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ART EXHIBITION AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY SACKLER WING GALLERY OF HONORE DAUMIER – FRENCH ARTIST

I went to see the Daumier exhibition on Sunday, as I was in the West End of London.  I am very glad I made it just before the exhibition closed.  It was called

DAUMIER, 1808-1979 VISIONS OF PARIS – 28 OCTOBER 2013 TO 26 JANUARY 2014

An interesting piece of information from the exhibition was that  ‘Daumier did not draw from life or employ models in his studio.  Instead he worked from memory, reworking many images ‘twenty times over’ and then completing them in just a few hours”

I noticed that there were quite a few oil paintings, and small sketch-like works, which surprised me as I have always thought of Daumier as a print maker.  Yes, his main income was from satirical lithography, provided for the press in Paris, but he also worked on painting in oils, and ink or watercolour, and sculpture.

From the leaflet I learned that ‘only a handful of his paintings and drawings can be dated with certainty as they were rarely exhibited, published or sold’.

The small works were so interesting, as they seemed very modern in their subject matter and the atmosphere seemed sometimes sad and wistful, a wistfulness which he conveyed brilliantly.  I am thinking of the series of paintings of clowns,  Les saltimbanques

The Sideshow,

Parade de saltimbanques, by Honore Daumier, 43cm x 33cm

PAINTINGS OF WOMEN

Daumier, the Burden

The Burden, oil, Honore Daumier c.1850

The images of working women, with children in tow, were what caught my eye. Above is The Burden, painted in oil on paper, 47cm x 27cm.  These images are small. Apparently Daumier used to live on Isle Saint Louis, and watched the laundresses with their burdens coming up from the Laundry Boats on the River Seine.  This painting is usually in Dijon.

Some of the works were made  with an interesting mix of media, for instance, charcoal, gouache, black ink, pencil, conte, wash, watercolour.  The results were beautiful, i thought, and very rich.  They inspired me to use gouache and conte crayon on my drawings of London, as well as what I usually employ which is black pen, pencil or soft black crayon.  I am now a member of Urban Sketchers London!

Van Gogh wrote at length of Daumier in his letters, he was friends with Corot and Victor Hugo, and apparently some of the modern artists in particular  who admire him include Paula Rego, Quentin Blake and Gerald Scarfe.

I was reminded of the work of Edward Ardizzone, the author and illustrator, too. Here is a link to some Ardizzone pictures on The Tate website. Do have a look in particular at The Bedroom

I think my favourite image was the small Hunters by the Fire, of which I could not find a postcard.  It  three men and their dog, looking into the smoky fireplace, and it is in atmospheric greys and blacks.  The list of media is:  charcoal, pen and ink, watercolour heightened with gouache.  Very lovely.  Here is a link to the image which I found in the Art Print Collection  http://bit.ly/1esvTp3

I shall look out for more Daumier works now, not only are the works he produced interesting but the story of his life is also the story of a modern man, who stuck to his beliefs and did not follow the temptation to produce large fashionable works  just to make lots of money.

The works were on show in the Sackler Wing of the RA, right on the top so we have to get there in the lift.  The first of the rooms is always crowded – I usually walk through to the following rooms where there is more space, then maybe reverse my walk when the crowds have lessened.

ROYAL ACADEMY DAUMIER EXHIBITION IN JANUARY 2014

ART UNDER ATTACK – EXHIBITION – TATE BRITAIN LONDON


ART UNDER ATTACK – HISTORIES OF BRITISH ICONOCLASM

EXHIBITION AT TATE BRITAIN RUNS UNTIL 5 JANUARY 2013

Got lucky, I was successful in winning admission for two, to the private view of ART UNDER ATTACK at the Tate Britain, London.  It was organised by the Guardian Events Team, of the Guardian newspaper.

We were asked not to arrive before 6.45 so that gave us the chance for a quick one at The Morpeth Arms nearby.  It was heaving, being near Christmas.

Nice though, and we met a couple of other artists who told us they had just spent the whole day at the Tate Britain, saying it was now absolutely marvellous, and they had not even had time to see all the work on display.

I must definitely go there before Christmas, as at that time it is usually less crowded at galleries – I find Christmas Eve is best!.

Our new friends were very interesting to talk to, as we had a lot in common. Gil has a website, here is a link

http://mutchart.co.uk/gilmutch%40me.com/welcome.html

TATE BRITAIN – THE ART UNDER ATTACK EXHIBITION

The Tate Britain staff and the Guardian staff made us very welcome, with wine and beer and soft drinks available. and we had an excellent comprehensive introduction to the exhibition given by the curator Ruth Kenny.

