Exhibition: The island of the treasure. British art of Holbein to Hockney
The island of the treasure. British art of Holbein to Hockney, in the Foundation Juan March
Once again the Foundation Juan March offers us a big exhibition. In this occasion the title, the name, we can surprise: The island of the treasure. But although in her we are going to meet many literary references it is not a question of an exhibition on stories. The subtitle, the surname, of the exhibition reveals its content to us: British art of Holbein to Hockney.
Those who come to see the exhibition will be in an authentic island (the Foundation Juan March is placed out of the big cultural mile that supposes the environment of the Prado Museum with the Thyssen, Queen Sophia, Caixa Forum and the Foundation Mapfre) and will enjoy authentic treasures in its 180 pieces (paintings, sculptures, works on role, books magazines, photos and some collage) that shape the sample. It is the only occasion since many of these pieces come from museums and collections deprived of different origin (the USA, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and, especially, Briton).
Its rooms lodge a compendium of the British art between the XVIth and XXth centuries. Thomas Wyatt includes from the Sir's profile portrait the young man, a small profile portrait in oil on wood of scarcely thirty two cm., of Hans Holbein (1497/8 - 1543) up to the eight meters big mural Great Britain seen from the North, 1981, mixed skill, of Tony Cragg. Between these both we can contemplate works of Henry Moore, Richard Hamilton, Francis Bacon and David Hockney.
In its presentation commissioner Richard Humphreys meets with the arrogance of an English pirate to explain briefly the art history of its country. A nation that was helped up on the destruction of its catholic past; arrival with the queen Victoria to the arrogant imperialism; depressed in the decline of the Second World war and catapulted in a postindustrial renaissance from the Beatles and pop of the culture of the masses and the society of the spectacle.
The literary reference of the title of the novel of the British writer Robert Louis Stevenson does not stop being a wink species. The island has a treasure and this treasure is average secretly, it is known that it exists and across a plane, a reference begins its search. Perhaps the organizers, the commissioners, claim that each of us finds its treasure. The idea that sublies in this exhibition is that the more we know of the British art (where it is, what place occupies …) the major knowledge and, therefore the major value will have.
In my particular search of the British treasure I discovered some magnificent piece and others who have acquired a new value (as it is the case of the works that can be framed in pop art British). All this wealth of treasures, which plans a visual trip for more than five centuries of art history Briton, is organized in seven sections where we select nearly one score of works:
Destruction and Reform (1520-1620). Examples of the religious sculpture damaged by the puritanical iconoclasts during the Reform that reveal the deep rupture with the medieval past that took place in England from the decade of 1530.
Sir Thomas Wyatt emphasized the wonderful profile portrait the young man (h 1540 – 42) with finished polished, almost how of enamel (one of the first ones painted the portrait Englishmen realized all'antica) that Hans Holbein executed or the portrait, full-length, authentic filigree, of Catherine Carey, countess of Nottingham (1597) one of the best portraits of the Elizabethan epoch. The suit is a real filigree with embroideries of golden threads and silver, set with innumerable insects, flowers and sheets as well as emblematic images of obelisks and snakes. It is a work of Robert Peake.
Along with them we can meditate the big miniaturists Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver, as well as medieval manuscripts, The Book of the martyrs of John Foxe, the Bible of 1611 of King Jacobo I of England, popular pictures and books of emblems.
The revolution and the Baroque (1620-1720). Paragraph that presents us to the court culture of the monarchy of the Estuardo across a sequence of portraits painted by Anthony van Dyck, Peter Lely, William Dobson and Godfrey Kneller. After there emphasizes the last one with a portrait of the "long-haired" soldier (provided with armor and long peruke) Arnold Joost van Keppel, the first count of Albemarle (h 1700).
Society and satire (1720-1800). Here there are juxtaposed the portraits of artists' society of the big British teachers of the XVIIIth century (perhaps the most well-known) as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Thomas Lawrence with the social satire of James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson.
He emphasizes on the rest a good scenery of Antonio Canaletto, The gardens Vauxhall: Grand Walk (h 1751). Canaletto was a Venetian painter but during almost a decade it worked in London, hence its presence here with this scenery.
Sceneries of the mind (1760-1850) it penetrates into several senses of the scenery: the paintings of Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner demonstrates the emergence of the landscape painting and its development up to its summit at the end of the XVIIIth century.
