Category Archives: London

Chaïm Soutine’s Portraits at the Courtauld Gallery, London

Scrumptious cakes and my favourite Fruit Scones

I always enjoy exhibitions at the Courtauld Gallery – and tea or coffee in the café in the basement afterwards.

 

 

The exhibition leads out of the rooms housing the Courtauld galleries own interesting collection of mainly Impressionist paintings

Chaïm Soutine’s portraits of Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys is a delightful study of men and a couple of women who serve us in restaurants and hotels. They show varying degrees of boredom, insolence and occasional pleasure as they stare out at us from his brightly coloured paintings.

Not a large exhibition – only two rooms compared with the much larger exhibition of Cezanne’s portraits at the National Portrait gallery,  but I much preferred it.

Girl in a White Blouse (around 1923) from their permanent collection

Though not as well known as some of his friends and colleagues, the Russian – French Expressionist painter,  Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) was one of the leading painters in Paris in the 1920s.

Soutine was born Chaïm Sutin, the tenth child of eleven children of Jewish parentage in Lithuania in 1893. He studied art at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts, moving to Paris in 1913 where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. A close friend of Modigliani, he lived in poverty for many years until he caught the attention of major collectors such as the American Albert Barnes.

I’m delighted with the response to my memoir Woman in a White Coat and the very complimentary reviews on Amazon. Thank you all.

Cézanne Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London

At the National Portrait Gallery until February 11th 2018

An interesting exhibition of Cézanne Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, though the best thing was that our daughter Jane, here for the weekend from Switzerland with her partner, was with us. And the coffee and scones in the basement café were good – certainly improved on the last time we had mid-morning snacks in the basement café.

Born in Aix-en-Provence in 1839, Cézanne enrolled in law school to please his father but left for Paris and a career in art in 1861. He was much influenced by Pisarro but developed a style of his own. His work was exhibited in the first exhibition of the Salon de Refusés in 1863.

One of my favorite Cézanne paintings

I like his work but was disappointed by his portraits except those of the ‘ordinary’ people’ in the last two rooms of the exhibition. I know he said he didn’t want to obey the stereotypes of pretty simpering women and tough handsome men, but except for the portrait of Mme Cézanne sewing I thought his many portraits of his wife too bland and expressionless and the few men too alike.

His Boy in a Red Waistcoat 1888-1890 – a portrait of the professional model Michelangelo de Rosa  and one of my favourite Cézanne paintings – has been used on the cover of the catalogue and there are prints on the wall of the downstairs café showing some of his more familiar and popular paintings.

Autumn Again – Leaves and More Leaves. Jasper Johns’ Broom required

Great for kids!!

How the kids must love sliding down into the piles of gorgeous leaves.

You can’t help wondering where they all go. There’s no way these layers and layers of leaves could be swept up.

Fool’s House 1962

 

What is desperately needed is a mega broom of the type in Jasper johns’ collage!!

This collage by Jasper Johns is painted in oil on canvas with a broom, sculptural towel, stretcher and cup. On the poster it looks like a painting but in the flesh the objects are real and attached to a painted background.

 

You can read my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon Kindle as well as Google, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
Email me on mailto:abby@abbyjw.com and I will send the first responders a free copy to review.

 

Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain, London

Rachel Whiteread in front of her House 1993

I’ve liked Rachel Whiteread’s work ever since I saw her House in Bethnal Green and though I don’t care for the insides of rubber hot water bottles shown on the Tate Britain poster I pretty much liked everything else in her exhibition.

Untitled Hive II Resin 2007-8

 

I think this resin hive was my favourite though I found it hard to choose. I loved the way the light was reflected inside it.

It made me want to crawl inside.

 

 

The 4th Plinth again in Trafalgar Square 1999 Plaster and Resin

I’d forgotten that Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled Monument 2001 was the third project to be placed on Trafalgar Square’s 4th plinth.

The first project in 1999 was Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo, a life sized figure of Christ and the 2nd was Bill Woodrow’s Regardless of History 2000  which is a head crushed between a book and the roots of a tree.

You can read my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon Kindle as well as Google, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.

Email me on mailto:abby@abbyjw.com and I will send the first responders a free copy to review.

Jasper Johns at the Royal Academy, London

This shows just part of the collage

Since my heart attack and several days on a ventilator my memory for names – always poor – is much worse. When I booked for Jasper Johns’ ‘Something Resembling the Truth’ I confused him with Jackson Pollock, whose work I have come to like, especially following the Abstract Expressionist exhibition also at the Royal Academy.

I didn’t really know Jasper Johns’ work and now I’ve seen it I’m not impressed. The RA provides a very good audio guide free and his one-time assistant is full of praise and how important his work was.

I prefer this!!

 

I liked the image on the poster the RA used but thought the real thing – a collage of a physical broom, a hanging cup, with a brass frame and knives forks and spoons embedded in the brass frame just silly. I like lots of modern art but his work just doesn’t speak to me at all. And I prefer the real flag!!

