Painters’ Paintings 

Running until 04 September 2016
at the The National Gallery, London.

One of the most fascinating art exhibitions this summer is undoubtedly, Painters Paintings because it explores the formerly private collections of Lucian Freud, Henri Matisse and Anthony van Dyck. These are painters, who procured paintings of fellow painters, to keep privately for a myriad of reasons, such as to demonstrate their status quo as artists, or to feel inspired by.

The exhibition features more than eighty paintings, which by
themselves have a history of older than 500 years. The most intriguing
story behind this exhibition has been that a portrait by Paul Cézanne,
titled “Three Bathers”, was in possession of Matisse: I find it
intriguing because Cézanne, who was a big fan of Renaissance painters, like
Michelangelo, and faced discomfort at the thought of painting a female model,
chose to paint three bathers – a redhead, a blonde and a dark-haired woman, in
a scene of quivering trees.

Henri could ill afford the painting by Cézanne he purchased in
Paris in 1889 but it was still a big inspiration for thirty-seven long years to
the French artist. The painting has been able to sustain Henri in a
principled-angle during some of his hardest times, and it has also invoked his
conviction and his determination. In fact, this is a regular occurrence amongst
painters – they liked to learn from the paintings they own, they liked to also
teach others from their personal collection of artworks, and savagely attempt to match
their own works with celebrated works before them.

Competition in the artistic
world is always intense, so this sneaky piece of news that painters owned their
rivals’ work to stave off struggles, is very interesting to learn of,
particularly for Matisse, whose biggest rival was probably Pablo Picasso.
Picasso and Matisse would often trade their paintings to see how well
they are faring against their own personal competition, with each other. Meanwhile, as the
exhibition demonstrates, van Dyck, chose to include in his personal collection,
Titian, while the English painter, Joshua Reynolds, had chosen Thomas
Gainsborough and Rembrandt.

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Drawing On Childhood

The Foundling Museum. Running until 01 May 2016.

Some infamous orphans include Peter Pan, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, James and the Giant Peach, Superman, Jane Eyre and The Boy Who Lived and they are being celebrated at the Foundling Museum for a special exhibition. They inhabit the Bloomsbury building, located where the Thomas Coram Foundling Hospital, the country’s first children’s charity and public art gallery, used to originally exist; during the initial days, Gin Lane printmaker William Hogarth and George Frederic Handel tackled art and entertainment at the venue, respectively.

The exhibitions in Drawing On Childhood are rare in their nature even though the illustrations are all courtesy of children’s storybooks. Woodcuts and watercolours demonstrate horror-filled stories too engrossing to put down – scary and dark, these tales talk about kids who were made into orphans, and then eventually adopted, fostered or found. The exhibition wants to talk about the social relevance of looked-after children: Rapunzel’s parents abandoned their child upon birth, and James (Totter) became an orphan when he was only a young boy. Famed illustrators and artists displaying their artworks is inclusive of Quentin Blake, George Cruikshank, David Hockney and Arthur Rackham.

Alice In Wonderland

British Library. Running until 17 April 2016.

One of the most important children’s literature stories is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it is now getting an exhibition-treatment at the British Library, for its 150th anniversary. Imagine a fat caterpillar, smoking a hookah, and a white rabbit wearing spectacles and a waistcoat, who cannot be late at the Library, along with numerous books and especially curated video games, and a retelling of some of the most pivotal episodes of the story. An interesting side to the whole exhibition is a sculpture that is Alice from the bottom-up, with her legs up in the air as she is about scramble through a rabbit-hole.

Alice in Wonderland might have been adapted into a Disney film, and even given the glorious Tim Burton effect but there are still dark arcs to it. Written by a clergyman during the Victorian era, it contains mathematics in the plotline and is appealing because it contains surrealist themes – it evokes the subconscious to narrate a tale of illogical paintings of ideas that get trapped in one’s own mind. Lewis first conceived the story when one afternoon he told it to a young maiden by the name of Alice Liddell, and her sisters. That was an abbreviated edition of the story, which Lewis later updated and included illustrations from John Tenniel to express the story more creatively.

It has become such a popular piece of work Alice’s adventures have been translated into numerous editions already but the storyline always rings close to home. The combined efforts of Carroll and Tenniel are explored in greater depth, for the exhibition, including a glimpse of the original script, illustrators/artists who later contributed to the original story, from Salvadore Dali to Ralph Steadman.

Bloom at the Horniman Museums and Gardens

Running until 06 December 2015

Plants and art meet at the latest exhibition at the Horniman. This is when you get the chance to take a look at blooming flowers, with a microscopic vision. Plants and plant silhouettes in a detailed manner have been explored through images from the gardens of Horniman and through the opening of historic archives – there is both dried plants and living, green plants there. These photographic imagery was painted on gesso panels and each of the painting piece is surrounded by objects similar to the artefacts that have inspired the exhibition. How magnificent!

Twentieth Century Italian Art Takes Your Breath Away

Italian paintings from the 20th Century celebrating the revolution in art is being exhibited at a new art show, titled “Painting in Italy 1910s-1950s: Futurism, Abstraction, Concrete Art” in New York. The Sperone Westwater exhibition fronts more than 100 abstract works from artists working before and after the Second World War; some of the works have actually been done up under a repressive regime – how impressive!

Running until 23 January, Painting in Italy 1910s-1950s: Futurism, Abstraction, Concrete Art

Mapping Colourful Designs From The Past

An archaeology/art exhibition has opened it’s doors to the public and it is made from collected tokens of architectural designs. There is an almost alchemy-like presence at the exhibition in Santa Barbara because there is that side to it about raising the dead from the ground, about the reworking of materials that are no longer used and those that have been abandoned, and preserving it all with ideas of conservation. Spooky and entertaining!

Brazil Modern in NYC

A new show in New York City, titled Brazil Modern is a careful selection of furniture, textiles and archives dating from 1940s. Walls have been painted different editions of blue, and all of that speaks of sky and water in Brazil and the country’s shores. Brazil is a country ruled through military dictatorship so most of the objects could not travel outside of Brazil and the collection consists of plenty of mid-century artifacts that haven’t really been discovered outside of the country but the exhibition is still beautiful.