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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Painters' Paintings-What great artists collected

The National Gallery, London

23 June – 4 September 2016

This summer, the National Gallery explores great paintings from a unique perspective: from the point of view of the artists who owned them.

Spanning over five hundred years of art history, Painters’ Paintings presents more than eighty works, which were once in the possession of great painters: pictures that artists were given or chose to acquire, works they lived with and were inspired by. This is an exceptional opportunity to glimpse inside the private world of these painters and to understand the motivations of artists as collectors of paintings.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, ‘Italian Woman, or Woman with Yellow Sleeve (L'Italienne)', about 1870 © The National Gallery, London
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, ‘Italian Woman, or Woman with Yellow Sleeve (L'Italienne)', about 1870 © The National Gallery, London
The inspiration for this exhibition is a painter’s painting: Corot’s Italian Woman, left to the nation by Lucian Freud following his death in 2011. Freud had bought the 'Italian Woman' 10 years earlier, no doubt drawn to its solid brushwork and intense physical presence. A major work in its own right, the painting demands to be considered in the light of Freud’s achievements, as a painter who tackled the representation of the human figure with vigour comparable to Corot’s.

In his will, Freud stated that he wanted to leave the painting to the nation as a thank you for welcoming his family so warmly when they arrived in the UK as refugees fleeing the Nazis. He also stipulated that the painting’s new home should be the National Gallery, where it could be enjoyed by future generations.

Anne Robbins, Curator of 'Painters’ Paintings' says:
“Since its acquisition the painting’s notable provenance has attracted considerable attention – in fact the picture is often appraised in the light of Freud’s own achievements, almost eclipsing the intrinsic merits of Corot’s canvas. It made us start considering questions such as which paintings do artists choose to hang on their own walls? How do the works of art they have in their homes and studios influence their personal creative journeys? What can we learn about painters from their collection of paintings? 'Painters’ Paintings: From Freud to Van Dyck' is the result.”
The National Gallery holds a number of important paintings which, like the Corot, once belonged to celebrated painters: Van Dyck’s Titian; Reynolds’s Rembrandt, and Matisse’s Degas among many others. 'Painters’ Paintings' is organised as a series of case studies each devoted to a particular painter-collector: Freud, Matisse, Degas, Leighton, Watts, Lawrence, Reynolds, and Van Dyck.
'Painters’ Paintings' explores the motivations of these artists – as patrons, rivals, speculators - to collect paintings. The exhibition looks at the significance of these works of art for the painters who owned them - as tokens of friendship, status symbols, models to emulate, cherished possessions, financial investments or sources of inspiration.

Works from these artists’ collections are juxtaposed with a number of their own paintings, highlighting the connections between their own creative production and the art they lived with. These pairings and confrontations shed new light on both the paintings and the creative process of the painters who owned them, creating a dynamic and original dialogue between possession and painterly creation.

Half the works in the exhibition are loans from public and private collections, from New York and Philadelphia to Copenhagen and Paris. A number of them have not been seen in public for several decades.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery says:
 “Artists by definition live with their own pictures, but what motivates them to possess works by other painters, be they contemporaries – friends or rivals – or older masters? The exhibition looks for the answers in the collecting of Freud, Matisse, Degas, Leighton, Watts, Lawrence, Reynolds, and Van Dyck.”
Lucian Freud (1922–2011)

Lucian Freud’s work remains at the forefront of British figurative art. Fascinated by the tactile quality of paint, Freud had a lifelong fascination with the great painters of the past, and often visited museums and galleries, “I go and see pictures rather like going to the doctor. To get some help”, he said. At home, Freud surrounded himself with works of art he could admire in the flesh: paintings by 19th century French and British masters - Constable, Corot, Degas – each exuding their own unique energy.

This room includes examples of these, such as Corot’s 'Italian Woman' (about 1870, The National Gallery, London), displayed here just as Freud showed it in his drawing room: between a small Degas bronze ('Portrait of a Woman', after 1918, Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery)), and a sketch sent to him by his friend Frank Auerbach as a birthday card (2002, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge).

Freud’s attachment for the paintings he owned – here,

 L’Après-Midi à Naples
Paul Cézanne
© Photo courtesy of the owner
a rarely seen Cézanne brothel scene ('Afternoon in Naples', 1876–77, Private Collection)

 Portrait of Laura Moubray
John Constable
© National Galleries of Scotland

and delightful Constable portrait ('Laura Moubray', 1808, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh) – is explored in his section, which also looks at the influence of these works on his own investigations into the human figure.

