritual man as well as a successful businessman and great traveller.  He came into contact with Paul Durand-Ruel (whose collections formed a subject of a recent National Gallery exhibition) in 1898 and began collecting the French Impressionists – long before most people became interested.  Gallery 4 contains 8 works by Monet painted between 1866 and 1904 – this beautiful painting of foggy, dirty London was actually completed when Monet was living in Giverny.  Shchukin had a collection of over ninety landscapes – he travelled extensively in the middle east and wrote extensively about his personal spiritual, reactions to changing light and the undulating, shifting landscape of the...

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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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