14 Dec 2013

Winking in Art

Russian artists in the early 20th century turned to the West to absorb the latest trends happening in Paris. That’s the conventional story. Yet, little known, at the same time they were also turning eastwards towards Siberia and Russia’s oriental cultures where they absorbed Tibetan...

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09 Oct 2013 | 1 Comments

Artist Crucified in his Studio

No-one you know thinks of themself as Christ which may be why most people find it so impossible to believe that artists do. My continual harping on this theme can sound like madness. One new reader, clearly dedicated to her Church, complained vociferously last week. Yet it is true because...

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06 Dec 2012

Faking It

FAKING IT, a new exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum, attempts to show the full range of photographic manipulation in the age before Photoshop. It has an interesting premise. Many photographers in the 19th and early 20th century were dis-satisfied with just showing what the world...

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20 Nov 2012 | 1 Comments

Bellows’ River Rats At the Metropolitan Museum.

George Bellows’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum opened last week and is well-deserved, showing us for the first time in modern memory the full scale of what he achieved in twenty-something years. He died at 42.  The success of his work is variable but it is clear that Bellows understood...

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21 Sep 2012

Impressionism and Fashion

Impressionism and Fashion is the title of a new exhibition opening at Paris' Musée d’Orsay this coming Monday.  The key image on the catalogue’s cover and the Museum’s website is Manet’s Young Lady of 1866. The model, Victorine Meurend, is familiar to art lovers from her starring roles three...

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23 Jun 2012

Cindy Sherman: Inside and Out

Cindy Sherman stands in an odd position in my pantheon of art. Her portraits, critics repeatedly tell us, are self-portraits but at the same time are not about her. That is my dilemma. The very characteristic that would make Sherman’s work interesting to study is dismissed by critics as...

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24 May 2012

Durer: “For Christ’s sake, can’t you see that….


An article featured on the Home page of The Art Newspaper's website announces the opening of an important exhibition on Dürer. It reports, however, that Dürer’s Munich Self-portrait (above): “continues to baffle observers. Despite the fact that Christian iconography is now more or less...

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22 Mar 2012

Johan Zoffany

I just missed, by all accounts, a landmark exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, the first major exhibition devoted to Johan Zoffany (1733-1810). It just moved to the Royal Academy in London where it will stay until June 10th  2012. Try to see it if you can. Zoffany is not...

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04 Mar 2012

Advertising Art

Two prints by different artists,  both American admittedly but more than thirty years apart, were in the same auction this week (top and bottom)1 using the same “hint” – for want of a better term – that the actual subject of the image is self-referential despite appearances.

In Childe...

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27 Feb 2012

Degas on Reflection and the Great Masters

At the entry to a small, mildly interesting exhibition of Rembrandt’s engravings and their influence on Degas, the Metropolitan Museum has highlighted the following quote:

“What I do is the result of reflection and the study of great masters.”        Edgar Degas

That will not surprise...

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01 Feb 2012

Degas’ Disgusting Ballerina

When Degas’ much beloved Little Dancer Aged Fourteen was first exhibited in 1881, it was greeted with fear and disgust. One art critic wrote that Degas had selected a model “among the most odiously ugly; he makes it the standard of horror and bestiality.” Another added that “the vicious...

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10 Dec 2011

Portraits: Icons of America

Portraits make popular art exhibitions because we all think we can “read” a face. It’s part of being human. Everyone is his or her own expert on other people’s faces. Besides, portraits help satisfy our natural inquisitiveness about what people in the past looked like. Strangely, though,...

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02 Dec 2011

The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini #3

Both portraits above will be in the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum (Cat. #163 and #159) and may even be hung near to each other where the similarity will surely be noticed.  The portrait of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus (left), is assumed in the catalogue to be a reasonably good...

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04 Nov 2011

Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim

The Maurizio Cattelan exhibition opening today at the Guggenheim New York (on till Jan 22nd, 2012) is entitled All because it is meant to be a complete retrospective of the Italian artist’s career. In fact, aged 51, he has formally announced that this is also the end of his career and that he...

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13 Oct 2011

Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus

America’s a religious and largely Christian country so an exhibition titled Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, currently in Philadelphia and soon to travel to Detroit, ought to be a popular hit. It caught my interest because – face it – you know why. As I expected, buried in a mountain of...

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