Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tamayo: A Solitary Mexican Modernist

The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) presents, from June 25 to October 10, 2016, Tamayo: A Solitary Mexican Modernist, an exhibition that celebrates the work of Rufino Tamayo, whose paintings, prints and sculptures brought international attention to 20th-century Mexican art. This is the first solo-exhibition dedicated to the artist ever presented in Canada.

Rufino Tamayo, The Great Galaxy (detail), 1978, oil on canvas. Collection Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo / INBA / Mexico. © D.R. Rufino Tamayo/Herederos/ México/2015/Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A.C / SODRAC (2016) 
Tamayo is one of Mexico's most significant modernist artists, recognized for having achieved his own individual style despite the domination of his contemporaries, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco, who were uncompromising in their allegiance to the social and political ideals that formed the basis of Mexico’s post-revolutionary art. Younger than they by ten years, Tamayo, looked to the future and the modern world, as well as finding inspiration in Mexico’s past traditions.
Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Tamayo's death, the exhibition presents 18 paintings plus a series of 12 lithographs on loan from various Mexican institutions and one work from the National Gallery’s Collection, together covering roughly 60 years of the painter’s artistic production. Marisol Argüelles, deputy director at Mexico’s Museum of Modern Art, is the curator of the exhibition, with the support of Erika Dolphin, Associate Curator to the Chief Curator at the National Gallery of Canada.
The National Gallery of Canada thanks the following institutions who made the presentation of Tamayo: A Solitary Mexican Modernist possible: the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, the Secretaría de Cultura, AMEXCID, and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes of Mexico as well as the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Nacional de Arte, and the Museo Tamayo.
“Mexican modernist art holds an important place in the vanguard movements of the twentieth century and will be of great interest to Canadians,” said the National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO Marc Mayer. “We are pleased to present this exhibition, a fine introduction to the outstanding work of Rufino Tamayo, to coincide with the North American Leaders’ Summit being held at the Gallery on June 29.”
“One of Mexico’s foremost modernist painters, Rufino Tamayo drew inspiration from Pre-Columbian art forms and our country’s rich history and popular art. His first solo-exhibition in Canada, to be held at the National Gallery on the 25th anniversary of his death, is a celebration of Mexican-Canadian cultural ties,” commented the Mexican Ambassador to Canada, his Excellency Agustín García-López.
To celebrate the exhibition of Tamayo works at the National Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation will host a special reception at the Gallery on Friday, June 24.
Foundation Chair, Thomas d’Aquino, said, “We are honoured to receive the works of this Mexican master on the eve of the State Visit to Canada of the President of Mexico and in advance of the historic North American Leaders’ Summit which will be proudly hosted at the National Gallery of Canada.”
About Rufino Tamayo (August 25, 1899 – June 24, 1991)
Born in Oaxaca, Tamayo was orphaned at age twelve. Under the guardianship of his aunt, he moved to Mexico City and secretly attended night classes in drawing. The environment of his early years would be a recurring motif throughout his work. Although his art reveals many aesthetic pursuits, one in particular stands out above all: a sense of freedom that allowed him – unlike artists of previous generations – to incorporate a set of formal codes from folk art and pre-Columbian Mexican mythology such as the use of colour and monumental forms. These coexisted in his work with the vocabulary of international art, confirming early on his universal vision of art.
Today Rufino Tamayo's work appears in many public and private collections around the world. He created the mural entitled Fraternity (1968), which was donated by Mexico to the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1971. As part of Mexico’s artistic heritage, the National Institute of Fine Arts has an unrivaled collection of Tamayo’s work, mainly on deposit at the Museum of Modern Art. The personal collection belonging to the artist and his wife, which emphasizes paintings and sculpture from Europe, the United States, Latin America and Asia from 1945 to 1975, formed the foundation of the Rufino Tamayo Museum of International Contemporary Art, founded in 1981.


18 June – 28 August 2016
Scottish National Gallery

The greatest Flemish artist of the seventeenth century, Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), will be at the centre of the exciting new display of master drawings at the Scottish National Gallery this summer. Rubens and Company will celebrate the Gallery’s outstanding selection of Flemish drawings and prints, with masterpieces by Rubens, Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) and Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), shown alongside rarely-seen works by Flemish contemporaries such as Cornelis Schut (1597-1655) and Frans Wouters (1612-1659).

