Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's on the blog?

What's on the blog? Have a look at this 'wordle' and it'll give you a pretty good idea of the sort of things we talk about from week to week. Clicking on the image below will take you through to a much larger version.

Wordle: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum blog content

© 2009 Jonathan Feinberg Terms of Use subscribe

Monday, July 26, 2010

Picture of the Week No.28 - Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was one of the most talented artist's working in London before the first world war and was part of the Vorticist circle that included Jacob Epstein, Percy Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound an was a founding member of the London Group of artists. Born in France, he eventually left for England in 1911 to with Sophie Brzeska, a Polish woman twenty years his senior whom he had met in a library and whose name he adopted, in order to become an artist. He never took any formal training but his work was of the highest quality.
Gaudier-Brzeska's sculpture was rough-hewn and distinct, originally taking inspiration from Rodin then from African carvings and other ethnic sculpture. His draughtsmanship was marked by his exquisite use of line and was informed by Chinese calligraphy that he had been exposed to by Ezra Pound. This week's picture is a good example of how much control over line he had, with a fine portrait of Mrs. Alfred Womack.

He joined the French Army and was killed in the trenches in June 1915. His achievement has been overshadowed by his colourful life, as featured in Ken Russell’s film Savage Messiah. KP

Mrs. Alfred Wolmark, 1912

Entry from the Watercolour Catalogue:pencil on paper, 34.5 ´ 24.4 cm
inscribed: Mrs Wolmark, Brzeska drawing 1912

Accession Number: P.178

The sitter was the wife of Alfred Wolmark (1877-1961), a painter, designer of pottery and stained glass who was a friend of the artist. He encouraged the young artist and often sat for him. Gaudier-Brzeska returned the complement.

This simplified, linear drawing is typical of Gaudier-Brzeska’s style. It dates from the same year as a painting of Mrs Wolmark exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1958.

PROVENANCE: Wolmark Collection; Lord’s Art Gallery, from whom purchased by Gallery, December 1957.
EXHIBITIONS: Portrait Paintings and Drawings, Rye, Rye Art Gallery, 1967; The English Tradition: an exhibition of watercolours from two private collections, Bedford, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, 1972, no.39.
REFERENCES: R. Cole, Gaudier-Brzeska: Artist and Myth, 1995, p.65.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Picture of the Week No.27 - Sickert

Picture of the week has had a few weeks off recently while several of the small team here at the Art Gallery and Museum have a well deserved week or two off, but now it's back and we're looking this week at an artist represented in the collection by 3 prints, a watercolour and 4 drawings: Walter Richard Sickert. Sickert is a big favourite of mine since I was first introduced to his work by my late art history lecturer John Rimmer, who sadly passed away a couple weeks ago.

The picture that first really grabbed me was the Tate's Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford with its glowing red and scumbled browns, and the music hall was a prominent theme for Sickert during the late 19th century. This week's picture is set in the same venue in Camden Town but features a diffenent act. Little Dot Hetherington at the Bedford Music Hall, c.1894 is a lithograph after a painting of the same name. The performer in her white dress, illuminated by the stage lights. points up to the gallery in reference to the title of the song she is singing -‘The Boy I Love Is Up In The Gallery, later made famous by another music hall artiste, Marie Lloyd.The seats at the bottom of the compostion and the heads of the audience place the viewer very much within the audience and makes the subject not just the performer on stage but also the whole event and experience of seeing these performances and of course the setting itself. There is also a version painted on a fan in the Fan Museum that can be viewed here. KP

Walter Richard SICKERT (1860-1942)Little Dot Hetherington at the Bedford Music Hall, c.1894

Entry from the Print Catalogue:Accession Number: P.559
lithograph, 28 × 26.2 cm (image)
inscribed: Sickert inv et lith in plate
To Max WS in ink
PROVENANCE: Max Beerbohm – see inscription; Christopher Mendez & Co, from whom purchased by Gallery, May 1967.
REFERENCES: R. Bromberg, Walter Sickert Prints, 2000, no.118, pp.100-1.
NOTES: Not editioned and few impressions printed.

The work shows Dot Hetherington singing ‘The Boy I Love Is Up In The Gallery at the Bedford Palace of Varieties, High Street, Camden Town, named after the Duke of Bedford, on whose estate the hall was built. The Bedford Music Hall was first opened in 1861 and re-built in 1899 following a fire. It was closed in 1959 and demolished in 1969. The lithograph was based on the oil painting of this subject in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (B.179.12.819). Sickert drew the design onto the lithographic stone and scratched out the highlights using a needle. This can be seen to best effect on the lower horizontal bar.

The artist gave this work to Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956), writer and caricaturist.

Monday, July 5, 2010

We've just discovered some fantastic pictures of Edward Bawden's house and studio taken shortly after he died in 1989. Follow this link: http://real-photographs.co.uk/?p=550

Edward Bawden donated over 3000 items to the Art Gallery & Museum and as part of our redevelopment plans we will have a dedicated Edward Bawden Gallery.