In this one Josué stands out paragraph for its size, coloring and strange ambience the picture ordering to the Sun to stop on Gabaón (1848) of John Martin. Based on a passage of the Ancient Testament. Free, original stroke and perhaps like answer to controversial scenery late of W. Turner. With certain teatralidad air. A sculpture of Thomas Bank stands out also, The fall of the Titanium, 1786. A work that is a boasting of balance and originality of the hero who falls down between the rocks.
Realism and reaction (1850-1900). A section that presents to us works of John Frederick Lewis and David Roberts, and also those of the prerrafaelitas like John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, that they emphasize the variety and the force of the British art in the years 1840-1860.
In this paragraph it calls me powerfully two works. On the one hand the delicacy of a work prerrafaelita since it is a Detail of Proserpine (1878) of Dante Gabriel Rossetti; and on the other hand a work that announces the impressionism as it is a Nocturne: blue and silver light of Cremorne (1872) of J. A. M. Whistler. It is a sight of London from the Battersea bridge on the Thames. The artist was creating an effect diluting its paintings that sauce was naming.
Modernity and tradition (1900-1940). The end of the XIXth century was a witness of the arrival of the impressionistic art and a post-impressionist to Great Britain. The generation of figurative modernist artists who jumped to the forum at the beginning of the XXth century is represented in this section by Walter Richard Sickert, Henry Lamb, Gwen John and Spencer Gore, and the most radical art, which often rubs the abstract thing, of Wyndham Lewis, Duncan Grant and David Bomberg.
We are approaching in the end but how antechamber we can contemplate two works. One of them belongs to an acquaintance John Singer Sargent and the picture of big format, of strong impressionistic inspiration, Ena and Betty, daughters of mister Asher and missis Wertheimer (1901). They are two sisters who turn out to be standing. The right hand of one of them, under the breast of other one and these garments sugerentes they provide to the work a bold and sensual touch. And other one belongs to Henry Lamb, a painter for me not known, with its melancholic portrait, Lytton Struchey (1914). A languid portrait, with a long, red-haired beard and its longest legs with sneakers, without forgetting the typical complements of the umbrella and the bombín. A delight.
Without desmerecer, for anything, there are the exposed works of Stanley Spencer (A familiar group, 1937) and that of Meredith Frampton (Sir Ernest Gowers in the RCDCR of London, 1943).
A happy world (1945-1980), title ironically huxleyano, describes the big expansion of the British art after the Second World war. The works of Lucian Freud, R. B. Kitaj and Frank Auerbach represent the famous artists of the called School of London. The sculptural works of Barbara Hepworth, Reg Butler, Eduardo Paolozzi and Anthony Caro reveal a new revitalization of the British, recognized sculpture internationally.
For personal circumstances, this one the best paragraph. I am realizing a study on pop art and to see here a series of works filled with enthusiasm me. Two big teachers, alive ones, of this style of the XXth century have here two works. One of them is David Hockney, Nick Wilder (1966) Painted the portrait. The portrait is of one of its best friends an owner of an art gallery. It painted the portrait of it in the swimming pool of the block of its housing in Hollywood. Realized in acrylic, one of the skills preferred by the artist for its rapid drying, with aspect of cómic or of announcement. And another big artist is Peter Blake who realized one of the icons most known about pop art as it is the covering of the album of The Beatles, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
But also the magnificent ones are present and conocidísimas works of Lucien Freud (naked Young woman sleeping, 1967) or of Francis Bacon (Two studies for a self-portrait, 1972).
I had to return on my steps and note down this work because it was not stopping paying my attention. Perhaps for its somewhat infantile aspect, for its size or I do not know porqué reason; I refer to the work of Laurence Stephen Lowry, industrial Scenery, 1950. A work with aspect naif (term that the artist did not like anything) of a scenery of the city of Manchester of half of the XXth century.
Since there has being habitual in the Foundation Juan March, The island of the treasure. British art of Holbein in Hockney Spanish and Englishwoman is accompanied by a magnificent catalog profusely illustrated, in two editions, with a finished introduction in the art, the history and the culture of Great Britain of last five centuries. Richard Humphreys, commissioner of the exhibition, and the teachers Tim Blanning and Kevin Jackson contribute its particular vision. The work is completed with a selection of texts of artists, essayists, historians and some writers of unpublished them in Spanish.
In parallel with the exhibition, the Foundation Juan March has organized a series of Concerts and Conferences that take for title Five Century of British Music. And a series of Conferences: Empire and Art. An introduction to the British Painting and to the History of its Empire. Activities high quality all of them that one has come developing during October (moment in which this small critique is done) and which they constitute an excellent accompaniment to approach a somewhat unknown art of our friends and neighbors of the north.
Filed file: Exhibitions
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