Rubens is considered the towering figure of the Flemish Baroque – the period between the late sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries – and one of the greatest artists of all time. In the seventeenth century Flanders, together with Brabant, was the most prominent province of the Southern Netherlands, which were then under Spanish control; today it marks the northern, Dutch-speaking part of modern Belgium.

The display includes Rubens’s 

beautiful sketch Hero and Leander, c.1600-3, and Eight Women Harvesting, c.1635, which was probably drawn outdoors and from life. Rubens’s work shows the strong influence of classical sculpture, and of Italian Renaissance artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo. As a painter of religious pictures, mythological scenes, classical and modern history and portraits, Rubens was a prominent figure on an international stage and had a broad impact on other artists, including Van Dyck and Jordaens.

Sir Anthony van Dyck
Study for the Portrait of Nicolas Lanier (1588 - 1666), 1628
Drawing (black chalk): 39.20 x 28.50 cm
Scottish National Gallery
Van Dyck’s Study for the Portrait of Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666), a delicate black chalk drawing from 1628, will be displayed in the exhibition, as well as Jordaens’s beautiful Female Nude (1641) and

Jacob Jordaens
The Adoration of the Magi, 1644
Drawing (black chalk): 47.50 x 34.70 cm
Scottish National Gallery. William Findlay Watson Bequest.

The Adoration of the Magi (1644).

Among the highlights of the display will be some new discoveries made during research for the exhibition, including a rare drawing for one of the most important commissions Rubens ever received.  

Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens
Saint Gregory of Nazianzus Subduing Heresy, 1620
Drawing (red and white bodycolour): 22.9 x 38.5 cm
Scottish National Gallery

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus Subduing Heresy, which dates from 1620, was previously regarded as a copy after a lost painting by Rubens; new research, however, suggests this drawing was made in the artist’s studio, under the master’s supervision. 

Frans Wouters
Diana and Actaeon, c.1654-56
Oil on panel: 8.00 x 39.50 cm
Scottish National Gallery. Bequeathed by George Watson throught the Art Fund 2015.

An oil sketch after Titian’s world-famous Diana and Actaeon, which is part of the Scottish National Gallery collection, was previously attributed to David Teniers the Younger and is now considered to be by Frans Wouters, a member of Rubens’s extensive studio. This oil sketch was acquired in 2015 through the Art Fund.

Rubens and Company will comprise 28 works in total. Many of these are preparatory drawings or studies which offer a fascinating insight into the function of drawings as well as studio practice; some of them have rarely, in some cases never, been displayed before.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a beautifully illustrated catalogue, which provides a lively panorama of Flemish draughtsmanship in the seventeenth century, its subjects and techniques. The publication has been supported by the General Representation of the Government of Flanders in the UK. This catalogue includes an in-depth discussion of the twenty-eight works in the exhibition as well as an introductory essay highlighting the paintings by Rubens and Van Dyck in the collection of the Scottish National Gallery

Christie’s 250th anniversary sale, Defining British Art, 30 June 2016

Infatuation with arresting beauty has always compelled artists to produce masterpieces and four superb works are included in Christie’s 250th anniversary sale, Defining British Art, to be held in London on the evening of 30 June 2016.

Keats influenced his contemporaries and successors on the symbols and sentiments that ignited a revival in a new romanticism through intense realism and beauty in art. Never previously offered for sale,

Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Lucy Long, Mrs. George Hardinge (1820) encapsulates that of a ‘society beauty’, being one of the finest works by the artist to come to the market in a generation (estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000). Accompanied by her spaniel in the foreground of the canvas, Lucy Long’s stoic and elegant demeanor is captured as she gazes pensively onwards, producing an informative portrait of an esteemed figure in 19th century Britain.

Nonetheless, it was Dante Gabriel Rossetti who pioneered a new aesthetic evident in his depictions of his enigmatic muse, Jane Morris. As depicted in  

Portrait of Jane Morris, bust-length (circa 1870), her unusual appearance was strikingly at odds with any conventional notion of feminine grace, yet Rossetti captured her with an unprecedented, tasteful and irresistible intensity - providing a breathtaking portrait of his flawless lover. Formerly part of a significant collection owned by L.S Lowry and was sold by his heirs, this coloured chalk on light green paper is estimated at £300,000-500,000.

