Art History Mornings at The Beecroft (27th July): The Art of Natalia Goncharova (Post-Impressionism in Moscow)

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery
Saturday 27th July, 10.30am-12.30pm
with Dr ML Banting

The Art of Natalia Goncharova
(Post-Impressionism in Moscow)

In reflection of the first UK retrospective exhibition of Russian artist Natalia Goncharova currently at Tate Modern, today we will explore her art in the social, political and artistic contexts of pre-Revolutionary Moscow.

What happened when Goncharova brought Post-Impressionism, in all its glorification of colour, texture and dynamism, to Russia?

And how did she unite this modern visual aesthetic with traditional folk arts, creating wholly new ways of seeing her native country?

Goncharova - Self-portrait

Image: Natalia Goncharova: Self-portrait with Yellow Lilies”
(1908; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; currently on exhibition at Tate Modern)

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.

Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)
For further information please contact Mark Banting by email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer

These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

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Art and Coffee Morning at The Beaumont (18th July 2019): “Flower Painting – The Pursuit of Colour”

Art & Coffee Mornings

at Southgate Beaumont

15, Cannon Hill, London N14 7DJ

 Join us for coffee and conversation as we explore paintings through the ages!

Thursday 18th July, 10.30-11.30am

Flower Painting: The Pursuit of Colour

Join us at The Beaumont, Southgate this morning as we explore the flower paintings of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists and how they might be viewed as experiments in an ever-increasing brilliance of colour, shape and textures.

Van Gogh - Cornflowers and Poppies

 Still Life: Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies, 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh

[private collection c/o bridgemanimages.com]

 The Art & Coffee Mornings are run by Dr ML Banting and open to anyone with an interest in art history and visual culture.

Free for residents. Non-residents are kindly asked for £2 on the door.

Coffee & biscuits provided.

For further information please email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or by twitter @TheCommonViewer

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft (29th June 2019): The Camden Town Group

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery
Saturday 29th June, 10.30am-12.30pm
with Dr ML Banting

The Camden Town Group

Named after the area in north London in which Walter Sickert lived and painted, the Camden Town Group was formed in the wake of the Post-Impressionist Exhibition. As we’ll explore today, the Camden Town artists painted mainly urban and suburban scenes, exploring the modern world, everyday life, class and gender and often experimenting with brilliant colour.

Mrs Mounter at the Breakfast Table 1916-7 by Harold Gilman 1876-1919

Image: Harold Gilman – Mrs Mounter at the Breakfast Table (1916; Tate)

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.
Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)
For further information please contact Mark Banting by email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer
These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft (May 2019): On or Around 1910, Post-Impressionism comes to Britain.

 

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery

Saturday 25th May 2019, 10.30am-12.30pm

with Dr ML Banting

 On or Around 1910:

Post-Impressionist Colour comes to Britain

Post-Impressionism 1910

Join us to discuss Roger Fry’s “Manet and the Post-Impressionists” exhibition, which caused such a furore in London, 1910.

The works of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and others riled the critics who saw it as marking the end of civilisation.

Today we’ll look at the impact of Post-Impressionism among the artists of Bloomsbury and Camden Town within a broader cultural and political spectrum, in particular the women’s suffrage movement’s use of symbolic colour.

 

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.
Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)
For further information please contact Mark Banting by email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer
These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

 

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft (April 2019): The Ballets Russes

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery
Saturday 27th April 2019, 10.30am-12.30pm
with Dr ML Banting
The Art of the Ballets Russes

Join us to discuss the story of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes which caused such a stir in Paris and London with its modernist choreography, radical music and exotic costumes. The stories and stage-settings brought together numerous talented artists from Russia and across Europe, inspiring yet more artists in their exploration of Post-Impressionist painting. Today we’ll look again at these unique performances, assess their cultural impact and trace their influence on the visual arts.

Allinson - Russian Ballet

Adrian Paul Allinson (1890–1959): Tamara Karsavina (1885–1978) as the Firebird in ‘L’Oiseau de Feu’ (ballet by Michel Fokine)  [1918, Victoria and Albert Museum]

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.
Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)
For further information please contact Mark Banting by email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer
These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft (30th March 2019): The Scottish Colourists

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery
Saturday 30th March 2019, 10.30am-12.30pm
with Dr ML Banting

The Scottish Colourists

In the wake of Van Gogh and Gauguin’s post-impressionism, artists across Europe were exploring the power of colour in the first years of the 20th century, many heading for Paris, the city of light and capital of art. Today we’ll explore the Parisian adventures and glorious early paintings of those young student-artists who would become known as   The Scottish Colourists.

