The most important work by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard is her Self-Portrait with Two Pupils. Signed and dated 1785 and exhibited in the Salon of the same year, this lifesize, full-length portrait of a modern woman seated before her easel teaching younger women to paint by her example is a bold statement.
at Porters Civic House & Mayor’s Parlour, Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 2NE
“Picturing War across Town and Country: John Piper and Graham Sutherland”
We will explore these artists’ paintings from World War II when they set out to record the home front.
John Piper (1903–1992): Coventry Cathedral [1940; Manchester Art Gallery] c/o ArtUk – just click on link for a fascinating essay by Lynda Nead.
Graham Vivian Sutherland (1903–1980): Cornish Tin Mine, Emerging Miner [1943; Leeds Art Gallery; c/o ArtUk]
Mayor Kevin Robinson of Southend City has chosen the brilliant St Vincents Centre – a busy community hub in Southend which runs vital services and programmes to support vulnerable people in the local community – as his main charity this year.
For tickets please telephone The Mayor’s Charity on 03001021557
Popping into The Beecroft Gallery this morning, I discovered two paintings by the artist William Crosbie (1915-1999) that absolutely fascinated me, each in their own right and also in comparison and contrast to each other.
The first is “Mother and Child” :
Born in China to Scottish parents, the National Gallery of Scotland tells us, he studied in Glasgow in the early 1930s, then, in Paris later in the decade. One might suggest then that a number of influences from both places have combined in the creation of this fascinating and really quite mysterious work of art, which leads to a little “gallery” in the mind.
The layering and patterning of shapes through outline, colour and texture brings to mind Eileen Agar’s paintings, the ‘mother’ figure perhaps especially if we look at “Muse of Construction” [1939; c/o Christies], revealing the interaction of Cubism and Surrealism through the 1930s:
The Surrealist element certainly comes through in the unnamed figure floating above the child in Crosbie’s painting: is it an angel, or something more threatening and nightmarish, even the figure of death (note how the mother’s arm blocks it, holding it at bay)?
Both artists also share a powerful sense of colour. The Lyon & Turnbull Gallery notes that in 1939, William Crosbie returned to Glasgow where he was part of “‘a little local renaissance’ with figures including the Scottish Colourist John Duncan Fergusson”…
And the child, protected by the mother certainly, but with a distinct – if perhaps uncertain – individuality that recalls Joan Eardley’s portraits of children such as “Brother and Sister” :
Looking through William Crosbie’s paintings at National Galleries of Scotland and artuk.org it is clear that he was brilliantly experimental, and that colour was central to his vision as the second painting of his at The Beecroft, “Hampshire Harvest” [1991; Reiff Collection], also shows. In subject matter and style (and indeed scale, for it is tiny in comparison with “Mother and Child” canvas) this is quite a contrast, but the richness of the palette is breath-taking…
Oh, couldn’t one just walk over that little bridge into the golden field of corn – utterly gorgeous!
The Reiff Collection is on show at The Beecroft, Southend on Sea until 30th October:
Join us for this month’s Words & Pictures book club to discuss
Edmund de Waal’s “Letters to Camondo”
63 rue de Monceau, Paris.
Dear friend, As you may have guessed by now, I am not in your house by accident. I know your street rather well. Count Moise de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal’s forebears, the Ephrussi, first encountered in his bestselling memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of belle epoque high society. They were also targets of anti-semitism. Camondo created a spectacular house and filled it with the greatest private collection of French eighteenth-century art for his son to inherit. But when Nissim was killed in the First World War, it became a memorial and, on the Count’s death, was bequeathed to France. The Musee Nissim de Camondo has remained unchanged since 1936. Edmund de Waal explores the lavish rooms and detailed archives and uncovers new layers to the family story. In a haunting series of letters addressed to the Count, he tells us what happened next.
Do join us if you can!
Friday 28th October, 2pm (for an hour or so)
Pebbles cafe, (the old Havens), Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff
With many thanks to Barchester Healthcare, our monthly “Art & Coffee” discussion group at The Beaumont Southgate returns for both residents and the local community – hurrah!
In this first meeting we’ll be looking at Pierre-August Renoir’s gorgeous painting “Dance at the Moulin de Galette” [1876, Musee D’Orsay, Paris] and entering into the world of Impressionist Montmartre.
Do join us if you can!
Friday 21st October, 11.30am (for about an hour)
Southgate Beaumont, 15 Cannon Hill, Arnos Grove, London N14 7DJ