After the compelling purity of Rossetti’s Jane Morris is Frederic Leighton’s flirtatious and alluring  

Pavonia (circa 1859).  Producing a work of art contrasting to that of his contemporaries, Leighton captures a sensuality in the serene but confident sitter. Focusing solely on the physicality and subject of his striking Mediterranean model, Nanna Risi, we are not desensitised by exaggerated foregrounds or additional features, but gripped by her exotic beauty, juxtaposed with the magnificent display of a peacock fan, a timeless symbol of vanity (estimate: £1,500,000-2,500,000).

The fourth muse replaces the colour and seduction of her predecessors for a quaint charm which is as wholly appealing and mesmerising.

Lucian Freud’s A Girl (Pauline Tennant) (circa 1945), conveys an obvious stillness in its depiction. Pauline Tennant, portrayed truthfully to her rather unconventional personality and described as “a true bohemian aristocrat” (Phillip Hoare, The Independent) appears carefully delineated upon a muted canvas but animated in both beauty and psyche (estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000).

Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape

24 June to 25 September 2016 

This summer the Rijksmuseum is staging the first ever major retrospective of work by Adriaen van de Velde (1636-1672), one of the greatest landscape painters of the Golden Age. The exhibition features sixty paintings, preliminary studies and drawings by the talented artist, who died tragically young. They come from private collections and from museums including the Louvre, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza Madrid, the Mauritshuis and the British Museum.

Unsurpassed master

For much of his short life – he died when he was just thirty-five – he was regarded as one of the greatest artists of the seventeenth century. During his lifetime he was known as an outstanding painter of people and animals. His posthumous fame endured until the mid-twentieth century. Today, the public is barely aware of his name, and the Rijksmuseum and the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London have decided to rectify this situation.

A landscape painter from a family of seascape painters

Son of the famous marine painter Willem van de Velde the Elder and brother of the equally famous Willem van de Velde the Younger, child prodigy Adriaen became a landscape painter – and a phenomenal draughtsman. His figure and animal studies – usually drawn in red chalk – are regarded as sublime examples of the genre. His drawings reveal that he made meticulous preparations for his popular painted landscapes. Other artists also regularly asked him to paint figures in their landscapes and townscapes.

Unique look at working methods

By reuniting Van de Velde’s refined paintings with their preliminary drawings, the exhibition presents a representative idea of his oeuvre and gives visitors a unique insight into Van de Velde’s working method: many of the motifs in the detailed drawings appear in his paintings. Like no other artist of his time, Van de Velde enables viewers to follow every stage of the creative process.

Special loans

The sixty works in the exhibition – thirty-seven drawings and twenty-three paintings – come from public and private collections in the Netherlands and abroad. Works of special note include The Beach at Scheveningen, a work he painted when he was twenty-one, on loan from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel, and the wooden panel of a beach scene, dating from 1660, a rare loan from the Louvre. The Rijksmuseum is represented by five paintings and ten drawings.


A lavishly illustrated book accompanies the exhibition. It is the first commercially-available publication about Adriaen van de Velde. An introduction to the artist’s life, career and artistic background is followed by some forty entries, describing all of the more than sixty works. As in the exhibition, the focus is on the visual richness of the work and the artist’s working method. Visitors to the exhibition and readers of the book will feel that they are looking over the artist’s shoulder.
Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape | JUNE 2016: Hardback, 280 x 245 mm, 228 pages, 250 colour illus. PRICE: £34.95 ISBN: 978 1 907372 96 4

Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape runs from 24 June to 25 September 2016 in the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition is staged in collaboration with the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, where it can be seen this autumn.
Couple in a Landscape, Adriaen van de Velde, 1667. Rijksmuseum Collection. On loan from Amsterdam City Council (A. van der Hoop bequest)

Hilly Landscape with a High Road, Adriaen van de Velde, 1660 - 1672. Rijksmuseum Collection
Two Studies of a Shepherd lying down, Adriaen van de Velde, 1666 - 1671. Rijksmuseum Collection

The beach at Scheveningen, Adriaen van de Velde, 1658. Gemäldegalerie Kassel

Carriage on the Beach at Scheveningen, Adriaen van de Velde 1660. Musée du Louvre, Paris

Study of a Dog, Adriaen van de Velde, c. 1665-1670 The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

Landscape with People and Cattle, Adriaen van de Velde, 1664 Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

Landscape with Cattle Fording a River, Adriaen van de Velde, 1666 Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous

4 June – 11 September 2016

Masterpieces from four of the finest collections of Dada and Surrealist art ever assembled will be brought together in this summer's major exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA). Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous will explore the passions and obsessions that led to the creation of four very different collections, which are bound together by a web of fascinating links and connections, and united by the extraordinary quality of the works they comprise.

