Charles I: King and Collector

It is strange to reflect that King Charles I was executed just 15 minutes walk from Burlington House where a monumental show of works collected by the monarch has just opened. The scaffold was erected in front of the Banqueting House of the Palace of Whitehall, the ceilings of which were adorned with murals commissioned by the king. What a cruel stroke of fate. But it’s not out of sensationalism that I mention this – only because this exhibition is a result of that gory deed.

Charles I (1600-49 ) assembled a great body of paintings and sculptures in his short reign. His love of art was fuelled by a visit to Madrid in 1623 when he first saw the Habsburg’s art collection. Returning to England with gifts of works by Titian and Veronese, he became a zealous collector and patron. Courtiers like the Earl of Arundel and Endymion Porter – both of whose portraits are here – were ‘ruthless’ collectors and agents for the king. When the Italian house of Gonzaga fell into financial trouble, Charles approached the Duke of Mantua to explore the possibility of a sale and thus acquired the great Triumph of Caesar cycle of tempera paintings by Andrea Mantegna which fill an entire room of the Royal Academy.

Charles collected coveted masterpieces from the 15th to the 17th century, including works by Van Dyck – who became his court painter – Rubens, Holbein and Titian. And the king paid handsomely for them: £800 for a work by Correggio Venus with Mars and Cupid the equivalent of £130,000 today, a small fortune.

The question of what to do with the works when Charles was executed – burn or sell them ? – was soon resolved by the mercenary instincts of the Roundheads. The collection – not fit for the puritan ethos but valuable all the same – was sold.

Although many were retrieved by Charles II during the Restoration, others are dispersed across Europe. Charles I: King and Collector reunites 140 important works for the first time and gives an insight into the connoisseurship within the king’s circle.

Anthony van Dyck’s monumental portraits of the king form the core of the exhibition, sponsored by BYN Mellon, with three magnificent equestrian portraits, including Le Roi à la Chasse from the Louvre.

POSS CUT: Further highlights are the celebrated Mortlake tapestries of Raphael’s Acts of the Apostles, c.1631-40 (Mobilier National, Paris), arguably the most spectacular set of tapestries ever produced in England, as well as the precious works formerly kept in the Cabinet at Whitehall Palace, including paintings, statuettes, miniatures and drawings.

Until 15th April at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London, UK

Pic A

Anthony van Dyck

Charles I in the Hunting Field, c. 1636

Oil on canvas

Musée du Louvre

Pic B

Titian The Supper at Emmaus, c. 1534

Oil on canvas

Musée du Louvre

Pic C The Crouching Venus 2nd century Roman

Marble

Royal Collection Trust

Pic D

Andrea Mantegna

The Triumph of Caesar: The Vase Bearers, c. 1485–1506

Tempera on canvas

Royal Collection Trust

Keith Haring – The Alphabet

The work of Keith Haring is instantly recognisable. This is in part due to the fact that – a bit like William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement – Haring wanted his art to be accessible to the masses not just the elite and to this end he opened Pop Shop which churned out everything from T- shirts to fridge magnets. “I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price,” said Haring, adding the shop was merely extension of what he was doing as a street artist in the Sixties, breaking down the barriers between high and low art.

Oddly the current exhibition at the Albertina marks a birthday that never happened; Haring would have been 60 this year had AIDs not claimed his life in 1988 when he was just 32.

Like Jean-Michel Basquiat ( now the most expensive American artist of all times) Haring graduated from the school of New York subway graffiti but there the comparison between the two artists pretty much ends.

Born into a religious family, Haring’s father was an amateur cartoonist and the style fascinated Haring. He never quite grew out of it. Experimenting with drugs, going on road trips and reading William Burroughs all played a part in the formation of his stylistic language, which is explored in the current exhibition.

Haring – whose career was hugely boosted by his friendship with Andy Warhol – saw the act of painting, the “performance” as just as important as the end result. We have only to think of Jackson Pollock – aka Jack the Dripper – to see the zeitgeist of the era at work in Haring’s mind.

In his late twenties Haring created many murals with commissions coming from all over the world; Germany, Australia, Brazil, France and Austria. He was diagnosed with AIDs in 1988 and is also remembered, alongside his cartoon characters, for the huge amount of time and money that he devoted to charities hospitals, day care centers, and orphanages helping victims of AIDs.

