(The story so far: With the Management having just come out of hospital following a ‘procedure’, our intrepid hero is on his tod visiting various exhibitions in London. Having lusted over various Grosvenor School linocuts, he has learned that there are more such prints at the Osborne Samuel Gallery only five minutes walk from the Royal Academy. Now read on!)
Usually on leaving the Royal Academy, we turn left and head back towards Piccadilly Circus, but on Thursday I turned right, went through Burlington Arcade, and up Bond Street to Bruton Street in Deepest Mayfair. Few of the shops in Burlington Arcade or on Bond Street had prices on the things in the window. I think they work on the principle that if you have to ask the price, then you can’t afford it.
I rarely go to private galleries like the Osborne Samuel one. I think it is something to do with ‘entitlement’. I have no problem with places like the National Gallery. I am a tax-paying citizen of the UK and therefore own Giovanni Battista Moroni’s La Dama in Rosso so I’m only checking out my own goods when I go to see it in the NG. Don’t you wish you could paint a dress like that?!
In the same way, I feel entitled to visit galleries where I have paid for admission. However, private galleries are there to sell art to people. I simply don’t have that sort of money. Yes, we have some Norman Ackroyd etchings on the wall, which the Management has bought over the last few years, and we have an invitation to the ‘Buyers’ Day’ at the RA Summer Exhibition where we’ll probably buy a couple of prints, but we could not think of spending the prices asked for most of the works in these places. Am I entitled to go in and just look? Yes, I know I am, but I feel uncomfortable doing so. (I did buy a copy of the Cyril Power complete catalogue as well as the exhibition catalogue.)
Anyway, I trolled along and had a look at The Cutting Edge of Modernity. I don’t need to discuss the prints too much as they are on the gallery’s website gallery. (The gallery has a website, and on the website is a gallery. OK?) However, one particular print interested me. This was a linocut called At Lavenham by Cyril Power which he produced in 1926, which, I believe, would have been before working with Claude Flight at the Grosvenor School. It gives a whole new meaning to ‘pre-School’!
On leaving the gallery, I went along to Berkeley Square, but there were no nightingales singing (too many people sitting having their lunch, probably) so I caught a tube down to Tate Britain for the Schwitters in Britain show.
I’ve already written about Schwitters but this was the first opportunity to see the exhibition. It was OK but, even with my current interest in collage, it wasn’t the Greatest Show on Earth. However, the information next to one of the works I found particularly interesting.
“Schwitters ascribed specific formal qualities to his found materials which he saw as equivalent to conventional pictorial elements. He wrote: ‘In Merz pictures, the box top, playing card and newspaper clipping become surfaces; string, brush stroke and pencil stroke become line; wire-netting becomes overpainting or pasted-on greaseproof paper becomes varnish.’ “
On leaving the Tate Britain, I head off to the Courtauld Gallery for the Becoming Picasso exhibition.
(To Be Continued!)