Thursday, February 3, 2011


Is it a radiator?   Hardly, in this heat.   A black picket fence?  An aboriginal painting?   Closest is the last of these - this is a fountain outside Adelaide Art Gallery - that is, the Art Gallery of South Australia, which not only has some wonderful contemporary aboriginal art inside it, but a small but stellar collection of Victorian paintings - a real indication of taste Down Under in the late C19th.  These include one of my favorite sentimental social realist pictures, Thomas Kennington's 1891 The Pinch of Poverty (I'd never previously noticed that there was a uniformed policeman in the background, standing under a shop awning); a ridiculously melodramatic Forgiven, by George Harcourt (peasant girl returns, on knees, to her peasant lover - does the presence of a sheep and lamb in the background suggest that she went off somewhere to have a baby, or ....?); John Charles Dollman's The Immigrants' Ship 1884 - just what it sounds like - Waterhouse's Circe Invidiosa - very sinister, like a Marie Corelli illustration - and a very striking, melodramatic history painting, Herbert Schmalz's Zeobia's Last Look at Palmyra (1888).   Plus there was a 1929 huge, almost expressionist Walter Sickert of The Raising of Lazarus - originally painted on wallpaper - a Bloomsbury table, and a couple of stunning Vanessa Bells, which count as next week's teaching preparation.

Adelaide's (other?) main Tourist Attraction is the enormous covered central market - which, if less smelly, apart from some excellent local cheeses - is very reminiscent of markets in Malaysia or Indonesia - and it has sculptures of a different and more organic kind ...

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