Richard Shone

  • Henri Rousseau

    Although born in 1844, Henri “le Douanier” Rousseau very much belongs to the history of modernism. It is thus fitting that Tate Modern should mount a show primarily of his jungle paintings, with their mixture of animal violence, impossible flora, and dreamlike fantasy. The first substantial presentation of Rousseau’s work to be held in Britain in eighty years, it benefits from considerable new research into the “exotic” in Paris by the Courtauld’s Christopher Green and should be a revelation to a new public of this astonishing,

  • “Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec: London and Paris 1870–1910”

    Another “modern life” exhibition from the well-fished lake of the fin-de-siècle places two of France’s most French artists alongside Britain’s most international. Degas’s prescient and controversial L’Absinthe, 1875–76, sets the pace for an exploration of cafés, dance halls, cabarets, and scenes of sexual congress by twenty artists of the period. Alert British artists in Paris are, unusually, given equal emphasis, and Degas’s friendship with Sickert will surely be seen as crucial for the later revitalization of British art.

  • Manet and the Sea

    The sea is not the most obvious theme in Manet’s varied oeuvre (“flowers” has already been done), but in fact it appears both in early history paintings and in later, more Impressionistic works.

    The sea is not the most obvious theme in Manet’s varied oeuvre (“flowers” has already been done), but in fact it appears both in early history paintings and in later, more Impressionistic works. This selection is one of those classy themed exhibitions that involve top-brass curatorial skills (Joseph Rishel and John Zarobell of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Douglas Druick and Gloria Groom of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Manet expert Juliet Wilson-Bareau) and that combine popular appeal and scholarly clout. About one hundred paintings and works on paper by Manet as well as his forerunners

  • Jean Cocteau

    Though often dismissed as an erratic flibbertigibbet, Jean Cocteau was one of the twentieth century’s great agents provocateurs.

    Though often dismissed as an erratic flibbertigibbet, Jean Cocteau was one of the twentieth century’s great agents provocateurs. He spanned the worlds of Proust and Picasso, Diaghilev and Warhol, Stravinsky and Piaf, animating them all with his imaginative, insatiably inventive spirit. The ardent avant-gardist who was also a leading proponent of neoclassicism, the onetime revolutionary–cum–Catholic reactionary, Cocteau was the embodiment of the contradictions inherent in French modernism. This retrospective, organized by Pompidou curators Dominique Païni, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, and François

  • Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Images

    Francis Bacon’s work is riddled with references to the old masters, from Duccio to Degas. He was also very good at talking about them, as we know from his interviews with David Sylvester.

    Francis Bacon’s work is riddled with references to the old masters, from Duccio to Degas. He was also very good at talking about them, as we know from his interviews with David Sylvester. This exhibition, organized by freelance curator Barbara Steffens, brings together a sizable group of Bacon’s paintings, particularly his triptychs, and juxtaposes them with pertinent works by Velázquez, Titian, Ingres, Degas, and Picasso. Relying on the archive held by the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery in Dublin, the show in turn looks at the other side of the coin of Bacon’s high-art tastes and examines his

  • Manet and the Sea

    The sea is not the most obvious theme in Manet’s varied oeuvre (“flowers” has already been done), but in fact it appears both in early history paintings and in later, more Impressionistic works. This selection is one of those classy themed exhibitions that involve top-brass curatorial skills (Joseph Rishel and John Zarobell of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Douglas Druick and Gloria Groom of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Manet expert Juliet Wilson-Bareau) and that combine popular appeal and scholarly clout. About one hundred paintings and works on paper by Manet as well as his forerunners

  • Marsden Hartley

    It’s too bad this retrospective of Hartley’s paintings is confined to US venues. Like other early-twentieth-century Americans (Sheeler, Demuth), he should be better known beyond his own shores. A restless, brooding, but also childlike sensibility informs all of his stylistic wanderings, culminating in the late grand paintings of mountainous landscapes and of the fishermen of Nova Scotia (portraits tense with Hartley’s sexual longing). Curated by Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser of the Atheneum, the show brings together eighty-five paintings and twenty drawings and features a multiauthor scholarly

  • Edouard Vuillard

    In 1954 Fairfield Porter wrote of Edouard Vuillard, “We have not yet caught up with the extreme sophistication of his successes.” This exhibition of some 200 works, coupled with the simultaneous publication of a catalogue raisonné by Antoine Salomon and Guy Cogeval of the Montreal Musée des Beaux-Arts, should at the very least aid us in gaining ground on the great intimiste (Cogeval, along with a team of National Gallery curators, is responsible for the selection here). In addition to paintings and mural decorations, there are prints, drawings, and photographs (as museumgoers will discover,

  • Anya Gallaccio

    Ice, flowers, chocolate, candles, oranges, whistling kettles, glass beads—no one can accuse Anya Gallaccio of a narrow repertoire of means. The variety of materials gives pace and unpredictability to her Ikon installations, which run from the late ’80s (when she attracted attention in London’s YBA scene–making exhibition “Freeze”) to brand-new commissions involving local schools and an off-site project growing vegetables with children. Sometimes stunning, sometimes fey, Gallaccio’s work is notable for its quotidian approach to age-old themes of growth, decay, mortality, and transformation. Her

  • René Magritte

    Magritte (1898–1967) does not lack for major exhibitions, but this retrospective attempts new approaches to the ever-popular and influential Belgian prankster (the last big show was held as recently as 1998, in Brussels). The selection of 110 paintings and fifty watercolors moves from the artist’s first Surrealist period of the mid-’20s through the so-called impressionist and vache moments of the ’40s to his late works of coffins and petrification. The curatorial team, headed by Jeu de Paume director Daniel Abadie, throws a French intellectual lasso around the neck of this poet of enigma and