Read all about me

 

 

Read my memoir Woman in a White Coat now on Amazon Kindle

 

Thumbs Up – the 4th Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London

David Shrigley’s Everything is good

Just now the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square has this enormous thumb by David Shrigley – the sign for Everything Is Good. Unveiled on September 29th 2016 the ten-meter high hand gives a thumbs up to London, Londoners and our Visitors.

T shirt and other Shrigley merchandise

 

I hadn’t noticed the hand until I saw this T shirt, mug, tote bag and badge in the Royal Academy shop. There hasn’t been an exhibition at the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery for a while and I don’t normally walk or look that way.

 

 

My Memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is on Kindle!! Hurrah

WWC Front Cover

My memoir Woman in a White Coat was on Amazon Kindle just in time for me still to be 85 like it says in the blurb. What a wonderful 86th birthday present!!

http://bit.ly/2y2ufguWWC

Meet 85-year old Dr Abby Waterman, the unwelcome third daughter of Orthodox Jews who desperately wanted a son. She survives rat-infested cold-water tenements in London’s East End, the Great Depression, WW2 and the Blitz. Despite poverty, sexual harassment and discrimination, she becomes in turn a Harley Street dentist, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a consultant pathologist and director of a cancer research laboratory, as well as the mother of four.

Behind the scenes in a busy NHS hospital, you witness the tears doctors shed that patients never see. Step into Abby’s shoes as an 18-year-old dissecting her first body and later, as a mother of young children, carrying out an autopsy on a four-year-old. Discover why Abby ventures into the business world and why she leaves it. She undergoes surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer, only to be told her cancer has recurred and spread to her spine. She describes her weird hallucinations while on a ventilator following a heart attack and learns that Do Not Resuscitate is written into her notes.

Dr Abby J Waterman is a pseudonym. The names of friends, family, colleagues and patients have been changed as have the names of places and hospitals, although all the events in this memoir are true to reality.

I hope you enjoy it.

Did you grow up in a disadvantaged situation and make good? I’d love to hear from you here or at abby@abbyjw.com

 

Czerny Piano Exercises Op 261 Revisited

 

My well-used Czerny exercises
I’ve always found memorizing music scores difficult – even when I was a child and had an almost-photographic memory for anything else. Since my heart attack 14 months ago and time on a ventilator, my memory is definitely worse – though it was even poorer when I first became conscious again.

My present tutor is very keen on me memorizing music so i can watch my hands and improve my technique, instead of looking at the music all the time. I spent several wasted practice hours trying to memorize Mendelssohn’s Venetian Boat Song / Barcarolle Op. 19/6. By the end of 30 minutes i would be able to play the first 17 bars he set me, but the very next time i sat down I’d forget some of it.

As I’ve said before, I like playing Czerny exercises, so my next task is to play a couple of these very simple 8-bar exercises by heart.

it should be good for any incipient dementia too!!

Hoorah!!

WOMAN IN A WHITE COAT ABOUT TO GO ON AMAZON

 

‘Saucy’ Modern Art at the Danogly Café, Tate Britain. London

Sauces and Cutlery

Having tea and a Bakewell tart in the Danogly Café at Tate Britain after seeing Rachel Whiteread’s work, it seemed to me that this display of Sarson’s Vinegar, HP Sauce, Heinz Tomato ketchup Colman’s Mustard, cutlery and paper napkins was every bit as exciting as some of the Modern Art we’ve been seeing lately – and more tasty!!

Watch this space for more on Jasper Johns and Rachel Whiteread.

Hopefully my memoir Woman in a White Coat will be uploaded on Amazon by the end of the week!!

Fabulous Rachmaninoff Duo at St John’s Smith Square, London

Brilliant Duo

Timothée Botbol (Cello) and Dinara Klinton (Piano) played Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise arranged for cello and piano and his Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor. Dinara played his Prelude in D Op 23 No 4  and his Prelude in G minor Op 23 No 5.

Both brilliant performers, I had never heard the cello played with such richness of tone. I was blown away. And Dinara Clinton’s brilliant musicality and technique were amazing.

St John’s have a membership just right for me as I don’t like going out alone to evening concerts. For £45 (£40 with Direct Debit) you can attend 10 of their Thursday lunchtime concerts – only £4 each!!

Timothée’s brilliant performance was a far cry from mine when I learned the cello as a 15-year old and played in a quartet at our school’s prize day.

Memoir Extract

An ex-student, who’d gone on to play second violin in the London Symphonia Orchestra, gave our school a cello. I put my name down to have free lessons, but I wasn’t very hopeful because I was already having piano lessons. I wasn’t altogether pleased when my form mistress stopped me at the end of the week and told me I had been chosen to learn the cello. We always had loads of homework and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit in practising the cello as well as the piano.

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