There is always one in every class and we have our resident know-all in our British modernist course.
Yesterday we studied Paul Nash. Nash was a considerable painter of surrealist style and of landscapes, often both together.
Our know-all decided one such landscape was in fact a natural study of cumulus. I can’t remember the last time I saw a brown cloud.
Our teacher animates the lesson with interesting biographical detail.
She came from the very rich Guggenheim family, married Max Ernst, was sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis but was a constant patron of the arts into her ripe old age.
Lee Miller, the photographer and muse of Man Ray, was not only raped as a child but contracted a venereal disease in the process . Nowadays she would write a misery-memoir but she went onto become of the century’s best photographers. Gertrude Stein was a considerable collector and supporter of the arts in Picasso’s Paris. Louise Carrington, a debutante, became an artist of renown.
She says the modern dealer is as much an expert on tax as on art. Another practice is to buy up all the works of students who has won art college prizes and awards. You arrange to sell off one at auction and then the rest at a supposed discount, making a tidy profit in the process.
Yesterday he featured another Grande Dame, Elizabeth Frink. She is in the Seago/Howard – popular but not always rated by critics – category and so-called connoisseurs mould.
A fabulous sculptress who now fetches big prices she was perhaps too hindered by her gender.