I had not known much about Art Under Attack and now I have visited, I can recommend it to all artists, and those of us who are interested in history and politics.  In particular I found the section on Religion – Dissolution, and Religion – Reformation, very relevant to my reading of Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies,  novels by Hilary Mantel about the reign of Henry VIII.

The section in Art Under Attack dealing with Politics – Suffragettes, was fascinating too.  There is an image of the Rokeby Venus, after it had been slashed by Mary ‘Slasher’ Richardson, the militant suffragette, showing the cut marks. Amazing to look at it now in the National Gallery, there is no sign of restoration.

The room Aesthetics – Attacks on Art included a sculpture by Allen Jones, a fascinating work,  ‘CHAIR’   ALLEN JONES

Apparently acid was thrown by a woman on the face of the female figure – one of those which is bent over on all fours with a table on its back.  Interesting also because I had admired the work of Allen Jones in the Pop Goes London exhibition at Christies Gallery, Bond Street, London.  See my earlier post about this exhibition the Pop Goes London exhibition.

THE GUARDIAN – A REVIEW OF ART UNDER ATTACK – lots more to read on their web site

THE INDEPENDENT – ARTICLE BY WRITER JACK ORLIK  

I found a well-argued criticism of the exhibition and the policy of the Tate in an article from The Independent newspaper by Jack Orlik, a writer who I have not come across before.

 

NATIONAL GALLERY EXHIBITION – FREDERICK CHURCH AND THE LANDSCAPE OIL SKETCH


THROUGH AMERICAN EYES:  FREDERICK CHURCH AND THE LANDSCAPE OIL SKETCH
Frederic Church is one of America’s Hudson Valley painters. He lived from 1826 to 1900.

OLANA HOUSE EXTERIOR

OLANA HOUSE EXTERIOR

OLANA
We went to Olana, his Husdon Valley home and estate, one day in July last year, during what was a debilitating heatwave. Temperatures up on the high 30s!  We were on a visit to stay with family, who live in Ulster County, New York State, so it was within driving distance, and the car had  air con of course.

There are a number of interesting large houses on the banks of the Hudson River, which are usually placed on high ground giving fine views of this beautiful river.  The rich used to come there for the summer, to get away from the humidity of the city.
This particular house is very well preserved and quite unusual; it is built in the Persian style and was constructed at a time when Frederick Church had made himself a wealthy man from his paintings. So everything was of the highest quality.  The house is smaller than I had imagined it would be, and dark inside, with so many ornate surfaces and dark works of art, both paintings and sculpture and ceramics.

BOOK YOUR TOUR IN ADVANCE!

BOOK YOUR TOUR IN ADVANCE!

Remember to book your admittance though. We arrived at the ticket office a little after our booked time, due to the problem we had in finding a parking space.  The car park is tiny.  For that reason we had to wait for about 45 minutes before the next slot for visitors.  The house is kept closed and locked unless opened for a group tour, so all you can do is wander around the grounds, or buy stuff in the shop.  Luckily for us, there is a small barn where a film is shown, probably on a loop, about Olana and the Church family.

Inside we were conducted around and given a good introduction to Church and his work, but the guides are all volunteers so you may, or may not, get a good one. A bit like our own dear National Trust.

I liked the Church landscapes very much, and the family nicknacks were fascinating, as was learning about the background to the painter and his fellow artists of the Hudson Valley School.

RUSTIC FENCES ADD CHARM AT OLANA

RUSTIC FENCES ADD CHARM AT OLANA

HUDSON

The heat outside was still very enervating, and there is no cafe or drinks stall, so we decided to drive across the river to the small town of Hudson, where we parked.  Then we shrivelled up in the blast of midday walking along the deserted streets, to a well-reviewed Italian restaurant for a good lunch.

It is well worth going to Olana if you are there on holiday, and also try and see the other mansions in the Hudson Valley, they are quite different from our own stately homes, because they were designed for holiday residences and not long term family homes. In those days you travelled to your holiday home by river steamer, because the railroad had yet to reach that far up river.

NATIONAL GALLERY EXHIBITION

I was very interested to read the article in The Daily Telegraph Travel section of February 2, by Susan Marling, called ‘A brush with the sublime’, about the new exhibition at the National Gallery dedicated to Frederick Church.  The photographs too were excellent.  The exhibition is called:
Through American Eyes: Frederic Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch’
The exhibition runs from February 6 until April 28.

http://www.olana.org
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/frederic-church
http://www.gotohudson.net/about.php

COSMIMA, GROUP EXHIBITION OF JEWELLERY AND SILVER


At the Frameless Gallery, Clerkenwell Green

The group, Cosmima, had a four day show at Frameless Gallery, Clerkenwell in London last week, and I was very impressed.
The jewellers were top of the tree, super-innovative and excellent, and the silversmiths likewise had some absolutely wonderful stuff on show. I shall keep in touch with the Group and hope to see their next show.
It would be great if I could buy some of the lovely stuff, have to hope I win the Premiums Bonds!