The exhibition features Freud’s own striking 'Self Portrait: Reflection' (2002, Private Collection)

and a nude portrait, 'After Breakfast' (2001, Private Collection).

Henri Matisse (1869–1954)

Matisse started acquiring pictures long before he had encountered success and could afford to do so; his collection also grew through gifts and exchanges with fellow artists. He famously swapped pictures with Picasso: he sent the Spanish artist a drawing in 1941 as a thank you for Picasso looking after his bank vault in occupied Paris.

Picasso responded with the majestic, spectacularly sombre

Portrait of a Woman: Dora Maar
Pablo Picasso
20 January 1942 Private collection, United Kingdom
© Photo courtesy of the owner/Christie's, London © Succession Picasso/DACS London 2016

'Portrait of Dora Maar' (1942, Courtesy The Elkon Gallery, New York), sent to Matisse as a get-well present, after decades of a complicated friendship tinged with rivalry.

La Maison verte, Venise
Paul Signac
1905 Private collection 
© Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman

A fine Signac ('The Green House', Venice, 1905, Private Collection) illustrates Matisse’s practice to swap works of art with painter friends,

Three Bathers
Paul Cézanne
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
© Petit Palais / Roger-Viollet

while an iconic work by Cézanne, 'Three Bathers' (1879–82, Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris) shows how the pictures Matisse owned served his own art directly.

Having bought it in 1899 – then a great financial sacrifice – Matisse kept it for 37 years, during which, he said, he “came to know it fairly well, though [he] hoped, not entirely”. This painting

Young Man with a Flower behind his Ear
Paul Gauguin
Property from a distinguished Private Collection,© Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images

and his Gauguin 'Young Man with a Flower behind his Ear' (1891, Property from a distinguished Private Collection - courtesy of Christie's) informed Matisse’s own bold, simplified style, as his work was evolving towards a greater degree of abstraction, evident in his spectacular sculpture 'Back III' (1916–17, Centre Pompidou, Mnam/Cci, Paris), borrowing from his Cézanne.

Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure')
Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas
about 1896
© The National Gallery, London

We know tantalisingly little about the circumstances surrounding Matisse’s purchase of Degas’s Combing the Hair (about 1896, The National Gallery, London) yet the painting can be viewed from the vantage point of Matisse’s own work, rich in such scenes – as reflected in his 'The Inattentive Reader' (1919, Tate).

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834–1917)

A supreme master of technique and unrivalled experimentalist, Degas was an astute observer of modern life, yet his art remained embedded in tradition. He was also one of the greatest collectors of his time. “Degas carries on…buying, buying: in the evening he asks himself how he will pay for what he bought that day, and the next morning he starts again…” a friend wrote in 1896. Degas often traded his own paintings or pastels against the pieces he coveted most (Manet, 'Woman with a Cat', 1880–2, Tate). He acquired a wide range of works, from Old Masters paintings to pictures by artists considered, at that time, avant-garde, such as Cézanne’s' Bather with Outstretched Arm' (1883–85, Collection Jasper Johns).

Degas collected the work of Manet, doggedly tracking down the dispersed sections of The Execution of Maximilian (about 1867–8, ©The National Gallery, London) after the death of his friend.

He purchased great numbers of works of art by his heroes Ingres

(Oedipus and the Sphinx, about 1826,

 and Angelica saved by Ruggiero, 1819–39, both National Gallery, London)

and Delacroix ('Hercules rescuing Hesione', 1852, Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen and

'Study of the Sky at Sunset', 1849–50, The British Museum, London), focussing his attention on paintings which held a particular emotional significance for him and collecting those works as an act of homage. He also supported struggling artists – Gauguin, Sisley - by buying their works

(Sisley, 'The Flood. Banks of the Seine', Bougival, 1873, Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen), providing them with much-needed financial support.

Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830–1896) and George Frederic Watts (1817–1904)

One of the most renowned painters and sculptors of the Victorian era, and the leading figure of its art establishment, Leighton was aware of the power of art to convey social prestige and guarantee professional progress. He displayed in his sumptuous Holland Park studio-house the magnificent ensemble of pictures and objects he had purchased. Among them were Italian Renaissance paintings which showed his refined taste (Possibly by Jacopo Tintoretto, Jupiter and Semele, about 1545, The National Gallery, London) but also mid-19th century. French landscapes alluding to his continental training.

