The Easel

23rd October 2018

Vuillard and Madame Vuillard review – all about his mother

Vuillard’s early paintings feature his family members in the tight spaces of their apartment, amidst his mother’s dressmaking business. She was central to his life and his art – he painted her over 500 times. These images show her as very “private”. So, was she really his focus or just one part of a grander, and radical, project – a portrayal of female domesticity?

16th October 2018

Oceania, Royal Academy, review: an astonishing blast of a show

Oceania, according to a London show, is a single civilization connected by water. Clear aesthetic similarities between artworks of different island groups proves the point. But there are attendant issues – the impact of Europeans, the unacknowledged debt that our culture owes this art. As Faulkner observed, the past is never dead, it’s not even past.

Weaving the Twentieth Century

Albers succeeded despite, not because of, Bauhaus’s famous teachers. Heartwarming though her personal story is, the bigger story is about what constitutes fine art. She showed that textiles belong among the fine arts and linked weaving with architecture and design. Ample justification for the claim that she was “a weaver who changed art”. More images are here.

In Urgent Color: Emil Nolde’s Expressionism

In a new location this show gets a review focused more on Nolde the great colourist rather than Nolde the anti-Semite. He briefly aligned with several avante garde art movements but was not really the type to belong to a club. His was a singular vision – “in love with the “expressiveness” of paint itself”. He used it to convey beauty as well as danger, making his works “raw and unforgettable”.