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A visit to the Pallant Gallery

It’s not just in the theatre that Chichester punches above its weight but it’s  art too. The Pallant Gallery is one of the best galleries/museums outside London particularly for the display and promotion of modern British art

Tuesday I went on a curated tour. Its permanent collection numbers. A Matisse, Cézanne, Klee, several Ben Nicholsons, a Barbara  Hepworth, a Bomberg, Savorini and several Ivan Hitchens, a Lucien Freud and five Sickerts.

It was founded in 1982 when the Dean of Chichester Cathedral gave over his collection including a Graham Sutherland, Ceri Richards and John Piper on condition they were displayed in Pallant House.

The collection was supplemented in 1989 when local businessman Charles Keatley gave a Cezanne, Klee and Savorini. The Cézanne is one  of many he did in the series The Bathers which strongly influenced Picasso in one of his most famous paintings Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

If Picasso was the great innovator, Cézanne was the bridge between post-Impressionism and modern art although one art historian observed that he should have been more esteemed during his life and less so after his death.

The joy of such galleries is the mix of art and lack of footfall making appreciation of the work more comfortable and that you can get round it comfortably in two hours. I did trip upon a surrealist chair though!

I liked less the temporary exhibition of art inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf.

Sometimes this took the form of  an extract of her writing with a comparable picture.

I like and rate Gwen John, but if you are taking a feminist hard line, as this exhibition seemed to do, you should take into account that she was supported by a male benefactor for virtually all her working life.

About Alice Mansfield

A graduate of the Slade, Alice has painted and written about art all her life. With her children now having now grown up and departed the nest, she recently took up sculpture. More Posts