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Exhibition Review : Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain from 27 March to 11 August 2019


Tate Britain presents a major exhibition about Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). The exhibition entitled Van Gogh and Britain explores Van Gogh’s relationship with British art, literature and culture and how Van Gogh’s work inspired British artists like Walter Sickert, Frank Brangwyn, Matthew Smith, Jacob Epstein, David Bomberg and Francis Bacon.

The exhibition includes over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections around the world which is the largest group of Van Gogh paintings shown in the UK for nearly a decade. Van Gogh and Britain is the first exhibition of the artist’s work at Tate in over 70 years, when a blockbuster show in 1947 attracted record-breaking crowds. The exhibition was a phenomenon in London and went on to tour to Birmingham and Glasgow.

Some of the highlights include Self-Portrait 1889, L’Arlésienne 1890, Starry Night on the Rhône 1888, Shoes 1886 and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery in London. The exhibition also features late works including two painted by Van Gogh in the Saint-Paul asylum, At Eternity’s Gate 1890 and Prisoners Exercising 1890.

Van Gogh spent time in London between 1873 and 1876 and explored British culture during his stay. He admired works by John Constable and John Everett Millais and enjoyed British writers like William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti and especially Charles Dickens. Despite this influence, his only image of London is the remarkable Prisoners Exercising, from Gustave Doré’s print of Newgate Prison.

The period in London was to influence Van Gogh in other way, his unrequited love for this landlady’s daughter led to change of character from relatively carefree to someone obsessed with religion. Dore’s work and Dickens played a major role in his development as an artist especially regarding subject matter. He wrote that ‘My whole life is aimed at making the things from everyday life that Dickens describes and these artists draw’.

The self portraits created during the 1880s show a man driven to capture the world around him with landscapes like Wheatfield Arles 1888, Autumn Landscape at Dusk Nuenen 1885, Avenue of Poplars in Autumn Nuenen 1884 and Olive Trees, St Remy 1889.

He also began to paint workers including Miners in the Snow Cuesmes 1880 and Loom with Weaver Nuenen 1884.

The Sorrowing old man 1890 gives some indication of the time when Van Gogh is descending into mental illness and ultimately his suicide.

Although Van Gogh died in relative obscurity, the Van Gogh exhibition of 1947 began to illustrate that people and artists attitudes were changing. The art works brightened up post war Britain when people were looking for a new beginning after the tragedy of the war. Modern British artists like Matthew Smith, Christopher Wood and David Bomberg saw new possibilities with their art and Francis Bacon saw himself like Van Gogh, the embattled, misunderstood artist, an art outsider.

This fascinating exhibition is a reminder of the often cruel twist of fate that befall artists. Van Gogh commits suicide because of his lack of success and recognition. Over 100 years later, Van Gogh is one of the most famous artists in the world and his paintings sell for millions. This exhibition provides the opportunity to understand the role that Britain played in that transformation. The influence of Dore and Dickens were considerable but it is the remarkable intensity and dynamism of some of the paintings that generally appeal to a modern audience. The exhibition of 1947 was a turning point for the appreciation of Van Gogh in the UK, this exhibition confirms his status as one of the great artists.

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.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review – Aftermath: Art in the wake of World War One at Tate Britain from 5th June to 23rd September 2018

Tate Britain presents an exhibition entitled Aftermath: Art in the wake of World War One which marks 100 years since the end of the First World War and explores the immediate impact of the conflict on British, German and French art. The exhibition brings together over 150 works from 1916 to 1932 by artists including George Grosz, Fernand Léger, Jacob Epstein, Paul Nash and C.R.W. Nevinson.

The first room in the exhibition illustrates some of the problems faced by artists in portraying the war. With many artists restricted by state censorship, many of the pictures are symbolic with devastated landscapes or soldier’s helmets or other equipment scattered on the battlefield. Pictures such as William Orpen’s A Grave in a Trench 1917 and Paul Jouve’s Tombe d’un soldat serbe a Kenali 1917 became part of the visual culture of portraying the conflict.

After the armistice, the attention moved from the battlefield to official public memorials which would provide a focus for mourning and remembrance. In the UK, the Cenotaph and the Tomb for the Unknown Soldier became important memorials which were used in remembrance ceremonies. Artists including Käthe Kollwitz, André Mare and Charles Sargeant Jagger produced sculptural memorials to commemorate those who lost their lives in the conflict. The large memorials contrasted with some of the more smaller and more personal memorials that used relics of the battlefield such as shrapnel and mortar shells.

The exhibition illustrates that although the dead were mourned after the war, those that had survived but suffered terrible physical and psychological scars faced an uncertain future with little infrastructure to deal with the scale of the problems. In Britain, images of wounded soldiers such as Henry Tonks’s medical pastel portraits give some idea of some of the issues. In Germany, Works such as George Grosz’s Grey Day 1921 and Otto Dix’s Prostitute and Disabled War Veteran 1923 were used in a more political sense.

