Saturday, May 13, 2017

art imitating art

To Dulwich Picture Gallery, primarily to see the Vanessa Bell exhibition - which certainly gave one the opportunity to see a lot of her work that's in private collections (including a huge and somehow gloomy canvas, with three female figures having a rather bad day, by the look of it, that's owned by Bryan Ferry).  It was very determinedly a thematically grouped show - portraits; design; figures of women; "at home;" landscapes - which meant that one had no real sense of her chronology.  If this might have been an attempt to avoid the Bloomsbury Myth in some way, it didn't work- not least because there were so many tasty Bloomsbury photos, including VB and Molly MacCarthy posing nude - very goddess-figured.  Certainly very glad to have seen it, though en masse it really screamed Matisse, albeit with a muddier palette.

Of course, no photos in the show.  But in the gallery itself there were - laid on, like sideshows - a couple of very proficient copyists, and outside, some truly excellent (commissioned) hoarding art - on the top, "inspired by" (although it's not totally easy to see how) Caracci's Last Communion of St Francis, and at the bottom, by Herman van Swanevelt's Arch of Constantine, Rome (both are inside ...).

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