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Exhibition Review : Paul Nash at the Tate Britain from 26th October 2016 to 5th March 2017

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Tate Britain presents Paul Nash, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work for over 25 years. Paul Nash is considered one of the important British artists of the 20th century and is known mostly for his work as a war artist in the First and Second World Wars. Whilst the exhibition will feature some of his war work, it will also explore Nash’s work which is inspired by the British landscape and his connections with modern art and surrealism.

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The exhibition begins with a number of watercolours that illustrate Nash’s interest in trees and the landscape. The early mystical landscapes are replaced by the shattered landscapes of the battlefields in First World War in Room Two.  Nash became an Official War Artist in 1917 and provided a new and startling vision of war that suggested that war was not just human carnage but also a violation of nature. Some of Nash’s most iconic images of the First World War are featured in the exhibition including We Are Making a New World 1918, The Menin Road 1918, Spring in the Trenches, Ridge Wood 1917 and After the Battle 1918.

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After Nash’s return from the war, he returned to his landscape paintings but began to feature geometric shapes in the natural world, places on the South East began to appeal to his more abstract work especially the Kent coast as featured in The Shore 1923.

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If Nash was reinterpreting the landscape in a recognisable but more abstract way in the 1920s, Nash in the 1930s began to move into more mystical and surrealist methods to draw the parallels between modern art and the ancient past. Paintings such as Event on the Downs 1934 and Equivalents for the Megaliths 1935 suggests we have much to learn from ancient wisdom.

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The 1930s was also a time when Nash collaborated with Eileen Agar and contributed to major exhibitions of the 1930s, such as the International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936 and the Unit One exhibition which toured across the UK in 1934-5. Unit One was a British Modernist group of painters, sculptors and architects which included Nash, John Armstrong, Barbara Hepworth, Tristram Hillier, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Edward Wadsworth. The exhibition features work from the group including Barbara Hepworth’s Mother and Child and Henry Moore’s Composition.  

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The Second World War saw Nash depicting the war, not from the battlefields but the horror of the Blitz. Destroyed German aircraft fill many of Nash’s paintings linking their own destruction with the destruction they were inflicting on the civilian population.

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Towards the end of the war, Nash returned to his more mystical and surreal work especially in relation to the moon and eclipses as illustrated by November Moon and Landscape of the Moon’s Last Phase.

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This is an intriguing exhibition that allows visitors to explore Nash’s work far beyond the usual war pictures. One of the most important aspects of the exhibition is it provides evidence that the war pictures where actually part of a wider vision of portraying the landscape in new and exciting ways. Nash uses a variety of styles to create a narrative about the British landscape that pays homage to its ancient past. This almost mystical aspect of Nash’s work and his connections with the Surrealists and Modernists are not widely known and exhibition successfully provides a more rounded account of his work.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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A Short Guide to Tate Britain

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The origins of Tate Britain lay in the collection of Henry Tate, an industrialist who had made his fortune as a sugar refiner. Tate offered his extensive collection of British art to the nation and the search for a suitable site began, it was also suggested that the new gallery would house other works of British artists from various other collections.

In 1892 the site of a former prison, the Millbank Penitentiary, was chosen for the new National Gallery of British Art,. the prison which was notorious for sending convicts to Australia, had been demolished in 1890.The gallery opened its doors to the public in 1897, displaying 245 works in eight rooms from British artists dating back to 1790.

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By 1917, the remit of the gallery changed. It was decided that the gallery would be the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. In 1932, the gallery officially adopted the name Tate Gallery, by which it had popularly been known as since its opening.

The gallery is intrinsically connected with the works of J. M. W. Turner who left a large number of his works to the nation. To celebrate this connection Tate Britain hosts the annual and often controversial Turner Prize exhibition.

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The gallery became known as Tate Britain in 2000 and has an extensive permanent collection and holds a series of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. There are permanent spaces dedicated to the works of J.M.W Turner, William Blake and Henry Moore.

Video Review available here

For more information, visit the Tate Britain website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review – Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World at Tate Britain from 24th June to 25th October 2015

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Tate Britain present the  first major Barbara Hepworth exhibition in London for almost 50 years. This retrospective features some of her most significant sculptures in wood, stone and bronze alongside rarely seen works.

Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1903 and studied at Leeds school of Art from 1920–1921 alongside fellow artist Henry Moore. Both students continued their studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Both became leading practitioners of the Direct Carving method which involved working more with the material rather than working from models.

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Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) was a leading figure of the international modern art movement in the 1930s, and became one of the most successful sculptors in the world during the 1950s and 1960s. The exhibition features over 100 works, It opens with Hepworth’s earliest surviving carvings from the 1920s, such as Doves 1927, alongside works by predecessors and peers from Jacob Epstein, Henry Moore and Eric Gill.

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From 1932, she lived with the painter Ben Nicholson and the two artists  began to developing a process of working together.  They spent periods of time travelling throughout Europe,  where Hepworth met Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, Picasso and  Constantin Brancusi.

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During the 1930s, Hepworth and Nicholson created a wide body of work including  major carvings, paintings, prints ,drawings,  textiles, drawings, collages and photograms. In the late 1930s, they became  part of  the wider  international avant-garde movement that became increasingly successful  through exhibitions and magazines.