Surrealism was one of the most radical movements of the twentieth century, which challenged conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, the world of dreams and the laws of chance. Emerging from the chaotic creativity of Dada (itself a powerful rejection of traditional values triggered by the horrors of the First World War) its influence on our wider culture remains potent almost a century after it first appeared in Paris in the 1920s.

World-famous works by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Leonora Carrington, Giorgio de Chirico, André Breton, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Yves Tanguy, Leonor Fini, Marcel Duchamp and Paul Delvaux will be among the 400 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, artist books and archival materials, to feature in Surreal Encounters.

The exhibition has been jointly organised by the SNGMA, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Hamburger Kunsthalle, where it will be shown following its only UK showing in Edinburgh.

Dalí's The Great Paranoiac (1936), Lobster Telephone (1938)

Salvador DALI (1904-1989)
Impressions d'Afrique (Impressions of Africa), 1938
Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 117.5cm
Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Formerly collection of E. James),
Purchased with the support of The Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt), Prins Bernhard Fonds, Erasmusstichting, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht Rotterdam and Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1979
© Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2015

and Impressions of Africa (1938);

de Chirico’s Two Sisters (1915);

Ernst's Pietà or Revolution by Night (1923)

and Dark Forest and Bird (1927), and 

Magritte’s The Magician’s Accomplice (1926) and  

René MAGRITTE (1898-1967)
La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced), 1937
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam © Beeldrecht Amsterdam 2007.
Photographer: Studio Tromp, Rotterdam
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Not to be Reproduced (1937) will be among the highlights of this exceptional overview of Surrealist art. The exhibition will also tell the personal stories of the fascinating individuals who pursued these works with such dedication and discernment.

The first of these - the poet, publisher and patron of the arts, Edward James (1907-84) and the artist, biographer and exhibition organiser, Roland Penrose (1900-84) - acquired the majority of the works in their collections while the Surrealist movement was at its height in the interwar years, their choices informed by close associations and friendships with many of the artists.

James was an important supporter of Salvador Dalí and René Magritte in particular, while Penrose was first introduced to Surrealism through a friendship with Max Ernst. The stories behind James’s commissioning of works such as

Dalí’s famous Mae West Lips Sofa (1938) and

Magritte’s The Red Model III (1937)

and the role of PUne Semaine de Bonté (1934) will demonstrate how significant these relationships were for both the artists and the collectors.

enrose in the production of Ernst’s seminal collage novel

Other celebrated works on show that formed part of these two profoundly important collections include

Tanning’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1943);

Magritte’s On the Threshold of Liberty (1937);

Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)
Tête de Paysan Catalan [Head of a Catalan Peasant], 1925
Oil on canvas, 92.4 x 73 cm
Collection: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Purchased jointly with Tate, with the assistance of the Art Fund 1999
Miró’s Head of a Catalan Peasant (1925); and The House Opposite (c.1945) by Leonora Carrington.

While the Penrose and James collections are now largely dispersed, the extraordinary collection of Dada and Surrealist art put together by Gabrielle Keiller (1908-95), was bequeathed in its entirety to the SNGMAon her death in 1995, the largest benefaction in the institution’s history. Keiller devoted herself to this area following a visit to the Venice home of the celebrated American art lover Peggy Guggenheim in 1960, which proved to be a pivotal moment in her life. She went on to acquire outstanding works such as Marcel Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-Valise (1935-41),  Alberto Giacometti’s Disagreeable Object, to be Thrown Away (1931)

and Girl Born without a Mother (c.1916-17) by Francis Picabia.

Recognizing the fundamental significance of Surrealism’s literary aspect, Keiller also worked assiduously to create a magnificent library and archive, full of rare books, periodicals, manifestos and manuscripts, which makes the SNGMA one of the world’s foremost centres for the study of the movement.

