News Archive

Private View held by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th August 2007

Commencing

Temptation In Eden: Lucas Cranach's 'Adam And Eve' is the first exhibition in England devoted to the work of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Germany's greatest Renaissance artist. Eve's temptation of Adam was a subject which was ideally suited to Cranach's gifts as a portrayer of landscape, animals and the female nude, and to which neither Protestant nor Catholic theologians could object, combining devotional meaning with pictorial elegance and invention. Over 50 depictions of this subject survive by Cranach and his workshop, and this is arguably the most beautiful, beguiling and inventive. The painting is particularly admired for its treatment of the human figure and for the profusion of finely painted details, including rich menagerie of birds and animals, and profusion of vegetation. It is shown together with Cranach's associated paintings, possibly painted to be viewed as a group, 'Adam and Eve', 'Apollo and Diana', 'Cupid Complaining to Venus', and 'A Faun and his Family', for the first time in several hundred years. A number of animal studies are also displayed, to show the complex processes that went into transforming these real beasts into their idealised representation. These drawings, together with engravings and woodcuts, offer a unique opportunity to consider Cranach's powers of observation and story telling, as well as his skills as a graphic artist, qualities that also characterise his paintings. A further section of the exhibition examines how the painting was made, revealing changes and refinements introduced during its execution. The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery at Somerset House, until 23rd September.

Cult Fiction explores the reciprocal relationship between comics and art. Featuring the work of 16 contemporary artists, including Raymond Pettibon and Marcel Dzama, and 12 leading comics artists and graphic novelists, including Killoffer and Posy Simmonds, the exhibition explores links between the two genres. The visual language of comics and graphic novels has influenced many contemporary artists who have used its conventions of pictorial narrative and fusion of word and image. Fine artists Adam Dant, Kerry James Marshall and Olivia Plender have published their own comics, while Glen Baxter and David Shrigley employ a combination of word and image in forms that are reminiscent of popular cartoons. The recurring themes and characters typical of comics iconography can be seen in Laylah Ali's cast of bowling-ball headed characters, while Kerstin Kartscher and Paul McDevitt employ graphic elements from comic book imagery to create works that suggest narrative without using words. The comics artists are mainly from the generation of independent author-draughtsmen whose subject matter tends to be autobiographical, offbeat and sometimes transgressive. In her 'New York Diary', Canadian Julie Doucet portrays herself in vulnerable and compromising situations, exemplifying the comic medium's ability to communicate difficult emotional themes, the realities of life within a war zone are charted in Joe Sacco's 'Palestine', while everyday characters such as R Crumb and Harvey Pekar's file clerk in 'American Splendor' and Daniel Clowes' misfit 'David Boring .../…' become unlikely heroes of everyday tales. Nottingham Castle until 16th September.

Crafting Beauty In Modern Japan celebrates 50 years of the annual Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition, and features some of the most beautiful Japanese art crafts produced in the last half century, ranging from traditional to ultra-modern. Each of the 112 works on display has been created by a different leading artist, many of whom have been designated by the Japanese government as 'Living National Treasures'. The exhibition is divided into six sections, each featuring a different medium: ceramic, textile, lacquer, metal, wood and bamboo, and other crafts, such as cut gold leaf, glass and dolls. Among the highlights are 'Genesis', a highly refined porcelain bowl with vivid, glass-like coloured glazes by Tokuda Yasokichi III, and a rugged stoneware rectangular plate in black Bizen style made by Isezaki Jun; a woven silk kimono 'Path Leading into the Woods' by Murakami Ryoko, and 'Melody' by Matsubara Yoshichi, a design of fans scattered all over the wearer's body, a very modern adaptation of the traditional technique of indigo stencil dyeing; Kuroda Tatsuaki's ornamental red lacquer box with flowing design; Osumi Yukie's vase 'Sea Breeze' in hammered silver, and Nakagawa Mamoru's vase with inlaid stripe design in copper and silver alloy; Katsushiro Soho's basket 'Shallow Stream' in split bamboo, and Nakagawa Kiyotsugu's box decorated with a complex mosaic inlay in ancient sacred cedar wood; and Ishida Wataru's covered glass container with pate de verre, 'White Age (Age 99)'. British Museum until 21st October.