DENBIES WINE ESTATE, DORKING


DENBIES WINE ESTATE and CROYDON ART SOCIETY
This vineyard building exhibtion space held the annual Croydon Art Society exhibition of paintings and prints, from 3 September to 16 September 2012.
It is a beautiful setting near Box Hill and the town of Dorking, in Surrey.
I recommend you visiting the vineyard, even though the exhibiton has now finished.
It is within walking distance from Dorking and there is a large carpark.
There is a shop, for buying the wine, and for gifts. There is also a restaurant and snack area.
Plus, a shop selling local produce, vegetables and fruit and things like honey, and a small garden centre.
If you like you can take a tour of the vineyards, in a small electric train.
My two oil paintings were in the exhibition, as well as two prints and a watercolour in the browser, and some of my greetings cards.

Image

Detail, painting London Marathon


Painting London Marathon detail, Coram

Coram Bear at London Marathon 2011

The South London Women Artists Group will be holding an exhibition at the Bankside Gallery, Thames Path, near the Tate Modern.

The exhibition is from 30 April to 8 May, and my London Marathon painting will be on show there.

The gallery is open from 11 am to 6 pm each day.  This is a group show with the title  “SNAP’.

Here is a link to the Bankside Gallery website.

Detail, painting London Marathon

Coram Bear at the 2011 London Marathon

EDNA RUNS LONDON MARATHON – PAINTING


OIL PAINTING FOR BANKSIDE GALLERY EXHIBITION

This is the completed painting which I have submitted for inclusion in the South London Women Artists exhibition

LONDON MARATHON PAINTING

EDNA RUNS LONDON MARATHON

This painting is oil on canvas. It includes, in a loose and vivid way, the scene of the London Marathon in 2011, when passing near Westminster Tube Station and the Houses of Parliament, London.

You can see I have selected to paint one of the elite female runners, Edna Kiplagat from Kenya.

My working drawings were done in pencil, on the day last April when I visited the Marathon.

Marathon pencil sketch

PENCIL SKETCH LONDON MARATHON 1

PENCIL SKETCH MARATHON

PENCIL SKETCH LONDON MARATHON 2

I also used some of my photographs for extra details, since I could not capture all the activity and the various vignettes of activity going on.

 

COLIN WIGGINS LECTURE AT RICHMOND ART SOCIETY


RESHAPING THE HUMAN FIGURE: FROM ANTIQUITY TO MAPPLETHORPE

What an excellent lecture last week at Richmond on Thames as part of a series of lectures organized by the Richmond Art Society.

NATIONAL GALLERY

Colin Wiggins started by telling us that he is now Curator of Special Projects at the National Gallery.

Until recently he was Head of Education there.

He gave a one hour lecture with the above title, showing the continuity which is evident in Western Europen art, depicting and sculpting the human figure from such sources as the sculpture of Antiquity.

During this lecture he made many witty comments about modern practices in art; he said that the Leonard da Vince exhibition was a thorn in his side at present and that they had had ‘turned David Hockey away this morning’.

He began by saying the central foundation stone of Western European art is ‘us’, in other words, the human figure. Of these works, the male figure is the most important. He commenced by showing slides of sculpture of the male from ancient Greece.

He showed immediate links to figures sculpted by Michaelangelo, and paintings by Velazquez and Lucien Freud.

This was demonstrated by a projected image of a Roman god next to a painting of the god Mars by Velazquez and a nude full-length portrait of Leigh Bowery, in an armchair, by Lucien Freud.

Colin had many slides demonstrating his points, all of them interesting and relevant, particularly the works of the Italian Renaissance artists, such Raphael, who, he said, was not able to work from the nude female figure, it being impossible for a young man to have access to a nude female model.

Also we were asked to look at the Joshua Reynolds portrait of Sir Banastre Tarleton, who fought in the American War of Independence. Reynold had a directory of poses, from his time in Rome, and used a pose of Cincinnatus from antiquity for the Tarleton portrait. Tarleton was apparently very ‘thick’ and Reynolds did not like him at all. He painted the figure in a battle scene with a cannon right behind his backside!

