Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) were both sons of artists, both mastered realism at an early age, both left their native countries and both turned up in Paris, where they met for the first time in 1931 and enjoyed a working friendship that flourished until the 1950s.
In the 1930s, as he fled Nazi Germany, Einstein passed through the Belgian port of Ostend, en route to the United States, and met the painter James Ensor. He asked him what he painted, to which Ensor replied “nothing”.
Anyone seeking to be reminded of how we used to work not so very long ago should take the 10-minute tram journey from Birmingham’s newly revamped Grand Central Station to the city’s Jewellery Quarter, where every other shop is a jeweller and the close-knit atmosphere of a neighbourhood once closed to the wider city lingers on.
Established in 2007, the Aimia AGO photography prize, Canada’s optimum award for contemporary photography, was the first major art accolade to hand the general public the responsibility of choosing the winner – although an expert panel has already drawn up the list of contenders.
With otherworldly northern lights, volcanoes and hot springs, Iceland is famously a nation of natural wonders. It also has an extraordinary human wonder in its tradition of sagas, written in Icelandic, when the scholarly world was dominated by Latin, and establishing a tiny nation, in terms of population, as great when measured by its literary contribution.
Rembrandt, one of the greatest portrait painters of all time, portrayed himself with a feathered beret, as an oriental potentate, with his wife in historical dress and simply as himself. A modern equivalent is British artist Sarah Lucas who depicts herself with fried eggs, a skull and a salmon. You could say it’s a case of the sublime to the ridiculous and yet, the appeal of Rembrandt’s theatre must have been more direct in his day even if it was never aggressive.
Some critics see Georgiana Houghton’s spirit drawings, on show at the Courtauld Gallery (link to previous review) until 11th September, as “outsider art”. Wanting to know more, I delved a little deeper and began to wonder about the value of categorising Houghton’s work in this way or viewing any artist from the perspective of a particular movement or school.
Turn right inside the main entrance to University College Hospital on Euston Road, and you’ll find The Street Gallery, currently showing a collection of inket prints by Photographer-in-Residence Graeme Weston, and curated by Arts Administrator Guy Noble.
The Courtauld Gallery is showing an exhibition of Georgiana Houghton’s spirit drawings until 11th September. Houghton was active in London in the 1860’s and 1870’s as an artist and spirit medium.
Every two years, Brussels’ Bozar art centre stages a Summer of Photography, comprising a series of events all over the city around a central theme. This year, curator Gabriele Schor has focused on the relationship between people and the public space.
Even with the distraction of the first Saturday of the summer sales, David Bowie still draws a crowd. In an arty backstreet in the Chatelain district of Brussels, tucked behind one of the most expensive shopping streets, a queue of mostly middle-aged fans, waited patiently for one of the city’s many independent galleries with erratic opening hours to unlock its doors.
Born to a well-to-do Antwerp businessman and his aristocratic wife, Fritz Mayer was groomed to become a diplomat, but instead threw himself into collecting with a particular passion for Dutch art of the 14th-16th centuries.