Corot’s Four Times of Day (about 1858, The National Gallery, London) formed the centrepiece of his drawing room, an enlightened choice showing Leighton’s advanced appreciation of French landscape painters. There, the Corot panels served as a source of inspiration as much as interior decoration, resonating with Leighton’s own landscapes, arguably the most individual part of his artistic production ('Aynhoe Park', 1860s, and 'Trees at Cliveden', 1880s, both Private Collection).

The painter George Frederic Watts, Leighton’s friend, neighbour, and regular visitor to his house, would have been impressed by the vast array of pictures in Leighton’s collection. The two artists shared a love for Italy and a desire to belong to the great artistic tradition reaching back to the Renaissance; in his 'Self Portrait in a Red Robe' (about 1853, Watts Gallery) he depicted himself in the robes of a Venetian senator. Determined to make art accessible to all, Watts gave the few paintings he owned to public galleries – not least the imposing Knight of S. Stefano (probably Girolamo Macchietti, after 1563, The National Gallery, London).

 Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830)

Lawrence was the leading British portraitist of the early 19th century. He was largely self-taught and hugely influenced by Sir Joshua Reynolds, following in his footsteps to become President of the Royal Academy. Like Degas, Lawrence was a voracious, obsessional collector, using the proceeds of the sale of his society portraits to amass an incomparable collection of Old Master drawings - an inventory upon his death listed some 4,300 drawings, including Carracci’s immense A Woman borne off by a Sea God (?) (about 1599, The National Gallery, London) and a number of paintings including Raphael’s Allegory (about 1504, The National Gallery, London) and Reni’s Coronation of the Virgin, (about 1607, The National Gallery, London).

This section of the exhibition places Lawrence’s collecting within his social world. The paintings he acquired established his reputation as a great connoisseur; his advice was much sought by influential friends such as John Julius Angerstein and Sir George Beaumont, whose collections came to form the nucleus of the National Gallery holdings. Beyond his acquisitive zeal, the prodigiously gifted Lawrence also sought to gain information about his favoured artists’ methods. An exceptional loan from a private collection, his portrait of the Baring Brothers (Lawrence, 'Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet, John Baring and Charles Wall', 1806–07) demonstrates his absorption of the tradition of Renaissance male portrait, here injected with Lawrence’s trademark dash and virtuosity.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792)

As the inaugural President of the Royal Academy, Reynolds was one of the most significant figures of the British art world in the 18th century; for him, collecting was a life-long passion, which he likened to “a great game”. Reynolds had a vast collection of drawings, paintings and prints that informed both his teachings and supported his ideas about what constituted great art – style of Van Dyck (The Horses of Achilles, 1635–45, The National Gallery, London), Giovanni Bellini (The Agony in the Garden, about 1465, The National Gallery, London), after Michelangelo (Leda and the Swan, after 1530, The National Gallery, London), Poussin (The Adoration of the Shepherds, about 1633–4, The National Gallery, London) and

Rembrandt (The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, about 1634–35, The British Museum, London).

Gainsborough’s 'Girl with Pigs' (1781–2, Castle Howard Collection), bought by Reynolds in 1782, also illustrates Reynold’s interest for the work of his contemporaries, demonstrating the breadth of his taste, but also its changeability - soon after, Reynolds tried to exchange his Gainsborough for a Titian.

Sir Anthony van Dyck (15991641)

Van Dyck was England’s leading court painter in the first half of the 17th century. Before enjoying success, he worked in the studio of Rubens, himself a great collector; following his master’s example, Van Dyck would soon acquire his own impressive array of Italian pictures. While he owned paintings by Raphael and Tintoretto, Van Dyck was almost single-minded in his passion for the work of Titian. Inventories made on the artist’s death list 19 works by Titian, most of which were portraits, including the Vendramin Family (1540–5, The National Gallery, London) and Portrait of Gerolamo (?) Barbarigo (about 1510, The National Gallery, London).

This room focuses on Van Dyck as collector, through his intense interest for the work of Titian, to whom he may owe his ingenious compositional devices (Lord John Stuart and His Brother, Lord Bernard Stuart, about 1638, The National Gallery, London) and technical freedom ('Thomas Killigrew and William, Lord Crofts (?)', 1638, The Royal Collection/HM Queen Elizabeth II). The resonance between Titian’s and Van Dyck’s depictions of figures is just one of the stories to be explored within this final section of the exhibition.

For more information, visit

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.