There were a couple of art items in yesterday’s Daily Torygraph. In the Obits section (my sister is worried because I look at the obituaries and thinks I need to ‘get a life’) there was a piece about the death of Australian artist, Jeffery Smart. His is not a name with which I am familiar but I did like his painting “The Cahill Expressway” from 1962 which, as the obituary says, was influenced by Hopper.
The snippets I want to share are firstly Smart’s opinion of Picasso: “He was captain of the ship and he wrecked the ship – over-talented, and his attitude to art was arrogant. He had, I think, a bad influence on painting in the 20th century,” and secondly his view about art galleries (he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Italy’s great galleries): “It does lift your standards. You can’t see them through books and reproductions; you must see the real works.”
The other article was a review of the new Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery. As a tight Yorkshireman, I particularly liked one quote: “These works [by Metsu and Thomas de Keyser] are very familiar from the permanent collection, as are the National’s two Vermeers. The Kenwood painting can be seen any day of the year, again without payment, while the Royal Collection painting is frequently lent to exhibitions and hardly a revelation… Seven pounds isn’t excessive in terms of current exhibition prices, but feels steep for a small number of paintings most of which can generally by seen free.”
This reminds me of the room at the Royal Academy Manet exhibition which I reviewed earlier in the year. It contained just one painting “Music in the Tuileries Gardens”. There was a huge crowd round it even though it normally lives a mile away in the National Gallery where it can be seen for free.
Today had a review of the new Lowry exhibition at the Tate. There was a gem of a line in it. “Tate’s retrospective [is] one of the exhibitions of the year, a show that anyone interested in British art should try to see – even if, like me, you hate every single moment you spend in it.” I can’t remember being recommended to see an exhibition by a critic who has hated it before.