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”.
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.
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.
Displayed are elaborate composites, built up from paintings and photographs that eventually result in portraits at once convincingly human, alien and heartless.
If you don’t know Burgh House, Hampstead, you should. It’s a beautiful Queen Anne mansion with many original features that functions as a museum and arts centre. It also has a carefully planted garden and houses the Buttery Café, which has an ambience to my mind considerably more attractive than some of […]
Little known outside his native Norway, Astrup, a contemporary of Edvard Munch, was a talented painter and printmaker, and his skills are amply demonstrated in this atmospheric exhibition.
Howard Fritz – Paintings & Drawings At the Torriano Meeting House, 99 Torriano Avenue, London, NW5 2RX from January 12th 2016
Faces Then focuses on the 16th-century, regarded as the golden age of the portrait, when it was the rich, the powerful and the burgeoning bourgeoisie who could afford to have their portraits taken. Faces Now confines itself to the period since 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, with it, the collapse of ideologies and artistic parameters.
This is a thought provoking exhibition that aims to go beyond the surface of simply putting faces to the famous names. It suggests an art form that continues to find ways of revealing the self but also reveals the artist as a conduit for all human emotion.
One of the more unlikely joys of Brussels life is the rotating EU presidency. Every six months, a different member of the 28-strong European Union takes on the task of presiding over policy-making. For the citizens of Brussels, it’s a chance for a cultural mini break without the expense and inconvenience of braving the airport.
In Brussels, art nouveau found its most complete expression in the architecture of Victor Horta. Now the Brussels’ Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts has devoted a huge new “Fin-de-Siecle” section, a museum in itself, to the artistic context in which he thrived.