Continuing

The State Rooms Of Buckingham Palace, which are used to receive and entertain guests of State on ceremonial and official occasions, have once again been thrown open to visitors. They are furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; Sevres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. This year, the special display celebrates the Queen and Prince Philip's diamond wedding anniversary, featuring the bridal gown designed by Norman Hartnell, in ivory silk, with a 15 foot train, decorated with crystals and over 10,000 seed pearls, satin shoes made by Edward Rayne, and a diamond tiara and pearl necklace, together with the bridesmaid's dresses and Prince Philip's dress uniform. Accompanying these is a selection from over 2,500 wedding gifts the couple received, including the 'Girls of Great Britain' tiara and 'County of Cornwall' diamond and ruby bracelet from Queen Mary, a Steuben glass bowl and cover engraved with a merry-go-round from President Truman, a Cartier diamond and platinum necklace from the Nizam of Hyderabad, a pair of Meissen chocolate pots from Pope Pius XII, a gold and jade necklace from King Farouk of Egypt, and an intricate piece of lace woven from yarn spun by Mahatma Ghandi. Visitors can also enjoy a walk in the 39 acre garden with its 19th century lake, which provides a haven for wild life in the centre of London, and offers views of the Garden Front of the Palace. Buckingham Palace until 28th September.

The Dawn Of Colour celebrates the centenary of the Autochrome and the birth of colour photography. Whilst the fundamental principles were understood by the 1860s, colour photography remained elusive, and the search for a practical process of colour photography became photography's 'Holy Grail'. This exhibition reveals how several pioneers succeeded in making colour photographs but their processes were complicated and impractical. Photographic plates of the time were sensitive only to certain colours, and only when 'panchromatic' plates, sensitive to all colours were introduced, was the way clear for the invention of the first practicable method of colour photography - the Autochrome process - by Auguste and Louis Lumiere. Best known as film pioneers with their invention of the Cinematographe in 1895, they had also been experimenting with colour photography for several years. Autochrome plates are covered in microscopic red, green and blue-violet coloured potato starch grains, and when the photograph is taken, light passes through these colour filters to the photographic emulsion. Along with the search for, and explanation of, the process, the exhibition features Autochromes by famous photographers, such as Henry Essenhigh Corke, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Etheldreda Janet Laing, Mervyn Joseph Pius OGorman, John Cimon Warburg and Lionel de Rothchild, as well as examples by anonymous amateurs, covering a wide range of subjects - portraiture, still-life, travel and documentary photography. National Media Museum, Bradford until 23rd September.

Dutch Portraits: The Age Of Rembrandt And Frans Hals surveys the unprecedented range and variety of painted portraiture in the Netherlands of the 17th century, and gives insights into the fashion, occupations and ambitions of the merchants and entrepreneurs - the newly emerged middle class elite. To establish and reinforce their social position, the bourgeoisie regularly commissioned portraits to commemorate the important moments in their lives: births, marriages, and professional and civic appointments, and artists were forced to find new solutions in portrait painting to satisfy the evolving demands of their clientele. This exhibition comprises around 60 works, all painted between 1599 and 1683, including 9 by Rembrandt and 12 by Frans Hals, who were the greatest masters, but tens, if not hundreds, of other painters also worked in this genre, and paintings by 29 of these are also featured. Exhibits range from small portraits meant for the private home, to much larger portraits for and about the public sphere. Among the highlights are Rembrandt's 'The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp' and 'The Syndics'; Frans Hals portrait celebrating the wedding of the wealthy merchant couple Abraham Massa and Beatrix van der Laen; the family portraits 'Willem Kerckhoven and his Family' by Jan Mijtens and 'The Twins Clara and Aelbert de Bray' by Salomon de Bray; and the large scale group portraits of members of charitable institutions and civic guards, 'Loef Vredericx' by Thomas de Keyser and 'The Meagre Company' by Frans Hals and Peter Codde. National Gallery until 16th September.

