The National Art Collections Fund has retained for Scotland works which might otherwise have gone overseas.
Saved for Scotland at the National Gallery of Scotland until 29 Sept. I Few who peruse the labels of works of art in our public collections will spend much time worrying about what the information really means; whether the picture or sculpture is ‘on loan’, ‘recently acquired‘ or— as is frequently the case — ‘acquired with the assistance of the NACF‘. The latter is the acronym for the National Art Collections Fund, a I remarkable body set up at the I beginning of the century to help our i galleries and museums purchase ; works of art for which state-providedl funds are inadequate. Without it, I many important works which have been in UK collections for centuries would have ended up abroad, more often or not in the United States. In recent years. for a variety of reasons, Scotland has benifited more than any other part of Britain from its subsidies and now, for the Festival, the National Galleries of Scotland have brought together the spoils in
an exhibition called Saved for Scotland. From the National itself comes El Greco‘s Fabula (a picture rare and fascinating enough to warrant its own ‘in focus’ exhibition
last year). Verrochio and Vuillard‘s Two Seamstresses, purchased earlier this year. Edinburgh, however, does not have a monopoly on the fund‘s munificence. From Glasgow comes the astonishing, atypical Horses Frightened by a Lion by Stubbs and. from Aberdeen, William Blakes‘s Raising ofLazarus. These pictures are exhibited alongside a good
Diego Velazquez, Old Woman Cooking Eggs I representation ofsculpture and decorative arts - from a bust of Bernini to a bookcase by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This is all well meaning enough. but perhaps not quite the original kind of exhibition which will draw visitors from the four corners of the globe. as one hopes a Festival exhibition might. (Andrew Gibbon Williams)
I _ I Redoubtable Roses
Redoute’s Roses at The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Until 15 Sept.
When asked by Napoleon why he chose not to apply his prodigious talents to battles or portraits, Pierre-Joseph Redouté replied that it was best ‘to establish supremacy in one iieid, no . matter how lowly.’ It was that ' slngle-mindedness which made his 3 name a byword lor the painting oi i llowers. t In 1782 the 23-year-old Redouté arrived in Paris with a decade as a travelling painter under his belt. Decorating earned him money but his heart belonged to the Jardin do Roi where he spent all his spare time hunting ior llowers to paint. Beiore long, word spread oi the rustic - Belgian with the razor-sharp eye and the abiding lascination ior llowers. Only months alter his arrival, he was recmlted to illustrate a botanical publication. It was the beginning oi a
Rosa Gallica ‘Aurelianensis’.
58-year career as the high priest oi botanical art.
Even the mayhem unleashed by the French Revolution did not interrupt the prolliic and distinguished output that had people beating a path to his door. Scientists laid ilrst claim to his genius,
calling on him constantly to transiorm this ilower or that into a vivid watercolour at great accuracy. In iact, most oi his paintings were done with an eager botanist hovering nearby.
Yet ilowers were iar more than objects of scientilic inquiry to Redouté; they were the ‘stars oi the earth.’ As a result, he imbued scientiiic precision with an artistic celebration oi the iorm, colour and soul of every ilower he painted. So alluring was his work that i lashionable ladies queued up ior
lessons. Both Marie Antoinette and
Empress Josephine were patrons.
Finished in 1824 after seven years oi , relentless painting, his study oi roses is considered to be his magnum opus.
On loan irom a private French
collection, this is an exhibition oi 32 oi
those original rose watercolours. Even alter a century and a hall, the llowers still look impossibly, even hauntingly real, every shade and curve as crisp as the day it was painted. Redoute's roses are stamped on 7 table spreads, tea cups and
lampshades everywhere, but here is a . ; rare chance to inspect what came j straight oii the brush oi the man oiten ; described as the Rembrandt oi Roses.
l (Carl Honoré)
Virtue and Vision. Royal , Scottish Academy. until 15 | l Sept, [1 (50p).
I Fish Tank Sonata Arthur Tress' weird and colourful parable. every scene of which is photographed in a Victorian fish tank— gloriously impossible Arthur 'I'ress: Fish Tank Sonata, Portfolio Gallery. 7Aug-7Sept. £1 (75p).
I Stolen Glances Funny.
! furious.documentary. and controversial photographs and installations — are you ready to see what lesbians havetosay?
Stolen Glances: Lesbian Take Photographs. Stills Gallery. 10 A rig—14 Sept. 50p.
I Ian Hamilton Finlay Love him. hate him. but you absolutely can't ignore him — Britain's foremost ‘concrete poet‘ is honoured with a retrospective exhibition of his printed work.
[an Hamilton Finlay and The Wild Hawthorn Press 1958—1 991. I’ruitrnarket Gallery. lOAug—M Sept. £2 (£1).
I Marc Chagall A rare opportunity to see some of the Russian artist's fine. lyrical lithographs and etchings in a gallery with printmakers' studio attached— small. quiet and off the Festival-goers beaten track.
Marc Chagall: Selected Graphic Works. Edinburgh Pritttmakers
_ Workshop and Gallery. ll) Aug—14 Sept. free.
I Virtue and Vision: Sculpture and Scotland 1540—1990 450 years of sculpture are easily accommodated in the Royal Academy's airy halls — a good prelude to visiting Greyfriars cemetery or Edinburgh‘s new Paolozzi sculptures in g Leith Walk.
Sick oi being harangued by angrytheatre or
: comics? Why not
take shelterln the cool quiet ot a gallery?
The List 9— 15 August 199165