The exhibition will be brought up to date by the inclusion of works from the collection of Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, who have spent more than 40 years in their quest to build up an historically balanced collection of Surrealism, which they have recently presented to the city of Berlin, where they still live.  The collection features many outstanding paintings by Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, André Masson, Leonor Fini, Ernst, Tanguy, Magritte and Miró; sculptures by Hans Arp and Hans Bellmer; and works by André Breton, the leader of the Surrealists. Highlights include Masson’s Massacre (1931), Ernst’s Head of ‘The Fireside Angel’ (c.1937),


Pablo PICASSO (1881–1973)
Femme aux arabesques (Arabesque Woman), 1931
Oil on canvas, 100 x 81cm
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg/ Pietzsche Collection

Picasso’s Arabesques Woman (1931) and Arp’s sculpture Assis (Seated) (1937).

The exhibition’s curator in Edinburgh, Keith Hartley, who is Deputy Director of the SNGMA, has said, “Surrealist art has captured the public imagination like perhaps no other movement of modern art. The very word ‘surreal’ has become a by-word to describe anything that is wonderfully strange, akin to what André Breton, the chief theorist of Surrealism, called ‘the marvellous’. This exhibition offers an exceptional opportunity to enjoy art that is full of ‘the marvellous’. It brings together many important works which have rarely been seen in public, by a wide range of Surrealist artists, and creates some very exciting new juxtapositions.”

“The four collections represented here have different origins and trajectories, different historical contexts and come out of different creative urges.  But what they all display is a high level of quality, aesthetic discernment, dedication and commitment, and the collectors themselves, while passionate about their private visions, were and are always mindful of contributing something to the public good. It is therefore not surprising that the ways in which Surrealist art has been collected display many of the idiosyncratic passions of Surrealism itself.”

Surreal Encounters will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue, with contributions from Dawn Ades, Richard Calvocoressi, Désirée de Chair, Elizabeth Cowling, Hubertus Gaβner, Annabelle Görgen, Keith Hartley, Saskia van Kampen-Prein and Antony Penrose.  240 pp, 200 colour illustrations.

Also see Surrealism, two private eyes:  the Nesuhi Ertegen and Daniel Filipacchi Collections.

Over the course of almost five decades, famed magazine publisher Daniel Filipacchi and record producer Nesuhi Ertegun assembled the most important grouping of Surrealist art in private hands. This extraordinary two-volume set captures the full range, paradoxical nature and fascinating aspects of Surrealism. Featuring works by leading figures of the movement such as Giorgio de Chirico, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dal', Max Ernst, Rena Magritte, Man Ray and Yves Tanguy, this slipcased set is comprised almost entirely of full-page, full-color reproductions. Major paintings, sculpture, photographs, works on paper, rare books and off-the-cuff ephemera appear alongside complementary texts, creating a complete guide to one of the most intriguing movements in art history.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné

Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné is a landmark publishing event that presents the entire oeuvre of Bacon’s paintings for the first time and includes many previously unpublished works. The impeccably produced five-volume, slipcased publication, containing each of Bacon’s 584 paintings, has been edited by Martin Harrison, FSA, the pre-eminent expert on Bacon’s work, alongside research assistant Dr Rebecca Daniels. An ambitious and painstaking project that has been ten years in the making, this seminal visual document eclipses in scope any previous publication on the artist and will have a profound effect on the perception of his work.

Containing around 800 illustrations across 1,538 pages within five cloth-bound hardcover volumes, the three volumes that make up the study of Bacon’s entire painting oeuvre are bookended by two further volumes: the former including an introduction and a chronology, and the latter a catalogue of Bacon’s sketches, an index, and an illustrated bibliography compiled by Krzysztof Cieszkowski. Printed on 170 gsm GardaMatt Ultra stock in Bergamo, Italy at Castelli Bolis, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné are boxed within a cloth- bound slipcase, and supplied within a bespoke protective shipping carton.

In addition to the 584 paintings, the catalogue will contain illuminating supporting material. This includes sketches by Bacon, photographs of early states of paintings, images of Bacon’s furniture, hand-written notes by the artist, photographs of Bacon, his family and circle, and fascinating x-ray and microscope photography of his paintings.