Until 24th June at the Albertina, Vienna, Austria

Pic E

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

Sumi ink, spray paint, and acrylic on poster board

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic F

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

Enamel colour on steel

The KeithHaring Foundation

Pic G

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

Vinyl paint on vinyl tarp

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic H

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

DayGlo acrylic on muslin

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic J

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

The Keith Haring Foundation

French Impressionism and the triumph of colour

More than 65 Impressionist masterpieces have made the journey to the southern hemisphere to bring Australians a rare sight of some of the most popular artists who have ever lived.

The approach has been to explore the use of colour as the guiding force behind the evolution of the 19th century’s most influential art movement.

Today, we see the world newly through eyes long used to the Impressionists. It is hard to credit the extent to which the colours they used reshaped the world of 19th century painting. Look at the dark saturated tones of Manet’s Spanish-influenced paintings, the vivid hues of the French countryside as painted by Cézanne, Monet and Pissarro, the bright rosy pigments used by Renoir for his females. What a shock these radical palettes must have been to a public attuned and to the heavy brown academic works of preceding eras. One example shown here – Claude Monet’s Magpie, painted in the freezing outdoors show scene in a total break with convention was rejected by official Salon precisely for its novel palette of pale colours.

Director Nick Mitzevich says: “With so few Impressionist works held in Australian collections, the exhibition presents a rare opportunity to see the movement’s radical evolution of colour. “

POSS CUT THIS PAR: In an unprecedented move, the Art Gallery of South Australia will be staging the exhibition in one of Australia’s few 19th century gallery spaces, the Elder Wing, tht recalls the light-filled interior of the former metro station that now houses the Musée d’Orsay on Paris’ Left Bank.

Until 29th July the Australia Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Pic K

Claude Monet

Water lily pond, pink harmony, 1900

Oil on canvas

Musée d’Orsay

Pic L

Claude Monet

The magpie

1868-1869

Oil on canvas,

Musée d’Orsay

Pic M

Auguste Renoir

Gabrielle with a rose 1911

Oil on canvas

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Pic N

Auguste Renoir

Claude Monet, 1875,

Oil on canvas,

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style

The V&A has been described as a “national attic of artefacts from Raphael cartoons to Chinese ice-chests” which I suppose gives it liberty to flirt with all sorts of shows that are on the fringe of its original purpose. The Pink Floyd exhibition and a History of Underwear are two recent examples. Now with former education minister MP Tristan Hunt (who has no curatorial background) at the helm, the V&A is again sailing into new waters.

An exhibition on ocean liners might appear better suited to the National Maritime Museum but the focus on artefacts from luxurious stateroom carpets to William de Morgan tileworks brings it closer to the V&A’s home ground of arts and crafts. There is a host of decorative objects: Art Deco panels and chairs, posters, dresses, screens and so forth. Relics from both Titanic and Lusitania are on show – but for obvious reasons not a particular focus of an exhibition sponsored by Viking Cruises.

A beautiful painting by Stanley Spencer from his series Shipbuilding on the Clyde is one of the highlights in this jumble of artefacts. I cannot help but think that the rooms allocated provide rather a mean space given the great scale of these ships. But there’s always much to enjoy at the quirky V&A and most galleries are free – despite the fact that Hunt wanted to bring in a £5 entry charge in 2011.

Until 17th June at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

Pic P

Titanic in dry dock

c. 1911 Getty Images

Pic Q Painted earthenware tile panel for the saloon on Sutlej William De Morgan United Kingdom c. 1882

Victoria and Albert Museum London

Pic R Normandie in New York 1935-39

Collection French Lines

Pic S Marlene Dietrich onboard the Queen Elizabeth

December 1950

Getty Images

The Land We Live in; The Left we left Behind.

FIVE years ago, Europe’s most important gallerist Iwan Wirth and his wife Manuela Hauser stunned the art work by opening a new gallery not in Paris, New York or Mayfair but in a remote Somerset town. Having bought a collection of 17th century Grade II listed farm buildings, Hauser & Wirth set about creating a new arts hub just outside Bruton, with galleries, coffee shop and landscaped garden. It proved a phenomenal success. Visitor numbers broke all expectations, with thousands of art lovers tearing down the M3 in their 4x4s looking like living advertisements from the pages of Country Life. In general, the galleries feature works by works by the host of artists Hauser & Wirth represent – Paul McCarthy and Louise Bourgeois among them – but the current exhibition is completely different. It is about rural life,or more exactly our perverse relationships with nature. They say never work with animals, in art this is just as true. The goats rebelled at their quarters on day one. The inanimate objects exude menace – pitchforks, giant pincers for weeding, jars of pickled eggs. Film clips show the realities of factory intensive farming. It might put you off your supper. I daresay that is one object of the show. All is not well on the land we live in.

