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My art week

The week began with Fake or Fortune on Monday night on BBC4.

Some find this programme contrived but it’s popular for a reason.

There is the Antique Roadshow element, which Fiona Bruce also presents, of the masterpiece bought in a junk shop: the reputation and work of the artist; the detective work; and the “reveal”.

On Monday two John Constables were under investigation one, for an unexplained reason, an original painted over.

Both turned out to be genuine. One – of Yarmouth Pier – an American collector had acquired and was sure it was genuine.

The other – of the Brighton seafront – was more ambiguous.

On Tuesday I caught by accident a programme on Marcel Duchamp.

Even by the high standards of artists Duchamp must be judged as an odd-ball.

His most celebrated work – of an urinal – was signed Richard Mutt and he would dress as a woman, calling himself/herself Rose Selavy (c’est la vie, geddit?).

He was a talented chess player and he forsook painting for tournament chess.

His most celebrated work – Nude Descending Staircase – was painted in the cubist style.

He generated a discussion which still continues as to what is art but in my view he is now better known for that discussion than anything he produced.

On staircase and women, I much prefer the Giacomo Balla’s work titled Waving

On Tuesday – in our art course – we covered modern German expressionism – Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kieffer and Gerard Richter.

German art has always had a bit of an inferiority complex but they did produce Albrecht Durer, Cranach, Kasper David Friedrich, Otto Dix and George Grosz – another odd ball who would greet people at his home as his butler and say Grosz was not in – as well the big three mentioned of contemporary art.

On Thursday we looked at symbolism – Gustav Moreau, Odilon Redon,and Edvard Munch.

It’s fair comment that Munch made a good job of depressing all of us with his Nordic angst though clearly a modern master.

It was an eclectic week then of questions posed and less well known areas of art covered.


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

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