Several major exhibitions on Bacon are scheduled for 2016–17. Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms runs from 18 May until 18 September 2016 at Tate Liverpool, and from 7 October 2016 until 8 January 2017 at Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. Martin Harrison is the curator of Francis Bacon, Monaco et la culture française which runs at Grimaldi Forum, Monaco from 2 July 2016 until 4 September 2016 and Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez which runs at Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao from 30 September 2016 until 8 January 2017.

45-06 Study for a Figure, c.1945

Oil on canvas
48 × 41 in. (122 × 104 cm) (Alley a3)

Alley considered this to have been a ‘first idea’ for the figure in the left panel of Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944 (44-01), but a slightly later date is more likely. It is painted on canvas, not fibreboard, and the dialogue between the head and the bowl of flowers is not otherwise present in Bacon’s work until Figure Study I, 1945–46 (46-01); (but see also 44-02). 

It is significant that Bacon chose one of the Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion to rework at a larger size, and on canvas, for he appears to have been experimenting with a more painterly expression than in his Picasso-esque biomorphs. The shuttered ground in Study for a Figure is painted in eau-de-nil and buff, but show-through in the pigmentation at many points confirms that it was originally painted cadmium orange, like the Three Studies. The painting remained in Bacon’s studio until 1951, and it is possible, therefore, that the curtains were added later than 1945. 

Study for a Figure is in many respects an advance on Three Studies. The figure’s body, hair and the roses are all virtuoso performances in colour and texture. In concentrating on the substance and expressive qualities of paint, Bacon is turning his attention away from Picasso and towards Rembrandt and Velázquez. 


63-12 Three Studies for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes, 1963
Oil on canvas
Triptych: each panel 14 × 12 in. (35.5 × 30.5 cm) Delivered to Marlborough Fine Art 6 November 1963 (Alley 221)

This was the last of Bacon’s paintings to be documented by Ronald Alley. 

In a photograph of Bacon taken by Derek Bayes on22 October 1963, the completed centre and left panels are visible. Alley noted that the studies ‘were painted partly from life’. If that is correct, it was possibly the last occasion on which Bacon painted from a live model. In all probability John Deakin’s photographs of Moraes were also used as aides-mémoire. 

The pointed head and flattened nose in the left panel are quoted from Honoré Daumier’s bronze bust of Baron Joseph de Podenas (c.1833, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), and possibly also his lithographs of Luigi Filippo. Bacon would return to Daumier’s caricatural distortions several times during the next three years. 
Three Studies for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes marked Bacon’s consummation of the small triptych format that he had initiated with Study for Three Heads, 1962 (62-07) and which he continued to utilise until 1983. The restricted palette of mainly crimson and white on a textured black ground is masterly, as are the energy and motion of the brushstrokes and smearing of the wet pigment. Indeed Bacon’s execution has a power, skill and confidence that he scarcely ever surpassed in this format. 

65-02 After Muybridge – Woman Emptying a Bowl of Water and Paralytic Child on All Fours, 1965

Oil on canvas
78 × 58 in. (198 × 147.5 cm)

(Among the paintings by Bacon that were habitually mistitled, this has been misrepresented most frequently. Caution is advised regarding the incorrect titles in many of the foregoing publications.) 

Bacon’s images of extreme situations often seem to be subjects he might have dreamed of, but if that is the case the dream he painted here must have been triggered by consulting Muybridge, a pictorial source acknowledged in the title. 

It amalgamates the paralytic child he had painted in 1961 (see 61-04) with and an image suggested by Muybridge’s sequence ‘Woman Throwing a Basin of Water’, extensively modified by Bacon into the contorted stooping pose she has been obliged to adopt on the rail. 

Against a ground of stridently clashing red, orange and violet, the circular rail is exceptionally prominent, emphasising the circular motion of the two protagonists in their pointless, interminable activities. The flat planes of colour intensify Bacon’s portrayal of nihilistic exasperation, expressed in the furious painting of the deformed figures. Deleuze read the figures as a mother and child, which if correct would raise the possibility that Bacon identified with the child.