Until May 17th at Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Somerset, UK

Pic T Marcus Coates,

Apple Service Provider, 2017

Photo: Andy Gott

© Marcus Coates

Pic U Marcus Coates,

Turtle Mountain, 2012, S

till from digital video,

© Marcus Coates

Pic V Jacob Van Hulsdonck

A Still Life of a laid Table, with Plates of Meat and Fish and a Basket of Fruit and Vegetables, c. 1615

On panel

Courtesy of Johnny Van Haeften

London

Man Ray

While his photography is always the subject of every overview of Dadaism and Surrealism, Man Ray thought of himself primarily as a painter. “I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive. I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence,” he once said.

Ray also drew, designed, made films and objects, wrote and invested his talents enthusiastically in typography, book and magazine design while pursuing a career as experimental fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. All this spanning a long life – Ray died aged 86 – provides enviable scope for Kunstforum’s new exhibition devoted to “the universal Man Ray”.

A friend to “everyone who was anyone”, we also see in Man Ray a prototype of the artistic networker, a role which today is indissoluble from the successful artist. This show brings together 150 works of all media that present a complete view of an enigmatic and complex artist and personality who, like Marcel Duchamp his friend, paved the way for contemporary and modern art by laying the groundwork for how and what we see as “art” today.

Until 24th June at Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna Austria

Pic W Man Ray

Noire et Blanche, 1926

Silver gelatin print Courtesy Galerie 1900-2000, Paris

© MAN RAY TRUST

Pic X Man Ray

Violon d’Ingres, 1924

Courtesy Galerie Johannes Faber

© MAN RAY TRUST

Pic Z

Man Ray

The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows,

1916

Oil on canvas

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

© MAN RAY TRUST

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CAPTIONS – COPY

Pic A

Anthony van Dyck

Charles I in the Hunting Field, c. 1636

Oil on canvas

Musée du Louvre

Pic B

Titian The Supper at Emmaus, c. 1534

Oil on canvas

Musée du Louvre

Pic C The Crouching Venus 2nd century Roman

Marble

Royal Collection Trust

Pic D

Andrea Mantegna

The Triumph of Caesar: The Vase Bearers, c. 1485–1506

Tempera on canvas

Royal Collection Trust

Pic E

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

Sumi ink, spray paint, and acrylic on poster board

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic F

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

Enamel colour on steel

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic G

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

Vinyl paint on vinyl tarp

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic H

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

DayGlo acrylic on muslin

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic J

Keith Haring

Untitled 1980

The Keith Haring Foundation

Pic K

Claude Monet

Water lily pond, pink harmony, 1900

Oil on canvas

Musée d’Orsay

Pic L

Claude Monet

The magpie

1868-1869

Oil on canvas,

Musée d’Orsay

Pic M

Auguste Renoir

Gabrielle with a rose 1911

Oil on canvas

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Pic N

Auguste Renoir

Claude Monet, 1875,

Oil on canvas,

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Pic P

Titanic in dry dock

c. 1911 Getty Images

Pic Q Painted earthenware tile panel for the saloon on Sutlej William De Morgan United Kingdom c. 1882

Victoria and Albert Museum London

Pic R Normandie in New York 1935-39

Collection French Lines

Pic S Marlene Dietrich onboard the Queen Elizabeth

December 1950

Getty Images

Pic T Marcus Coates,

Apple Service Provider, 2017

Photo: Andy Gott

© Marcus Coates

Pic U Marcus Coates,

Turtle Mountain, 2012, S

till from digital video,

© Marcus Coates

Pic V Jacob Van Hulsdonck

A Still Life of a laid Table, with Plates of Meat and Fish and a Basket of Fruit and Vegetables, c. 1615

On panel

Courtesy of Johnny Van Haeften

London

Pic W Man Ray

Noire et Blanche, 1926

Silver gelatin print Courtesy Galerie 1900-2000, Paris

© MAN RAY TRUST

Pic X Man Ray

Violon d’Ingres, 1924

Courtesy Galerie Johannes Faber

© MAN RAY TRUST

Pic Z

Man Ray

The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows,

1916

Oil on canvas

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

© MAN RAY TRUST