Fergusson - Blue Hat

image: JD Fergusson’s “The Blue Hat” [1909; Edinburgh Council c/o artuk.org]

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.
Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)
For further information please contact Mark Banting by email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer
These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft (23 February 2019): Der Blaue Reiter

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery

Saturday 23rd February 2019, 10.30am-12.30pm

with Dr ML Banting

The Music of Colour: Kandinsky and Der Blaue Reiter

In the wake of Van Gogh and Gauguin’s post-impressionism, artists across Europe were exploring the power of colour in the first years of the 20th century. This month at The Beecroft we’ll look at the paintings made by Der Blaue Reiter -The Blue Rider – group of artists in Munich that included Wasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and Gabriele Munter.

  Kandinsky - Improv detail

 Kandinsky: Improvisation III [1909; Pompidou; c/o Bridgeman Art Library]

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.

Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)

For further information please contact Mark Banting by email  chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer

These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

Toulouse-Lautrec & The Englishmen at the Moulin Rouge

In 1892, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted “The Englishman at the Moulin Rouge”, now in The Metropolitan Museum, New York. The Englishman in question is William Tom Warrener (1861-1934) who had become friends with Lautrec in the early 1890s.

htl - enlishman moulin rouge 1892 met

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) The Englishman at the Moulin Rouge [1892, Metropolitan Museum, New York]

Patrick O’Connor (1) suggests there is a sly irony to the scene: the Englishman is mischievously characterised with a certain embarrassed reserve – note his reddening ear – as he enters into conversation with the two ladies of the Moulin Rouge (2). That the working title for the piece was “Flirt” (3) also suggests the perhaps risqué nature of their talk. Nevertheless, the painting would serve as the basis for a poster of the same name (Musee Toulouse-Lautrec), the man now reduced to a near shadow (to represent Englishmen in general, rather than portraying Warrener in particular). However, Warrener does then turn up again in another of Lautrec’s 1892 paintings: “Jane Avril Dancing”, now in the Musee d’Orsay (4) – he is at the back of the scene with an unidentified woman.

So, who was William Tom Warrener? And what was he doing in Paris in the early 1890s?

Well there is sadly rather little information on him (5), especially at this time in his life. Julia Frey writes that he was “a painter from an influential English family, who had moved to Paris in the mid-1880s to study at the Academie Julian. He moved to Montmartre in the 1890s where he met Henri [Toulouse-Lautrec]” (p.314). And, in fact, he showed work at the Paris Salon, not returning to his hometown of Lincoln until 1906 where, whilst taking up his role in the family (coal) business, he also set up the Lincolnshire Drawing Society and would, later, become President of the Lincolnshire Artists’ Society. A number of his paintings and sketchbooks (6) are now held by the Usher Gallery in Lincoln, examples of which can be seen on the artuk.org website revealing that whilst in France he worked at the artists’ colony Grez-sur-Loing and explored the bright sunlit colours of Impressionism.

However, there are also two paintings that come from his adventures in Montmartre with Toulouse-Lautrec: “Quadrille I” and “Quadrille II” (both dated circa 1890 and both in the Usher Gallery collection).

Warrener, William Tom, 1861-1934; Quadrille IWarrener, William Tom, 1861-1934; Quadrille II
Later in her biography of Toulouse-Lautrec, Julia Frey notes: “In the late 1880s and early 1890s, he befriended a number of younger English artists in Paris” (p.384). These included William Rothenstein who, in 1931, would write up his recollections of the time he spent in Paris as a young art student (7), recognising both the thrill and the folly of bohemian life as he moved from the Left Bank “all very well for poets and scholars” to Montmartre “essentially the artists’ quarter” – he was just seventeen years old.

“Puvis de Chavannes had a studio on the Place Pigalle, while Alfred Stevens lived close by, and in the Rue Victor Masse lived Degas. At Montmartre also were the Nouvelles Athenes and the Pere Lathuille, [cafes] where Manet, Zola, Pissarro and Monet, indeed, all the original Impressionists used to meet. The temptation, therefore, to cross the river and live on the heights was too strong to resist” (p.56).

It was at a restaurant in Place Pigalle that he used to meet with friends for lunch:

“The Rat Mort by night had a somewhat doubtful reputation, but during the day was frequented by painters and poets. As a matter of fact it was a notorious centre of lesbianism… [and] it was here that I first met Toulouse-Lautrec…” (p.59).

