Thursday, March 05, 2015

Tate Britain - The Pleasure of a guided tour and Mr Cameron Frit?

Yesterday Debbie and I had a cultural visit to Tate Britain -it's a great place to spend some time and generally less crowded than the Modern on Bankside
Tate has a nice place for a coffee downstairs 

Nice café downstairs and all looks fresh and clean since the big refurbishment.

First time I've taken a guided tour on my last visit I did manage to locate where the tours meet (generally on the hour at the top of the stairs at side entrance).

Our guide for the tour was charming and incredibly well prepared which had as a theme 20th century portraiture.

After learning a little of the philanthropy of sugar magnate and gallery founder we stated the walk.

The first exhibit we looked at was a later period Sickert, of the actress Miss,Gwen Ffrangcorn-Davies (1932)- the painting was derived  from a photograph (you can see the studio name on the bottom right hand side).
Our guide showed us a photo' of Gwen with the portrait   which was rather nice to see.
Seems Walter Sickert was something of an  eccentric but one who was not without values, he resigned from the RA as a result of its failure to support the preservation of some Epstein Sculptural reliefs

After the Sickert we moved on to what was a more conventional portrait that of the Duchess of Argyll by Brockhurst, the Duchess was something of a society cause celebré in the early 60's - looking at the portrait the impression is not immediately  of depravity or adultery (but look at this)

And on to number three, Lucian Freud's works are scattered around the Tate as a result of his long creative career, one of his works from 1947 is that of his first wife holding a small kitten perhaps a little too tightly, Girl with a Kitten is very much a work that shows detail (very fine brush work) and the emphasis evenly dispersed across the canvas -

A contemporary of Freud and friend was the artist  Francis Bacon   in fact they painted one another.
Glorious surroundings at the Tate Britain 

 We looked at a Bacon work (Study for a Portrait 1952) where there was a guy (in a box) with a wide open mouth - seems Bacon was a mouth fan who painted on the back of canvas - unlike Freud Bacon was not concerned it seems with fine brush work.

We were moving along chronologically and after the early 50's the big movement in Art was 'pop' reflecting a  more democratic vision and embracing consumerism and modern life a proponent of this in Britain was Peter (now Sir Peter ) Blake, his graduation work  'On the Balcony (1955-7) can only be loosely termed a portrait but it does reflect the sensibilities and  emergence of a post war movement in an interesting way.
Peter Blake gained notoriety (in a good way) for his work on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album cover.

As well as pained works we were introduced to a sculpture in bread  called Breaking Bread by Antony Gormley (see him talking here)

We saw a  work of a most impressive Sculptor  of a writer supported by her  elbows (I didn't catch her name) and with a nod to the importance of photography in the 20th century we took in a viewing of a bewitching photograph  by Nigel Henderson of a Wig Stall, Petticoat lane (1952)- amongst the model heads see the women's live head there!

The tour finished with what again pushed the envelope of what we might consider a portrait with a most  poignant work by the Sickle cell anaemia  suffering artist  -Donald Rodney called In the House of My Father.

The tour was all in all a thoroughly educative experience both in terms of art and how to explain and introduce works with a theme (I can learn from this).

David Cameron ducks out of debate with Ed Miliband  

It's traditional for the incumbent  Prime Minister to resist calls to debate with the leader of the opposition -well I'm a little disappointed that David lacks the right stuff - be interesting to see how it plays out.
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