30 April 2012

'Into the Light' at Compton Verney

The long-list of 10 gallery and museum projects for the Art Fund’s 2012 Prize features three from South West England: M Shed in Bristol, the Holburne Museum in Bath and Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM). RAMM reopened in December 2011, marking the occasion with a major exhibition, Into the Light: French and British painting from Impressionism to the early 1920s, which has now transferred to Compton Verney.

53 works are on show by artists including Vanessa Bell, Eugene Boudin, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Walter Sickert, Alfred Sisley, Alexander Stanhope Forbes and Philip Wilson Steer. Into the light describes the cross-Channel travels, connections and influences on their work of British and French Impressionists and Post-impressionists. This exhibition is a delight for anyone with an interest in British art and RAMM deserve praise for their efforts in bringing it about. Professor Sam Smiles of the University of Plymouth and Penelope Sexton (formerly of RAMM and now at Compton Verney) seem to be particularly deserving of appreciation.

Not to neglect two of the themes of this blog (SW England and SW France), there is an opportunity for those unlikely to travel as far west as Plymouth to admire Stanhope Forbes’ dramatic en plein air 'A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach':

and to compare two Scottish Colourist views of Royan at the mouth of the Gironde estuary:

Into the Light continues until 10 June. The exhibition catalogue by Sam Smiles is excellent value at £14.95, particularly by comparison with the current equivalent on offer at the Courtauld. Better still for Exonians, RAMM have it on sale at £12.50!

Compton Verney is also hosting Gainsborough’s Landscapes: Themes and Variations, which was the subject of a post here when first shown at the Holburne.

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