  • Kasimir Malevich

    The Guggenheim’s delayed survey of the career of Kasimir Malevich, curated by Matthew Drutt (late of the Guggenheim and now with the Menil Collection, Houston), is probably the most revealing show to date of the wizard of the Russian avant-garde. Some 120 paintings, drawings, and objects, from breakthrough works like Black Square and Black Cross to the portraits of the ’30s, illustrate the evolution, achievements, and disintegration of the founder of Suprematism. If some of Malevich’s sociopolitical aspirations for his Soviet-period abstraction seem headily ambitious, there’s no doubting his

  • The Photography of Charles Sheeler

    Photography by no means played second fiddle to Charles Sheeler’s work as a Precisionist painter. He was a true professional, earning his living from commissions (for Vanity Fair and Vogue, for example), and memorably recorded many disappearing aspects of American rural life as well as contemporary industrial architecture. This ambitious exhibition of more than 120 photographs (selected by Harvard University Art Museums curator Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and French critic Gilles Mora) confirms his reputation as a master of the medium, a standing

  • Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne

    While Renaissance artists frequently depict Ariadne bewailing her abandonment by Theseus on the island of Naxos, Giorgio de Chirico shows the princess fast asleep, just before Bacchus wings in on his chariot to rescue her. She is seen as a life-size antique marble sharply lit in Mediterranean midday sun—the personification of estrangement and melancholy. The eight haunting Ariadne paintings of 1912–13 are brought together for the first time in an exhibition selected by the PMA’s Michael Taylor; they join other versions of the Ariadne myth de Chirico made long after his

  • Pierre Bonnard

    The stated aim of this show is to reconcile the early work of Pierre Bonnard, Parisian painter, designer, and illustrator of the 1890s, with the late work—the interiors, landscapes, and figures painted chiefly in the south of France from the ’30s to his death in 1947. But surely this artificial division has long been healed? Nevertheless, by examining all the media in which the artist worked, the exhibition, selected by senior curator Elizabeth Hutton Turner, attempts to uncover yet further consistencies of means and themes in the “two” Bonnards—poet of the

  • “Paris: Capital of the Arts 1900–1968”

    Rarely does such a “major” historical exhibition fail so lamentably to account for why its many works were included and why they were ordered in such a way. It is equally rare for a show of such size and ambition, covering a period of extraordinary achievement, to contain so many duds. There were moments here when you had to pinch yourself to make sure you were in the Royal Academy and not at a secondary modern sale at Christie’s. But no, you really were in one of the premier exhibition spaces in Britain looking at a show that purported to examine painting and sculpture in Paris during seven

  • Gauguin in New York Collections: The Lure of the Exotic

    Museums and private collectors in New York are temporarily shedding their Gauguins—an exceptionally rich hoard—to supplement the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s own holdings in a nearly 120-piece survey of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and works on paper. Organized by Met curators Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein, the show is just the latest of several recent manifestations of Gauguin’s perennial fascination. While the artist today may not have the creative grip still exerted by contemporaries such as Seurat and Cézanne, the unfolding twenty-year

  • Julian Opie

    Julian Opie is becoming the latest master of the long British tradition of landscape art. While he is popularly known at the moment for his simplified portraits of the rock group Blur, his recent show was chiefly an exploration of rural and coastal views, mediated through a sophisticated, often ironic intelligence.

    Opie is an inveterate traveler: The work here attests to car trips through Holland, Switzerland, France, and Turkey as well as his native England. But he doesn't travel for the sake of leisure. There's method in his motoring: visiting family, getting to holiday destinations, installing

  • The Fifties

    Martin Harrison’s survey of art made and shown in London in the 1950s provides some nice surprises.

    Martin Harrison’s survey of art made and shown in London in the 1950s provides some nice surprises. Bits of the story have been much told—the rise of Francis Bacon, the Beaux-Arts Gallery painters such as Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, the proto-Pop of Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, and the first anarchic stirrings of David Hockney and his Royal College mates. But to see all this seamlessly connected against the background of postwar austerity and city reconstruction, to find again once-well-known names—Ceri Richards, Joan Eardley, Victor Willing, Robyn Denny, John Bratby—on a footing

  • Paul Klee

    A muffled yawn might be an excusable reaction to learning of another show devoted to the Swiss wizard: There’s a display of Klee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a small forthcoming exhibition in Basel, and, less than eighteen months ago, a big survey in Edinburgh.

    A muffled yawn might be an excusable reaction to learning of another show devoted to the Swiss wizard: There’s a display of Klee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a small forthcoming exhibition in Basel, and, less than eighteen months ago, a big survey in Edinburgh. But this one has been chosen by painter Bridget Riley and German art historian Robert Kudielka. Her eye and his scholarship deliver a revelatory show of around a hundred works. The thrust of their investigation deflects us from the much explored subject matter, exhorting us to look again

  • Paris: Capital of the Arts, 1900–1968

    When, in the 1980s, the Royal Academy instigated a series of country-by-country twentieth-century surveys, France, oddly enough, didn’t get a look in.

    When, in the 1980s, the Royal Academy instigated a series of country-by-country twentieth-century surveys, France, oddly enough, didn’t get a look in. Perhaps amends are being made with this exhibition concentrating on art in Paris from the 1900 World’s Fair to the 1968 student riots. With Sarah Wilson of the Courtauld Institute as chief curator (aided by Norman Rosenthal and Ann Dumas), the political and social quota will be high but not at the expense of stunning loans. A polyglot cast—Brancusi from Romania, Kandinsky from Russia, the