art

Ruin’d universes: the paintings of George Little

October 28, 2023 5 Comments
Ruin’d universes: the paintings of George Little

Long before all-year sea bathing became de rigueur with the middle classes of Mumbles, if you were up early enough, on any day of the week and at any time of the year, you’d be able to spot two figures in the waves on Caswell Bay.  One of them was George Little.  Born in 1927 […]

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‘Exhabiting that corricatore of a harss’: Anselm Kiefer and James Joyce

July 14, 2023 2 Comments
‘Exhabiting that corricatore of a harss’: Anselm Kiefer and James Joyce

No one could accuse Anselm Kiefer of being a miniaturist.  The White Cube in Bermondsey is a large space and it’s packed full with the huge displays of his new exhibition, a response to his long-time admiration for James Joyce’s unreadable masterwork, Finnegans wake. The Cube isn’t a cube at all, but an oblong.  When […]

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Jim Ede and Kettle’s Yard

July 7, 2023 2 Comments
Jim Ede and Kettle’s Yard

Walking across the river and up the hill to Kettle’s Yard became a regular habit when I was a student.  The afternoon was the time to go.  After you the tugged the bell pull, a lean man of elderly years would come to the door and invite you in straight away.  This was Jim Ede, […]

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Vermeer regathered

March 31, 2023 7 Comments
Vermeer regathered

We’re back in the Netherlands: the first time we’ve broken out of our bleak little island for over three years.  It’s a relief to be in a country where most things seem to work, as they once did in Britain: railways and buses, information and advice services, health facilities, clean public spaces and much else.  […]

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A Dada excursion

March 3, 2023 2 Comments
A Dada excursion

One of the pleasures of researching the history of the simple human act of walking is that, just like a good walk, it takes you in unexpected directions.  Recently, while considering the prehistory of walking as an artistic activity, I came across a Dada event, held in Paris just over a century ago, that stands […]

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A port painter

January 20, 2023 1 Comment
A port painter

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has got into the excellent habit of displaying a good mix of works from its permanent collection along a long wall in one of its upstairs rooms.  This has the advantage of letting us see paintings that would not otherwise often see the light of day.  When I was there […]

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Francis Place, pioneer artist and potter

January 6, 2023 4 Comments
Francis Place, pioneer artist and potter

In the late seventeenth century York was a lively intellectual centre.  The York Virtuosi – modesty was not one of their features – were a group of scientists, historians and artists including the zoologist Martin Lister, the antiquarian and historian of Leeds Ralph Thoresby and the glass painter Henry Gyles.  Another member was a pioneering […]

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Three Courtauld women

October 7, 2022 0 Comments
Three Courtauld women

When I used to travel to London regularly, the Courtauld Gallery was one of my favourite places to visit.  Last weekend I went back, for the first time since its extraordinarily expensive (£57m) makeover, which closed it for three years.  The building now looks elegant enough and there are many practical improvements.  But I can’t […]

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John Singer Sargent in Morocco

September 16, 2022 6 Comments
John Singer Sargent in Morocco

In 1879, years before he became known as the world’s most famous society portrait painter, John Singer Sargent left Paris, where he had trained as an artist in the studio of Carolus-Duran, and travelled south, to Spain and north Africa.  Carolus-Duran idolised Velasquez, and Sargent’s first stop was Madrid, to study paintings by Velasquez in the […]

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The bookseller of Stromness

July 1, 2022 3 Comments
The bookseller of Stromness

Hanging on a wall in the public library in Stromness, where you can sit in an easy chair and enjoy a view of the waterfront through the picture window, is an oil painting called The bookseller of Stromness. It was painted in 2005 by a self-taught artist from Stornaway, Calum Morrison, who had long settled […]

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