Picasso: The Artist and His Muses

Vancouver Art Gallery June 11, 2016 – October 02, 2016

The exhibition ‘Picasso: The Artist and His Muses’ will explore the significance of Pablo Picasso’s six most prominent muses: Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque in the development of his work. For the first time, this exhibition will examine the six women who were most important to Picasso’s artistic development – who for the purpose of this exhibition we have chosen to define as muses – as well as exploring in depth the idea of the artist-muse relationship in the catalogue. The exhibition will highlight the women behind the portraits and tell their stories while also tracing the ways they inspired and shaped Picasso’s artistic development.

The ancient Greek muse topos of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne sought to give name to the artistic impulse and artistic inspiration. Only figurative art had no muse-aegis, being regarded as little more than physical labour. Paradoxically, the concept of the muse is to the modern mind most readily linked to painting, from the pre-Raphaelite depictions of Elizabeth Siddal to Lucien Freud’s ’Sue the Benefits Worker Sleeping’.

Cultural critic Germaine Greer has said that the modern muse is engaged in a reverse penetration of the male artist, bringing forth creativity from the ‘womb of his mind’. But could these relationships be seen as essentially egotistical, a means by which an artist seeks to understand and give expression to his own feelings and impulses in relation to the muse, rather than the depicting muse herself?

For Pablo Picasso this principle seems to be true, the very number of women recognised in this exhibition as his muses attesting to it. None stands above the others as an archetypal muse, and each contributed profoundly to his artistic direction. After Picasso met the young Marie-Thérèse Walter, his marriage to Olga Khokhlova began to break down and he eventually left the marital home. However, Olga Khokhlova’s numerous nervous breakdowns connected to his infidelity and the collapse of their relationship inspired a new direction in Picasso’s work. Diametrically opposed to Olga Khokhlova was Dora Maar, an artist in her own right who also influenced him politically in a relationship that was much more ambiguous in its mutual creative osmosis.

In order to show the significance of Pablo Picasso’s six muses in the development of his work, the exhibition will feature – in six corresponding sections – works spanning almost his entire career from 1906 to the early 1970s. In contrast to the other women who modelled for the artist, these relationships were extraordinarily fecund for Picasso’s creativity and had a significant long-term influence on the development of his style. In Picasso discourse they have therefore become eponyms for his artistic periods: from the période Fernande to the période Jacqueline.

Femme au collier jaune, by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas. (© Picasso Estate / SODRAC (2016) Left photo: Patrick Goetelen, Right: Cathy Carver)

 Nu assis dans un fauteuil by Pablo Picasso.
"We really wanted to tell the stories behind the portraits and put the focus on the women."

Claude et Paloma, 1950, oil and ripolin on panel. . (© Picasso Estate/SODRAC (2016) Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery)

This piece captures a period of family life when Picasso was in a relationship with Françoise Gilot, who gave birth to his two children

Femme couchée lisant, 1939, oil on canvas.  (© Picasso Estate/SODRAC (2016) Image: © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY Photo: J.G. Berizzi)

This subject in this piece is Picasso's last wife Jacqueline Roque.
In addition to 27 paintings, a selection of  35 sketches, drawings, prints and sculptures will demonstrate the varied media Picasso worked in, accompanied by photographs and biographical information.

Curator: Katharina Beisiegel


Taking a fresh approach to discussions around one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists, Picasso: The Artist and His Muses examines the significance of the six women who were most important to Picasso’s artistic development, as well as exploring in depth the notion of the artist/muse relationship.

Featuring texts by some of the world’s leading female art writers, this publication covers work that spans most of Picasso’s entire career, from 1906 through to the early 1970s. Focusing on the prominent muses throughout his life—Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque—this book makes clear the impact that these women had on Picasso’s creativity and their significant long-term influence on the development of his work.

Catalogue Editor: Katharina Beisiegel

Catalogue in preparation with Black Dog Publishing, London. Language: English

Contributing authors: Dr. Cécile Godefroy (Art Historian and Associate Researcher to the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, Bruxelles), Laurence Madeline (Chief Curator, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva, formerly Musée Picasso, Paris), Dr. Catherine Soussloff (Professor of Art History, Visual Art & Theory at University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Vérane Tasseau (Art Historian), Dr. Gertje Utley (Independent Art Historian and Author of ’Picasso: The Communist Years’, New York 2000), Diana Widmaier Picasso (Art Historian).