Peter Fuller

  • The Hayward Annual 1979

    THE ARTS COUNCIL OF GREAT BRITAIN began to organize Hayward Annuals two years ago. The series is intended to “present a cumulative picture of British art as it develops,” and the selectors are changed annually. This year the selection procedure was changed too. The Hayward Annual 1979 was really five separately chosen shows in one. It was the best of the annuals so far: it even contained a whispered promise.

    I want to look back. The 1977 show I found abysmal, the very nadir of British Late Modernism. The works shown were mostly those of the exhausted painters of the 1960s and their epigones. Even

  • Domestic Tranquility

    EDWARD LAMSON HENRY PAINTED a workmanlike portrait of John Bullard and his wife in their parlor on Brooklyn Heights in 1872. Bullard was a prominent leather merchant. He wanted to be seen as a man who could have what he chose from anywhere he wanted. The newspaper he is studying is not the only way in which the world is brought into his front room. With an obsessive meticulousness, the painting depicts the diversity of periods and styles in the ornamentation of his home with possessions. Bullard is seated like an emperor on a throne, surrounded by silk-covered chairs, rosewood inlaid doors and

  • Troubles With British Art Now

    WHAT HAS GONE WRONG with the visual arts in Britain during the 1970s? According to many art world spokesmen and women, nothing at all. Writing recently about British art in the current “Elizabethan” era, Lawrence Gowing said, “Britain has not had anything so positive and attractive to offer since the time of Burne-Jones and Beardsley.”1 (Burne-Jones, positive?) Lady Vaizey, peeress and art critic of the leading “high-brow” Sunday Times, also apparently believes that British painting is “vital and exuberant,” “optimistic and full of energy,” “alive and kicking.”2

    Last summer the painter Ron Kitaj