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.