Then there was, of course, the Moulin Rouge:

“[A]n open air café-concert where one could watch people sitting and walking under coloured lamps and under the stars. Inside the great dancing hall, its walls covered with mirrors… was the dancing of the cancan. …In most places dancers performed on a stage; at the Moulin they mixed with the crowd… suddenly the band would strike up, and they formed a set in the middle of the floor, while a crowd gathered closely around them. It was a strange dance; a sort of quadrille, with [the men] twisting their legs into uncouth shapes… their partners [with] one leg on the ground, the other raised almost vertically, previous to the sudden descent – le grand ecart” (p.62).

Another student artist in their group was Charles Conder who, one evening – “having drunk more than was good for us” – suggested they paint the Moulin Rouge dancers “there and then”. Whilst I haven’t traced the “wild results” of Rothenstein’s painting-spree, the Manchester Art Gallery has Conder’s “The Moulin Rouge” (1890) which may well have been painted that drunken night.

Conder, Charles, 1868-1909; The Moulin Rouge

Indeed the script at the bottom-right of the painting reads:

“CHAS. CONDER. TO. CHAS. ROTHENSTIEN (sic) / IN  MEMORY. Of. A. PLEASANT EVENING. / 30.OCT.1890.” (8)

“Can anyone wonder that [we] were fascinated by this strange and vivid life?” (p.62), asks Rothenstein – indeed, it must have been an extraordinary time for these young artists there with the ‘in-crowd’ of bohemian Montmartre.

***

Please note: this is just the beginning of a longer research piece on British artists in late 19th-century France. Any further resources or references you may have would be greatly appreciated. Please contact via Twitter @TheCommonViewer.

 ***

(1) Patrick O’Connor: “Toulouse-Lautrec: The Nightlife of Paris” (Phaidon, 1991, p.32)
(2) The women have been identified as Rayon d’Or and La Sauterelle: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437835; although biographer Julia Frey suggests they might be La Goulue and La Mome Fromage
(3) Julia Frey: Toulouse-Lautrec – A Life (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994, p.314)
(4) https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/painting/commentaire_id/jane-avril-dancing-8969.html?cHash=8fc9922fcb
(5) See Wikipedia for a brief biographical overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_T._Warrener
(6) The sketchbooks in the The Usher Archives are undated and not digitised. I must say a huge thank you to the Collections Development Officer at Lincoln County Council, Dawn Heywood for the kind help and information she has found.
(7) William Rothenstein: “Men and memories: Recollections of William Rothenstein 1871-1900” (Faber & Faber, 1931)                                                                                                                 (8) Many thanks to Manchester Art Gallery for this information.                                               (9) There’s an extraordinary – indeed surrealist – picture by Charles Conder at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge called “A Dream in Absinthe” from 1890 (see http://webapps.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/explorer/index.php?qu=Charles%20Conder%20Absinthe&oid=14761)

PD.21-1947

 

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft: 15th December 2018 – “Toulouse-Lautrec & the Art of Montmartre”

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec & the Art of Montmartre

Saturday 15th December, 10.30am-12.30pm

with Dr ML Banting

Join us for an adventure into the heart of late-19th-century Montmartre, its streets, cafes and cabarets with Henri de Toulouse Lautrec whose paintings & posters of the Chat Noir and the Moulin Rouge, the habitues and dancers, reflect the society and stars of fin-de-siècle Paris.

Lautrec_moulin_rouge,_la_goulue_(poster)_1891

All welcome!

 Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.

Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)

For further information please contact Mark Banting by email  chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer

These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft: “All the Colours of Impressionism” 24th November 2018

Art History Mornings at The Beecroft Gallery
Saturday 24th November 2018, 10.30am-12.30pm
with Dr ML Banting

All the Colours of Impressionism

Why did colour “explode” so dramatically in the art of the late 19th century? From Seurat pointillisme to Van Gogh’s expressionism, Gauguin’s symbolism and beyond, we’ll explore what colour meant to impressionist & post-impressionist artists.

Sunflowers 1888

Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers (1888; National Gallery London)

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/learn-about-art/paintings-in-depth/sunflowers-symbols-of-happiness?viewPage=5 

Meetings are held 10.30am – 12.30pm in the Beecroft Gallery lecture theatre.
Each talk costs £10 and includes tea/coffee (biscuits!)
For further information please contact Mark Banting by email chasingtales@rocketmail.com or via twitter @TheCommonViewer
These monthly Saturday morning art history talks are educational yet informal and open to anyone with an interest in art.