Fabulous French Impressionists at the Courtauld Gallery

Monet, Vase of FlowersA casual visit to the Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House last week brought a reminder of just how fantastic its collection of French Impressionist paintings is. All the great pictures are there – the best works of Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir hang on its walls, all displayed in a matchless historical setting. That’s the treasure house of the Courtauld. Continue reading

The Wallace Collection – French art for free in the heart of London

Wallace CollectionA lot of Londoners have a soft spot for the Wallace Collection. It’s just round the back of Oxford St and it’s free, so you can pop in for a browse any time you like. And it’s quite spectacular, filled with French eighteenth century painting, furniture and porcelain with famous Old Master paintings and, the icing on the cake, a world class armoury. So how does it come to be there? Continue reading

Kenwood House – a North London Treasure

IMG_2388Kenwood House is a North London treasure. Perhaps it’s because of its position, right at the top of Hampstead Heath, gazing down over the rest of the city; perhaps it’s because, thanks to the terms of the Iveagh Bequest, it’s free to visit and always will be. Or perhaps it’s just because it’s so lovely. Continue reading

Junko O’Neill – Peaceful Portraits of Space

Junko O'Neill Shower of Rainbow 1It’s nearly two years since I first saw Junko O’Neill’s dreamy landscapes and abstracts so I was interested to see what has changed in her latest exhibition. Size, for one thing. ‘It was hard to store large canvases,’ she told me, laughing a little ruefully. ‘And my husband said “Can’t you paint something smaller?” Smaller is better for customers too.’ Not that her new work is tiny, but it will certainly fit your walls nicely. Continue reading

Chrysanthemums – an East-West fusion art show

Print by William Say 1825 British Museum

Print by William Say 1825 British Museum

This week I’ve had chrysanthemums on my mind. Yes, I know it’s a bit late – they tend to flower in September or October, not November. But I have November fixed in my head because every year the Shinjuku Gyoen Botanical Gardens in Tokyo hold a chrysanthemum show, and it’s on now.  Continue reading

Masaki Yada brings you Old Masters with a modern twist

Masaki Yada When I heard there was an exhibition on near Sloane Square of paintings by a Japanese artist who said his main influences were the Dutch and Flemish Masters of the 17th century, I have to admit I was intrigued to see what he would produce. What Yannick and I found when we went to take a look was not a slavish imitation, but an interesting use of old techniques for new purposes. Continue reading

Marianne North, Victorian Explorer

Marianne North in Ceylonargaret_Cameron

One of the nice things about Kew Gardens is how you can go on discovering new things there however often you go. I must have walked past the Marianne North Gallery dozens of times without giving it a second thought until I discovered one day who Marianne North actually was and what a fascinating life she led, travelling the world in search of unknown flowers and plants and bringing them back to the UK. Between 1871 and 1885 she went to America, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, Tenerife, Japan, Singapore, Sarawak, Java, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Seychelles, Chile and, of course, Japan. Continue reading

The dancing hens of Ito Jakuchu at Asia House

Ito Jakuchu

There’s a fabulous exhibition on at Asia House this week and I really think you should find the time to go and see it soon as it’s only on for five days, ending this Saturday. It’s a show of works by Ito Jakuchu who was born in Kyoto nearly three hundred years ago. Jakuchu specialised in paintings of domestic animals, particularly chickens, and there are plenty of them on show at Asia House, painted with a flair and simplicity of line that is breathtaking. Continue reading

When Cicadas Cry in Kentish Town

Yuji Oki

Yuji Oki is a artist who was born in Japan in 1949 and now lives and works in London. I’d like to tell you more about him but there’s a surprising lack of information on the net. Even the gallery that represents him, the Beardsmore Gallery in Kentish Town, doesn’t give away much in the catalogue of his most recent exhibition; just a bare list of four dates telling us where he studied and that he once won a prize for painting. A bit of a challenge, then. But at least I can show you what his art is like. Continue reading

Butterflies, flowers and kimonos – the paintings of Kyosuke Tchinai

Kyosuke Tchinai

The new year has begun in earnest; it’s back to work all round and I’ve been back on the art gallery trail, visiting odd corners of London to find tucked-away galleries you might never know were there. Today’s gallery is West End rather than East End – beyond the farthest corner of Grosvenor Square, almost to Park Lane, there’s a little hidden mews called Lees Place, where the Elena Shchukina gallery is showing richly coloured intricate paintings from Kyosuke Tchinai. Continue reading