British art

Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate

February 8, 2019

Exhibition titles are of the same order of marketing as those advertisements that claim by signing up for some course you can make millions or learn to speak another language in two weeks. Naturally if you don’t succeed it’s always your own fault. So when we come across a show titled Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite … More


Turner From the Tate

February 23, 2013

According to J.M.W. Turner, the secret of being a great artist was “damn’d hard work.” This is difficult to argue against, especially when said by a painter whose pictures came to define the Romantic era – that time when artists stopped being seen as tradesmen and aspired to the role of individual genius. Yet Turner … More


Shadow Dancer

October 27, 2012

With so much carnage in the Middle East and the rise of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, we tend to forget how vicious and bloody the conflict was in Northern Ireland barely a decade ago. Shadow Dancer looks back on this time, as if through a veil of tears. Director, James Marsh, has made … More


Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide: British Art Now

August 16, 2011

Ever since Sensation hit the headlines in 1997, contemporary British Art has been synonymous with scandal. When the show appeared at the Royal Academy in London, the catalyst was Marcus Harvey’s huge portrait of the murderess, Myra Hindley, made from hundreds of children’s handprints. In Brooklyn, two years later, the flashpoint was Chris Ofili’s The … More


Lucian Freud 1922 – 2011

July 31, 2011

With the passing of Lucian Freud, British art has lost not only one of its great painters, but a legendary conversationalist. Perhaps it was a skill acquired while staring at people for hours in the studio, deciding whether or not to put a microscopic dab of paint on the end of a nose. Freud’s anecdotes, … More


Leon Kossoff, Ben Quilty and James Powditch

October 30, 2010

Looking at recent reports on the Paris art fair, FIAC, it was morbidly interesting to learn about the most eye-catching works and the prices they fetched. For instance, Barry X Ball’s Sleeping Hermaphrodite – a black marble quotation of a famous Roman sculpture, went for US$ 623,000. A bronze sculpture by Paul McCarthy, with the … More


Man With a Blue Scarf

September 1, 2010

Man With a Blue Scarf On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud By Martin Gayford In 1980 James Lord published a slender book called A Giacometti Portrait. It detailed his experience of sitting for a portrait by Alberto Giacometti, whose biography he would write five years later. The book struck a chord with readers … More


Victorian Visions

June 13, 2010

In the early 1960s Lord Leighton’s masterpiece, Flaming June (1895) was put up for auction but failed to sell for its reserve price of US$140 – roughly US$840 in today’s money. In 1963, the London dealer, Jeremy Maas, managed to dispose of the picture for the equivalent of US$10,000, to a politician from Puerto Rico … More