I always enjoy exhibitions at the Courtauld Gallery – and tea or coffee in the café in the basement afterwards.
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.
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.
Dali/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy was an eye-opener. I had no idea Salvador Dali (1904-1989) and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) were such great friends. I knew little about Duchamp’s work other than that he pioneered the display of ready made objects as works of art including his infamous Fountain – a urinal inscribed R. MUTT 1917 and had seen and admired The bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The large glass). it was interesting to see that early on he was a conventional representational artist. Having teenage children at the height of the Surrealist craze I got to know Dali’s work and visited a fascinating exhibition of his work in Richmond, Virginia which included a jewelled beating heart.
The strange thing for me about seeing the exhibition is that I saw the bent watches in the famous Dali painting The Persistence of Memory 1931 (not shown in this exhibition) as well as some artefacts by Jeff Coons, in one of my delusions while in Critical Care following my heart attack last year.
Up to 80% of patients in Intensive Care suffer periods of delirium and I had several. My very caring consultant was concerned that the memory of some of my delusions might be upsetting but they gave me just the material I needed for the last chapter of my memoir Woman in a White Coat.
The exhibition included some interesting short videos as well as lots of works I hadn’t seen before.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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!!
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.
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.
Loved our trip to the Astrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum on the bay. Couldn’t understand why the collector bothered with so many of Damien Hirst’s half animals in formalin. When there was a scandal about keeping children’s brains I turned out my mounted specimens of cancers but I thought of offering the museum the head of my fractured right femur. I still have it in a jar in my bathroom cabinet – much more interesting and educational that half a cow.
Lovely view of the harbour complete with two-masted sailing vessel. Just not enough time to go across to the Viking museum.
I very much liked their collection of Cindy Sherman’s photographs. Amazing what she can turn herself into.
Hard to realise that this painting Untitled #152 of what apprears to be a bald man is also her.
We both liked Jeff Koons’porcelain Michael Jackson andBubbles, his chimpanzee, in white and gold. Seeing Koons’ name reminded me of the hallucinations i had in the High Dependency Unit (HDU; dependant on care not on drugs) following my heart attack last August after I came off the ventilator.
Memoir extract from Chapter 28 of Woman in a White Coat
If you walk up the staircase to the main exhibition on the first floor instead of using the lift you may miss the delightful exhibtions held in what was originally a drawing room created for Lady Cavendish. I hadn’t realised that the huge three-sided building that greets you when you walk through the gates of Burlington House is all one building, now home to five learned societies as well as the Royal Academy of Arts – Society of Antiquaries of London; Linnean Society; Geological Society; Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Tunnicliffe’s watercolours are delightful and a pleasant change from the ubiquitous wild life photographs.
His painting called Geese and Mallow is very reminiscent of Hokusai’s paintings of fowl.
In his lifetime, after the market for fine prints collapsed in in 1929s, Tunnicliffe was better known for the use of his paintings to illustrate Ladybird Books as well as cigarette cards and calendars.
More recently Ladybird Books have introduced a humorous series for adults dealing with modern problems such as Mid-Life Crisis, Dating and Mindfulness.
Aren’t we Londoners lucky? Just one great exhibition after another.
I liked best the photographs of Matisse (1869-1954) in his studio surrounded by the myriads of objects he had collected over a long life time. Of the original objects on display I most liked the Moroccan table and the little ivory figurines from Africa. The enormous African masks were intriguing and terrifying.
I have mixed feelings about his paintings but I love his drawings. The shop had a collection of reproductions on sale – at £198 a bit outside my price range!!
Lots of theme based artefacts in the Royal Academy Shop including jugs and cups based on Matisse’s collection.