The interest in ancient art was widespread in the USA too, from Victorian times, and he told of a mail order facility to order art from Europe, which resulted in a copy of the Venus de Milo being sent by railroad to the mid-west, where it was found to be without arms. The purchasers sued the railroad company for the loss of her arms, and won their case!

There was a very amusing point made that maidens were painted and sculpted being very modest, and while nude, covered their ‘private parts’. This he demonstrated by showing us a sculpture of a Roman or Greek (not sure which) girl, then a nude by Renoir and then a still from the comedy Carry on Camping, when Barabara Windsor is bra-less and covering her bosom with her hands.

Colin admires the ‘passive and beautiful’ male nude early paintings of David Hockney and is looking forward to the exhibition later this year at the Royal Academy.

However he did not like the Gerhard Richter work at the London exhibition (now ended), and said he finds German contemporary art takes itself too seriously.

My understanding is Colin suggested he likes humour in art and showed us a Johann Zoffany painting of the Tribuna in the Uffizi, Florence, where a collection of Milords are admiring the bottom of the Venus de Milo.

I found a link to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge which shows Frank Auerbach standing beside a portrait etching of Colin Wiggins.

COLIN WIGGINS – HE IS A ‘NATIONAL (GALLERY) TREASURE’

THE FIRST ACTRESSES – AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY


THE FIRST ACTRESSES, AT NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

 It was good news, I found I had won two tickets for the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, plus a copy of the exhibition catalogue.  If something costs nothing, it is even nicer, I find!

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

National Portrait Gallery poster for Late Shift

I love this gallery, and often go in.  To see most of the displays does not require an entrance fee, but donations are welcomed, of course.

 This particular exhibition is small, well of course it is limited by virtue of its title.  There are some brilliant portraits.

 Most of the paintings, prints, ceramics and engravings are of women.  There are themes in each room, for example:

 DIVAS AND DANCERS, which includes a lucious portrait by Gainsborough, entitled Elizabeth Linley (Elizabeth Ann Sheridan)

 I noted in my little book that it is a full-length portrait in a landscape, with loose flicky brush strokes.

 The Gainsborough portraits are the highlights for me, since they display the consumate technique that Gainsborough developed – the actresses’ faces, white and pink, shining, luminous, brilliant against the muted background.  The hands and neck are next in importance, then look at the fluid, sketchy dress and feet, then the greeny brown background.

Gainsborough portrait of Elizabeth Sheridan

 Also in this room are two pastel portraits by John Russell – pastel is not an easy medium – but this artist has demonstrated his mastery.

 WILLIAM HOGARTH

 Also here is a Hogarth oil painting of The Beggar’s Opera, from Birmingham Museum, one of several versions Hogarth produced, in a dramatic and narrative style.

William Hogarth, The Beggar’s Opera,

Throughout the exhibition there is mention that the women actresses were fighting prejudice and were careful to represent themselves as respectable, not being prostitutes (which was originally a profession that went hand in hand with acting).  Several of these well-known actresses married well, into the artistocracy or monied upper class.

 PLAYS AND NOVELS

 Quite a few were successful literary figures, writing plays and novels – not something that I have hear of, in respect of modern actresses.

Some actresses did their memoirs and benefitted from the interest in salacious gossip of their times; there was then, as there is now, the desire to read shocking tales of sex and success which we still find in our media.

 These women were the first in England in particular (not sure about Scotland, Ireland and Wales) who established themselves earning an income from their talents, setting out in a very competitive field, some of course with the support of men but later standing alone and managing to show independence.

 The first acresses emerged with the establishment of the court of Charles II, and at that time women could take female roles which had previously been played by boys and men.

 Later the actresses turned the tables by appearing in male dress, much like our own modern-day principal boys in panto.

 The main artists, Reynolds, Romney, Gainsborough are well represented and there are also excellent works by Zoffany, Hoppner and Lawrence, John Russell (pastels), Lely and Gilray.

MODERN ACTRESSES

 However, in another two galleries there is a display of images of modern actresses, from film, TV and theatre.  Only three of them are paintings.  There are two pencil drawings.  All the other images are photographs.  This is bad news for us painters!

Nell Gwyn by Simon Vereist

Come on,  actresses, support the arts and commission an artist to paint your portrait!  Like your predecessors did.

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY: THE FIRST ACTRESSES


THE FIRST ACTRESSES, AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON

Friends have been, say its excellent. I went in for competition to win tickets for this, and heard today I have won two!

Great news, I will be going along soon, it closes on 8 January I think. Painters include Gainsborough, Reynolds and of course later artist

Extra interesting as I have just read Samuel Pepys, by Claire Tomalin, and am now reading the All The KIng’s Women by Derek Wilson.