29 October 2014

V&A Prints on tour

The V&A has an extensive collection of fine art prints and related material. The range of the modern holdings is clear from their 2001 publication, Impressions of the 20th Century, and these have been drawn on to send Modern Masters: Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol on tour this year to Lincoln, Plymouth, currently Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery and soon Inverness. Visitors to the show should be able to find something of interest from all four artists in the form of prints, books and other items.

The works by Picasso spanned most of his career from 1904 to 1957. I liked the portrait of the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1937, below left) and The Sleeping Woman (1947, below right):


There were also four of the sugar-lift aquatint and drypoint etchings from the portfolio of Buffon’s L’Histoire Naturelle, including The Lizard (1942, below left), which were printed during the Occupation, and Skull of a Goat on a Table (1952, below right):


The Matisse exhibits included both the print (image unavailable) and the wood block (1905, below right) for Nude in Profile on a Chaise Longue. The lithograph Interior, Reading (1925, below right) is of a subject he painted on various occasions:


Visitors to the recent Matisse exhibition at Tate Modern may have come away with the impression that his later work consisted only of cut-outs. Not so, as demonstrated colourfully by Marie-Jose in a Yellow Dress (1950, below):


Curiously, Salavador Dali was omitted from Impressions of the 20th Century. I hadn’t seen before any of the six posters which Salvador Dali designed for the French railways (SNCF) in 1969, two of the four on display here:


Andy Warhol’s work like Marilyn (exhibition poster above, three of the ten colour ways of this print are on show) is, as they say, iconic and also ubiquitous to the point of over-exposure (in a week I came across him in shows in Bath and Blenheim and at the NPG) but this colour offset litho poster from 1978, based on two of his Self Portraits from 1966, was striking:


This Louisiana is the Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark which, from its website, seems well worth visiting, although like many British people I’m deterred by the prospect of Danish prices. However, as the website states “DINNER BUFFET IN LOUISIANA CAFÉ EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT FOR DKK 149”, which would be just under £16 (US$26), perhaps I ought to think again.

Modern Masters in Print Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol ends in Bath on 23 November 2014.



28 October 2014

Supermac’s old trick


Vicky, Evening Standard, 1958
Peregrine Worsthorne, now 90, writes in this week’s Spectator about his encounters as a journalist with eight US presidents. I liked this brief digression about a certain UK prime minister:
Incidentally, Harold Macmillan, when prime minister, also knew a thing about flattering journalists. Towards the end of an interview I was having with him in Downing Street, a flunky interrupted to say that the American ambassador had arrived. ‘Be so good as to ask his Excellency to wait,’ came the reply, and the conversation continued on its stately way for at least 20 more minutes. Mentioning this to a colleague, my pride was swiftly deflated when he replied: ‘That’s a very old trick of his — he plays it on us all.’