For some artists, the traditional genres of painting seemed incapable of illustrating the fragmentation of societies and psychology of the self. Jacob Epstein had produced the powerful abstract Torso in metal from the ‘Rock Drill’ in 1913-14 but after the war the birth of dada and surrealism in the work of Hannah Höch, Max Ernst, André Masson and Edward Burra began to create new visual forms to process experiences and memories of the conflict. Heartfield’s The Petit-Bourgeois Philistine Heartfield Gone Wild. Electro-Mechanical Tatlin Sculpture 1920 provides a very different approach to portray physical and psychological scars.

Prints became a popular way to portray some of the aspects of the conflicts and the Print Portfolio room has a series of prints by Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz and Georges Rouault.

The final rooms examine how post-war society began to rebuild itself, some artists such as Georges Braque, Christian Schad and Winifred Knights sought  reassurance from the past whilst others such as Fernand Léger, Paul Citroen, and C.R.W. Nevinson turned their minds to visions of a technological future in the modern city.

This fascinating exhibition is the latest in a series of exhibitions and events in London that have portrayed different aspects of the First World War. This exhibition deals specifically with the impact on British, French and German art and it is noticeable that the artistic response in many ways reflected how the various nations were impacted by the war. Britain had suffered very little physical damage but suffered considerable psychological damage with its large losses and injuries. France had to deal with large areas of physical and psychological damage. Germany had suffered less physical damage, but the war and the paying of reparations led to considerable political turmoil that would eventually lead to rise of Nazi Germany.

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.
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 – The Great War in Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery 27th February – 15 June 2014

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Location – National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE

The National Portrait Gallery stages the first national exhibition of the First World War centenary commemorations, opening Thursday 27 February 2014. The Great War in Portraits (27 February-15 June 2014) marks the start of a four-year public programme at the Gallery of displays and events, and workshops for young people.

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Selbstbildnis als Soldat (Self-portrait as a Soldier) by Ludwig Kirchner, 1915 © Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio

The Great War in Portraits takes an international perspective. As well as iconic portraits of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Winston Churchill, the exhibition reflects the war experience of those from all social classes who served from throughout the Commonwealth.

In the central section titled ‘The Valiant and the Damned’, Portraits  of Victoria Cross holders, medal-winners, heroes and aces are shown juxtaposed with depictions of those whose lives were marked in different ways: casualties, those disfigured by wounds, prisoners of war, and those shot at dawn for cowardice.

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Wilfred Owen by John Gunston, 1916 © National Portrait Gallery, London;

Key loans have been secured from Imperial War Museums, Tate, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, Allen Memorial Art Museum, the Royal Airforce Museum, Hendon, Oberlin College, Ohio, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Further Events
The Gallery’s public programme of events explores the First World War from a wide range of perspectives. A literary season includes lectures by Kate Adie, Max Hastings and Jeremy Paxman discussing their respective books: Fighting on the Home Front – The Legacy of Women in World War One; Catastrophe; and Great Britain’s Great War.

More details of the exhibition and future events can be found at the National Portrait Gallery website

 Opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm)

Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm  (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm)

Admission Free

Visiting London Guide  Review

The National Portrait Gallery staging the first national exhibition of the First World War centenary commemorations  creates a number of themes to illustrate the Great War.

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Sir Jacob Epstein’s ” The Rock Drill

After the initial shock of being faced with Sir Jacob Epstein’s  futuristic ” The Rock Drill”, we enter more familiar territory with the portraits of the heads of the imperial powers contrasting with press photograph of Gavrilo Princip whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand set in motion events that culminated with the war itself.

The exhibition brings together iconic portraits and lesser known works in a multimedia environment that tries to catch the various moods of the conflict from the excitement at the beginning to the despair and futility at the end.

If you are visiting London between now and July, this relatively small exhibition is well worth a visit as it would be very unlikely that these exhibits would ever be displayed together again.

The exhibition gives us an excellent start to  a year of First World War commemorations in London.

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Self Portrait Isaac Rosenberg at the exhibition

Isaac Rosenberg was one of many who did not survive the war but whose poems gives some insight into the horrors of the war.

In the Trenches (Isaac Rosenberg)

I snatched two poppies
From the parapet’s ledge,
Two bright red poppies
That winked on the ledge.
Behind my ear
I stuck one through,
One blood red poppy
I gave to you.

The sandbags narrowed
And screwed out our jest,
And tore the poppy You had on your breast … Down – a shell – O! Christ,
I am choked … safe … dust blind, I
See trench floor poppies
Strewn. Smashed you lie