Spirit & Life: Masterpieces Of Islamic Art features over 165 rare Islamic painted miniatures, glass, metalwork, jewels, plates, vases and manuscripts (many of which took a lifetime to complete) from the collection of the Aga Khan, never before displayed in Britain. Highlights include: probably the earliest extant manuscript of the Canon of Medicine of Ibn Sina, used in Europe and the Middle East as the standard medical textbook for over 500 years; a folio from the 'Houghton' Shahnama, decorated with 258 miniatures, attributable to almost all of the major Persian artists of the first half of the 16th century, one of the finest illustrated manuscripts of any period; a page from the Blue Qur'an, a wonder of Islamic calligraphy created in the early 10th century; a dervish's begging bowl, from the end of the 16th century, made in the form of a boat, with a wide band of elegant inscriptions in Persian and several bands of floral interlace decoration; an 11th century bird incense burner, a masterpiece of medieval bronze casting, with pierce work decoration; a late 10th century Egyptian lustre jar, decorated with knotting or braiding cables and foliated kufic calligraphy; three folios from the Akhlaq-i Nasiri, a philosophical treatise dealing with ethics, social justice and politics from medieval Iran, uniquely illustrated with 17 full page miniatures; and one of the most sumptuous and rarest examples of a complete robe from the Mongol period, originating in Central Asia in the late 13th or early 14th century. The Ismaili Centre, South Kensington, London until 31st August.

Through The Whole Island: Excursions In Great Britain illustrates how the people of this country, together with visitors from overseas, have explored England, Scotland and Wales, and described, explained, praised and criticized what they found. Over many centuries, printed accounts of journeys undertaken for scientific, scholarly or political enquiry, or simply for pleasure, were instrumental in building public perceptions of the landscapes, commerce and social character of this island. Among the highlights are a first edition of Daniel Defoe's travel book 'A Tour Thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain', from which the exhibition takes its title; a set of field notes from Charles Darwin's geological tour through North Wales, illustrating the importance of travel in the development of his scientific thought; an exquisite manuscript road book drawn by George Taylor in Scotland in 1785; a 17th century engraved map of Wales, with a triangular distance table showing the mileage between major towns; an early railway map of the west of England; an illustrated Wolseley motor car catalogue from 1910; and accounts of artistic tours around Britain by J M W Turner, and pioneer of the one man show, the songwriter Charles Dibdin; together with fictional and poetic accounts of travel, such as William Combe's character Dr Syntax setting out on a tour in search of a wife, with coloured illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson, a copy of William Cowper's poem 'John Gilpin', and William Wordsworth's 'Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey' from the Lyrical Ballads. Cambridge University Library until 22nd December.

Heath Robinson's Helpful Solutions is a selection of cartoons by William Heath Robinson, highlighting his daft but genial solutions for the world in wartime and peacetime - the largest to be staged for 15 years. It includes over 100 original drawings and sketches by the brilliant illustrator and inventor of imaginary machines, who is one of the few artists whose name has entered the Oxford English Dictionary, to signify 'any absurdly ingenious and impracticable device'. This exhibition displays many of the quirky solutions that Heath Robinson developed to assist his earnest cast of characters. A top-hatted gentleman in his long-johns carries out a precarious rescue of a damsel in distress, an engine driver stops to assist a stranded eel, a new method is devised for stuffing a turkey, a novel system proposed for testing mattresses, a device for resuscitating stale railway scones for redistribution at the station buffets, and 'The multimovement tabby silencer', which automatically throws water at serenading cats. No matter how perilous or tricky the problem, Heath Robinson, the King of contraptions, could be sure to offer a helpful solution, and a wholly 'home made' and totally British one: lashed-up and bodged-together in a shed at the bottom of the garden, using bits and pieces, odds and ends and this and that - invariably powered by pulley-systems constructed from lengths of knotted string of the kind grandfathers used to keep in old Oxo tins "In case they came in useful". As a bonus, as well as the drawings, the exhibition also features two three dimensional Heath Robinson machines. The Cartoon Museum, London until 7th October.

