The Easel

22nd January 2019

Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today

Black women appear frequently in Impressionist art, reflecting a Paris that was becoming multi-racial. What has escaped everyone’s notice is that these women were depicted matter-of-factly, without racial tropes. This shift, radical for the time, is highlighted in a landmark show that is “singular in illuminating fully [this change] while pulling its theme … thrillingly into the present.”

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Lovely, ‘Louder’ New Paintings

Yiadom-Boakye is an artist in the ascendant. Many expect greater things to come. Her paintings feature imagined, handsome black figures – “because I am not white”. Her work, says this writer, has an emotional clarity and her figures, shown in relaxed, still poses, are vaguely reminiscent of the Old Masters. Or, as one critic expressed it “They say little, explicitly, but you hear much.”

Clyfford Still’s daughter curated his latest exhibit, and she has a lot of opinions on how to remember him

Still thought his art was beyond heroic. But what did it mean? He rejected suggestions that landscapes were part of his intended narrative. An exhibition curated by Still’s daughter brings a fresh emphasis on key works – those “marked by warm golds and organic browns”.  The reviewer, though, returns to a familiar question: “What do those stories say? Well, she isn’t exactly sure.”