Monday, 14 August 2017

London exhibitions.

The Hokusai show at the British Museum finished yesterday and my daughter managed to have a look around in the crush of many others. The exhibition had been fully booked almost from the start. I went to London with a friend the other week in the hopes of picking up returned tickets. We queued for a while to get through security. The museum was crammed with people. No success. We were told to come back first thing in the morning. But London has many delights (not least the opportunity for a little retail therapy!) and two other exhibitions were on our to do list. We caught the train to Dulwich to see the exhibition of Sargent watercolours at the Picture Gallery.
We had timed tickets, the exhibition was busy, but it wasn't too annoyingly so, although those people wearing headsets display little viewing etiquette, plonking themselves before a painting and blocking the view for a considerable length of time. 
It is lovely to see a show of work created solely for the artists own pleasure and not for the demands of a client and interesting to compare this work with his famous portraits.  There was a small photo of Sargent painting beneath an umbrella providing necessary shade. In the absence of other support the umbrella is tied firmly to his leg! I really like the way gallery organisers now include additional items such as photos and quotes to enhance the viewing experience. Many of the paintings were made while out with friends on painting days and holidays and they have a wonderfully relaxed and fluid quality. I would have loved to have been in their company!
The food at the Dulwich cafe is always good and we were lucky to get a table and enjoy a tasty lunch before having a wander round the permanent exhibition.
The following day we went to the National Portrait Gallery, one of my favourite places.
Every year I visit this gallery to see the annual BP portrait exhibition. It fascinates me. The level of skill is impressive. I'm wary of skill just on its own account so some of the large examples of photorealism left me cold. But in this big show there was plenty to enjoy and admire.
Then we did a bit of retail therapy and got back home late, but happy!

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