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Gradually,  Hepworth began to produce more abstract work and the move to St Ives in Cornwall in the mid – 1940s led to her most productive periods.  In the 1950s and 60s, Hepworth became an increasingly well-known  sculptor in Britain and abroad with her works in high demand. Some of her well known works, four large carvings in the  African hardwood guarea (1954-5) are reunited for this exhibition. The exhibition also  displays bronzes from Hepworth’s 1965 retrospective at the Kröller-Müller Museum,  within a partial reconstruction of the pavilion originally designed by Gerrit Rietveld.

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This major exhibition  illustrates  most of the wide body of work that made Barbara Hepworth, one of the most respected and successful sculptors.  Although Barbara Hepworth’s name is linked with St Ives, she often remarked how important the landscape of Yorkshire was in her work. Overall it was often the interaction of human figure and the landscape, colour and texture, and people which provided her inspiration to produce a coherent wholeness in her work that shows the beauty and power of the materials. Perhaps not surprisingly considering their similar background, Hepworth is often linked to Henry Moore and her work  continues  to be widely admired and influential.

After its run at Tate Britain, the exhibition will tour to the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo in the Netherlands this autumn and to the Arp Museum, Rolandseck in Germany next year.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

 Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World at Tate Britain Exhibition
24 June  – 25 October 2015

Tickets

Adult £18.00 (without donation £16.30)
Concession £16.00 (without donation £14.50)
Under 12s go free (up to four per parent or guardian).
Family tickets available (two adults & two children 12-18 years)

If you would like further information about the exhibition or buy tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review : Kenneth Clark – Looking for Civilisation at the Tate Britain, 20 May – 10 August 2014

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This Exhibition looks at the career and impact of Kenneth Clark (1903–1983), who is considered one of the most influential figures in British Art, It also considers Clark’s role as patron, collector, art historian, impresario, and broadcaster – a man who attempted to  bring art to a mass audience.

The exhibition features over 270 objects from works by the artists that Clark championed to those from his own eclectic collection, many of which are rarely on public display. Highlights include drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection, Samuel Palmer’s A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star, c.1830, Paul Cézanne’s Le Chateau Noir c.1904, Edgar Degas’ Dancer looking at the sole of her foot 1900, cast 1928; and Lucian Freud’s Balcony Still Life 1951.

Visiting London Guide Review

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Kenneth Clark for the early part of his life followed the life prescribed by his status and position in British Society, he was born in London into a wealthy Scottish family who had made their fortune in textiles. After school he went to Trinity College Oxford to study the History of Art.

After a spell as fine art curator at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, he became the youngest ever Director of the National Gallery aged just 30.

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The Exhibition begins  in Room 1 and looks at the portraits of Clark and his family and of the artistic influences on him in his formative years. It is an eclectic mixture of traditional (Constable and Palmer) the classical ( Leonardo, Belllini) and the exotic (Hokusai, Utumaro).

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From these wide range influences when we move into Room 2 we consider Clark the Collector, whilst there is still a few traditional paintings Ruskin, Reynolds and Gainsborough. However the vast majority of the paintings are from the Impressionist school, artists such as Cezanne are heavily featured with Renoir, Degas and Seurat.

Room 3 looks at Clark the patron who begins to actively support artists financially and by championing the works of particular schools including the Bloomsbury Group and the Euston Road School. His patronage helped to develop the talents of British artists such as Henry Moore, Victor Passmore, John Piper and Graham Sutherland whose work is well represented in next Room 4  entitled the New Romantics  and considers the movements  in British Art  before the Second World War .

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Artists exploring abstract interpretations of Landscapes can be contrasted with Room 5 War Time when the reality of war takes over .

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It was at the outbreak of war that  Clark’s private patronage became the model for a state project through his instigation of several initiatives including the War Artists Advisory Committee. Employing artists to record the war, he commissioned such iconic works as Moore’s Shelter Drawings and Sutherland’s and Piper’s images of the Blitz..

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After the war , Clark  began to consider how Art could inform the “Brave New World”  and  in 1969, he achieved international fame as the writer, producer and presenter of the BBC Television series, Civilisation, which pioneered television documentary series combining expert  narration with spectacular  photography on location.

In Room 6 we have some screens showing excerpts from the series and the rather stiff approach looks a little dated but was truly radical at the time and provided the blueprint for Art Documentaries for the next four decades.

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The range of pictures, sculptures and decorative arts in this exhibition is incredible where Japanese Prints are virtually side by side with Leonardo drawings, then we have a wonderful collection of Impressionists paintings and sculptures by Rodin and Degas and finally almost a retrospective of British Art in the 20th century.

There is no doubt that Kenneth Clark had a great impact on British Art as a director, collector, patron and historian, however it was the ability to bring Art to wider audience that is perhaps his greatest legacy, the millions who visit the London Art Galleries and Museums are testament that the Arts  are for everyone, and this exhibition reflects how Kenneth Clark was important part of the movement that got that message across using the most influential media of the time.

 

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended