Richard Cork

  • Richard Cork


    I’ve waited all my life for a proper CÉZANNE retrospective, and the Grand Palais show certainly doesn’t disappoint. The painter revealed at the exhibition is mercifully removed from our oppressive mythology of Cézanne as the Moses figure who laid down the law about the subsequent course of Modern art, for this retrospective is nourished by fruitful contradictions.

    The myth of Cézanne is that the violence evident in the rebarbative paintings in the first room of the exhibition disappeared once he began his steady, patient exploration of the observed world in the 1870s. At the

  • “Wyndham Lewis: The Twenties”

    In recent years attention to Wyndham Lewis has focused most sharply on the early period of his career as an artist. His youthful achievements as the self-appointed leader of the Vorticist movement and editor of its magazine Blast came to an abrupt end when Lewis enlisted in the Royal Artillery to fight in the First World War. After the armistice he felt impelled for a while to pursue a more figurative course than he earlier had, executing a series of fiercely energetic drawings from life which can now be counted among his finest works. Some of them, like the elaborate Woman with Red Tam O’Shanter,

  • “The Omega Workshops: Alliance And Enmity In English Art 1911–1920,” “The Omega Workshops 1913–19: Decorative Arts Of Bloomsbury”

    Soon after Roger Fry mounted his second notorious Post-Impressionist exhibition, in 1912, the idea of the Omega Workshops finally crystallized in his mind. He had been wanting to take the new movement in art beyond the boundaries of the galleries for some time, but until the Omega was established in the summer of 1913, his attempts had been sporadic and unsatisfactory. Although he had gathered a group of young painters together in 1911 to execute a substantial mural scheme on the dining room walls of a South London polytechnical college, the outcome was only a partial success. Fry needed a


    Our aims have the simplicity of a need:
    We want a place given up
    to gaiety, to a gaiety stimulating
    thought, rather than crushing it.
    We want a gaiety that does not have
    to count with midnight.
    We want surroundings, which after
    the reality of daily life,
    reveal the reality of the unreal.1

    WITH THIS STIRRING AND DEFIANT declaration, described by its author as “our beautiful appel aux armes,”2 the Cabaret Theatre Club was launched upon London in the summer of 1912. As the outspoken rhetoric of its manifestolike announcement indicated, it was an audacious enterprise. Although cabarets had already