Concluding

Global Cities looks at the changing faces of ten dynamic international cities: Cairo, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo. Exploring each city through five thematic lenses - speed, size, density, diversity and form - the exhibition draws on comparative socio-economic and geographic data originally assembled by the London School of Economics for the 10th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2006 Venice Biennale. This unique show presents existing films, videos and photographs by artists and architects Atelier Bow Wow, Huseyin Alptekin, Francis Alys, Laurence Bonvin, Osman Bozkurt, Hala Elkoussy, Kendell Geers, Dryden Goodwin, Andreas Gursky, Naoya Hatakeyama, Francesco Jodice, Eva Koch, Maha Maamoun, Neutral, Scott Peterman, Melanie Smith, Dean Sameshima, Guy Tillim, Paromita Vohra and Yang Zhenzhong, to offer subjective and intimate interpretations of urban conditions in all ten cities. It addresses major issues facing some of the most influential urban centres around the world, from migration to mobility, from social integration to sustainable growth. The exhibition uses London as a touchstone for comparison, and special commissions by Nigel Coates, Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher, Fritz Haeg, OMA*AMO/Rem Koolhaas, Nils Norman and Richard Wentworth explore the local context through issues such as sustainability, public space and social inclusion. Tate Modern until 27th August.

Seaman Schepps (1881-1972): America's Court Jeweller reveals the highly original designs and brilliant craftsmanship, of the bold and colourful jewellery that entranced mid 20th century American society. Commissions from many White House families led the Washington Post to dub Seaman Schepps 'America's Court Jeweller', and Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Doris Duke, Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, and the Duchess of Windsor as well as members of the du Pont, Mellon and Roosevelt families were amongst his clients. Schepps's eye catching jewellery not only appealed to modern, independent 20th century women - Andy Warhol was an avid collector. One thing that made the jewels of Seaman Schepps so distinctive and memorable was that although he never shied away from using diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, he also incorporated an astonishing diversity of natural materials such as seashells, sandalwood, walnut, Asian carvings and rock crystals. This exhibition comprises over 150 pieces of jewellery by Schepps, which trace the development of his innovative and extravagant style, from the earliest known surviving piece, a pair of bracelets in Art Deco style, composed of engraved emeralds and engraved ruby leaves with diamonds in white gold made in 1931, through changing fashions and styles, to a large natural coral branch bracelet with yellow gold, emeralds and diamonds, which he presented to one of his employees on her 25th anniversary with the company in 1969. Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, London until 27th August.

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is with us again, as it has been every year since 1769 - the usual collection of the good, the bad and the ugly - from amateurs to RA's, proving that popular taste and critical approval find no meeting point. Around 1,000 works covering paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architectural designs and models have been selected from over 9,000 submissions, for inclusion in the largest contemporary art exhibition in the world. Over £70,000 is given out to artists included in the exhibition through 10 prizes. This year, the show has been masterminded by Bill Woodrow, Ian Ritchie and Paul Huxley, who have chosen the theme of Light to inspire new work from artists responding across all the various media on display. There is also a gallery featuring the work of invited artists curated by the sculptor Tony Cragg. A highlight is David Hockney's massive 'First', a fifty part composition of trees in the Yorkshire lamndscape. Other artists featured in this year's show include Anthony Caro, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Michael Craig-Martin, Anthony Green, Jasper Johns, Anselm Kiefer, Harland Miller, Mimmo Paladino, Tom Phillips, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Michael Sandle, Antoni Tapies, Jane and Louise Wilson and Bill Viola. There are also two memorial galleries dedicated to showing the works of the landscape and portrait painter Kyffin Williams and the abstract painter and collage maker Sandra Blow, both of whom died last year. The Royal Academy of Arts until 19th August.