Modern/Old Master Museum Shows to See This Summer

Modern/Old Master Museum Shows to See This Summer

As we are getting closer to the end of the month of May, we are making a list of shows that have opened/opening recently and are on our radar to see! Here are 7 from across Europe.

Exhibitions to See this Weekend in London

Exhibitions to See this Weekend in London

There has been a frenzy of cultural activities in London this past few weeks with Fashion Week, BAFTA and Brit Awards making the city a buzzing hot spot for creative industries. But my eyes stay focused on art and after being away for several weeks, I am ready to catch up with the exhibitions in London.

Royal Academy Becomes a Movie Set

the-royal-academy-becomes-the-setting-for-summer-in-february-starring-from-left-dan-stevens-emily-browning-and-dominic-cooper-as-alfred-munnings.jpg Check out the recently released movie "Summer in February," giving an interesting insight to the life of British painter Sir Alfred Munnings PRA. Set in Cornwall in the early 20th century and based on a novel by Jonathan Smith, the film tells the true but unofficial story of Munnings' first wife, the love triangle formed with Munnings's rival Gilbert Evans and her eventual suicide. Interestingly, there is no trace of a first wife in the biographical pages of the website of the Munnings Museum in Dedham, nor in his three volumes of autobiography. Partly shot at the Royal Academy in London, the academy's website rightly suggests that if you enjoy the TV series Downton Abbey you will love this lushly photographed film!

The Royal Academy becomes the setting for Summer in February, starring, from left, Dan Stevens, Emily Browning, and Dominic Cooper as Alfred Munnings

Add Some Color to Your Summer with Tate Britain Shows

Tate Britain is showing three big artists this summer: Laurence Stephen Lowry, Gary Hume and Patrick Caulfield. Amongst this three, our favorite is the one of Caulfield! We felt that the Lowry show got a bit repetitive and Hume’s exhibition somehow fell short compared to the excitement we felt wondering through the Caulfield galleries.

Hume exhibition entrance

The Hume and Caulfield shows are in fact paired together by the museum, as two British artists of different generations both engaging with the medium of paint and who are amazing colorists. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Klimt and the great Old Master colorist Vermeer, Hume made his own name as one of the new generation of Young British Artists with his paintings of doors. For the exhibition entrance, he makes reference to these paintings and in fact made functioning doors for the first time!

Gary Hume, "Angela Merkel" from the series Anxiety and the Horse 2011 Private Collection

This is a nice show bringing together Hume’s well-known works alongside recent paintings seen in the UK for the first time, all making up about 24 works charting Hume’s career since he exhibited his hospital doors paintings at the infamous “Freeze” exhibition organized by Damien Hirst in 1988.  Among the works been shown for the first time in the UK is a portrait of Angela Merkel titled “Anxiety and the Horse” 2011 that Hume completed in his home in upstate New York.

Patrick Caulfield is from an older generation than Hume. He first came to prominence in the 1960s and continued painting until his death in 2005. Similar to Hume, Caulfield’s career took off after an important exhibition. Caulfield’s was in 1964, the first of The New Generation exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery, where David Hockney and Bridget Riley were also included.   He never painted figures, expect for his iconic 1963 portrait of Juan Gris, the Surrealist painter, which is included in the show.

Caulfield looked up to the previous generation, to artists like Fernand Leger, Edward Hopper, and Stuart Davis who used lot of color. Caulfield was interested in the way these artists used space and light to capture a place and time. Caulfield's skills as a colorist is evident as soon as one walks into the exhibition room: you get taken up by the bright lights, synthetic colors and shiny surfaces of the modern world. We see brilliant examples of Caulfield’s grand still lives and examinations of British culture. For example, he makes references to the 1970s custom of having continental breakfast or wallpaper in the living room with photographed European landscapes - or the late 90s when every bottle of lager had a wedge of lime. As the exhibition curator Clarrie Wallis says, “He is capturing the character of modern life.”

Caulfield was one of the most admired artists of his generation: figurative painters admired him for his sophisticated draftsmanship, abstract artists for his control and inventive use of color, minimalists for his austerity and conceptual artists for his intellectual rigor. If Tate Britain show is not enough dose of Caulfield for you, Alan Cristea has put on a show of the artist's silk screen prints and they are for sale too.

Old Masters Boom in Singapore

It seems like there is an Old Master paintings boom in Singapore! First it was the announcement that highlights from the world famous Princely Collection of Liechtenstein, normally housed in the Liechtenstein Palaces, are going on exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore, which opened on 26th of June. Singapore is already the fourth stop for the collections' Asia tour, which have included Tokyo, Kochi and Kyoto. Further exhibitions in Beijing’s National Museum and the China Art Museum in Shanghai are planned to starting in the autumn.

Dr Johann Kraftner during the press preview of the Liechtenstein exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Singapore

Although these loan exhibitions are to promote the LGT Bank (owned by the princely House of Liechtenstein) in Asia, it certainly serves a great cultural purpose. The show is curated by Dr. Johann Kraftner, the family's art advisor and director of its two museums in Vienna, and brings together by masterworks including Raphael, Rubens, Canaletto and Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Canaletto, "Venice: The Piazza San Marco, Looking West from the North End of the Piazzetta" Oil on canvas 65 x 95 cm Princely Collection of Liechtenstein, Vienna

The Canaletto on view was sold to the coll ection through the London-based Old Master dealer Derek Johns, who recently started a new venture in Singapore as well. Together with his Singapore-based partner Chng Hock Huat, and joining forces with Monaco-based dealer Marietta Vinci-Corsini (widow of the famous dealer Piero Corsini who passed away in 2001) Derek Johns has set up Emperor Fine Art in Singapore, giving the opportunity to see European Old Master paintings within the Asian region.

Chng Hock Huat and Derek Johns in front of "Holy Family" by Andrea del Sarto

Johns and Corsini selected a group of paintings from their gallery stock to send to Singapore and held their first official week of events which cleverly corresponded with the opening of the Liechtenstein exhibition on 26th of June.

Add all this information on to the fact that just a month ago, the Singaporean government announced that the Pinacothèque de Paris is to bring Old Masters and Modern art in a pop-up space from September during the renovations to its main building in Paris. Owned and run by the Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini, the Pinacothèque first opened in 2007, and since 2011 has been displaying a collection of masterpieces from Van Dyck, Monet and Modigliani to Picasso and Pollock; all works on loan from private or public collections.

Singaporeans are getting a series of events and exhibitions highlighting Old Masters! Exhibitions are a great way to educate and expose audiences to such works, which is even better news for the dealers as they hope that after viewing and admiring the Old Master treasures on display, the Asian audience will be more inclined to start collecting them too.