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

The Art of Trees: Masumi Yamanaka at Kew

Black Locust Flower, Leaf and Fruit by Masumi Yamanaka © Kew Gardens

Black Locust Flower, Leaf and Fruit by Masumi Yamanaka © Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is a wonderful place to visit to see plants and flowers in bloom, but you may not realise it also has two art galleries. One of them, the Marianne North gallery, has a permanent display of pictures by the great Victorian explorer, but the other, the Shirley Sherwood gallery, has changing exhibitions of botanical art. Currently on show are a series of new paintings by Kew artist Masumi Yamanaka of some of the rare and spectacular heritage trees in the gardens. 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

Carl Randall’s Hyperrealist Portraits

Carl Randall‘He’s not a Japanese artist, you know,’ said the girl at the Berloni Gallery when I gave her my Sequins and Cherry Blossom card. I know. But Carl Randall, winner of the 2012 BP Travel Award, is a former Daiwa Scholar who studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts and paints remarkable hyperrealistic yet subtly distorted portraits of Japanese people. So I wanted to see his latest work. Continue reading

Big, bold and sometimes noisy – Shinro Ohtake at the Parasol Unit

Shinro OhtakeThank goodness for long-run exhibitions! So often I’m racing to get to an exhibition and write about it in time for you to go as well if you feel like it before it closes. No such problem with Shinro Ohtake at the Parasol Unit, which is on for a whole two months. Luxury. Especially as you probably will want to go once I’ve told you about it.  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

The Fiendish Innocence of Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo NaraSometimes I like to go to art shows by myself and sometimes I like to go with other people. For the Yoshitomo Nara show at the Dairy Art Centre, it was a sociable outing with regular visitor to this blog Yannick and new Twitter friend Allie. Which means I can share their perspective on the show with you as well as mine – some interesting insights to come. 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