The National Gallery’s Festival Exhibition spans the period from the birth of Impressionism to the First World War. Beatrice Colin takes in some French landscape painting.
Descending from the greys. greens and ;
haze of car fumes ofthe Mound outside, this show immediately seems to envelope with vivid colour, blast with fresh air and shimmer with the hasty stroke of the avant garde.
Van Gogh’s Winter: the Plain of Chaillv (after Millet) 1890 is a frosty, nostalgic work in turquoises, yellows and blues which looks so cold you can almost smell the woodsmoke. Elsewhere, Robert Delaunay‘s The ‘ Windows. N0 3 1912 is an abstracted view ofthe Eiffel Tower painted in fragmented cubes of pure colour. expressing the vibrant play of light in the Paris landscape.
Capturing the changing seasons. mood, light and very nature of the French landscape is at the core of this exhibition spanning a period of immense aesthetic and cultural shift. ‘The world has changed more in my lifetime than since the time of Jesus.‘ wrote the poet Charles Pe’guy around 1914. Social change, war. industrialisation. the rise of the Left and the Dreyfus Affair all converged to make this one of the most exciting 40 years for centuries. And many artists
turned to the immediately available
landscape to fix their impressions ofthe
This show aims to do more than
' simply unveil several dozen
masterpieces and place them in
5 chronological order. Juxtaposing work and dividing it into different but broad
categories, the exhibition reveals how various artists represented the same
’ landscape in different styles, the way
they used the it as a motif to express their own imagination and emotion, and the different types of ‘landscape‘.
From sections on Paris and its
suburbs, the seaside towns of
: Mediterranean and the Channel coast,
, there are also areas devoted to the
' seasons, landscape in series, at night, as
decoration and the reinvention ofthe pastoral ideal. ‘By plotting out themes to be explored,‘ wrote curator Richard Thomson, ‘selecting paintings which seem to me to illuminate them, 1 have tried to elucidate neglected patterns and
i stimulate fresh thinking about the i representation of landscape of this
. x "we! TheBeachatFecampjtmny Margret period.’
The tumbling colours of Gaugin, Signac, Seurat, Cezanne and Renoir are all represented as well as some lesser-
: known but equally interesting artists
i such as Valtat, Gleizes and Lacombe. in I one section, five artists’ depictions of . Notre Dame painted from the same spot
reveal how each used the cathedral to express their own individuality. in another, paintings by Gaugin and Rousseau hang close together. revealing how both used the landscape as a theatre, contriving situations and the viewers response.
Spanning from Classicism to Cubism ' and from Pointillism to Symbolism, this show has no neat conclusion. But by hanging some of the most accessible paintings of modern times next to the
. more obscure, it simply offers a
different vista. Essential and
j immensely enjoyable viewing.
Monet to Matisse is at the National Gallery until 23 Oct, £4 (£2).
_' Witnesses 0f Existence
They have risked their lives to create and show their work in makeshift Sarajevo art galleries, stubbornly refusing to relinquish their right under the shadow of the gun. Alrlifted to Britain just days ago, six artist from Sarajevo’s Obala Gallery are giving the Festival a poignant taste of life In the wanshattered Bosnian city.
Their aims are to stamp Bosnla’s cultural Identity on the European cultural map and show what lies behind sanitised western media Images of the conflict. There are no such barriers in Witnesses 0f Existence, their exhibition of art installations in a darkened room at Edinburgh’s Demarco European Art Foundation. This is Sarajevo in the raw and the threat of death stares you In the face.
The most startling images of the exhibition are undoubtedly those of Sanjin Jukic's Sarajevo Ghetto Spectacle, a satirical comment on the western media’s treatment of the war. Above bright blue letters gandlly spelling out the city’s nmne ﬂicker
images too candid for our television set - maimed adult and children lying in Sarajevo street, reaching out to passers-by; figures carrying bucket of water, scmrying from snipers’ bullet; bloody corpses being dragged by families and friends.
But the most powerful work is 46- yeamld Edo Iamankadlc’s Vlar Trials. There are no bloody images, simply an old wooden dinner table with the symbols of his personal war on it: a Ill-donated loaf of bread, a candle, a tray of watercolours. ‘Before the war I was an artist making normal art,’ he explains, ‘but during the war, it’s a problem when people die. It’s
important to help people and to balance the ethical and aesthetic principles.’
For the Chain group, at is a matter of life and death. If seen, their work is bound to have a greater impact than any television news slot. (Kathleen
Witnesses 0f Existence is at The llamarco European Art Foundation until 3 Sept.
I CITY ART CENTRE Market Street. 225 2424. Mon—Sat 10am—6pm; Sun 2pm—5pm. Cafe. Free.
Michelangelo: An invitation To The Case Buonarroti Until 21 Sept. From the former Michelangelo family home in Florence come ﬁfteen drawings by the Renaissance master, including sketches for The Sacrifice of Isaac and The Last Judgement. This is the ﬁrst Michelangelo exhibition to be staged in Scotland. Go see the great man’s illustrated shopping list.
I SCOTTISH NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY Queen Street. 556 8921. Mon—Sat lOam—Spm; Sun 2—5pm. [D]. Cafe. Scotland‘s bonniest and beastliest monarchs, politicians, writers and artists. The recent home-coming of a 1748 portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie by the leading French portrait painter Maurice- Quentin de La Tour is an added attraction. Visions Of The Ottoman Empire Until 6 Nov. Admission £3 (£1.50). Since the Ottoman Turks took Constantinople in 1453, their empire has fascinated the West. This exhibition focuses on the 19th century preoccupation with the era. from paintings inspired by Byron‘s poems to Delacroix's oil sketch for the Death Of .S‘ardanapalus. Exhibition accompanied by an illustrated book.
I BOURNE FINE ART 4 Dundas Street. 557 4050. Mon—Fri 10am—6pm; Sat
20th Century Scottish Watercolours Until 3 Sept. Including Anne Redpath. William Gillies, Tom Scott. James Pryde and more. William Wilson RSA RSW1905-1972 Until 3 Sept. Display of the artist‘s watercolours, etchings and stained glass. I CALTON GALLERY 10 Royal Terrace. 556 1010. Mon—Sat lOam—6pm.
19th and 20th Century French Paintings And Sculpture Until 3 Sept. Auguste Leroux’s sensuous nude Blossom is the star of this selection of 19th and 20th century paintings and
I CITY ART CENTRE Market Street, 225 2424. Mon—Sat lOam—6pm; Sun 2pm—5pm. Cafe. Free.
I CITY ART CENTRE 2 Market Street. 529 3541. Mon—Sat 10am—6pm; Sun 1-5pm until 18 Sept.
The Colourlst Legacy Until 21 Sept. Taken from the centre‘s permanent fine art collection. this exhibition dips into the use of colour by 19th and 20th century Scottish painters, from the original Colourists to the Glasgow Boys. it includes work by Adrian Wiszniewski, Joan Eardley and John Maxwell.
I FRUITMARNET GALLERY Market Street. 225 2383. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm. Festival hours Fri 15 Aug—4 Sept Mon: Mon—Sat 10am—6pm; Sun
The Romantic Spirit in German Art 1790-1990 Until 7 Sept. Part 11 of this two-venue exhibition charts post- 1960 German art, including the work ofJoseph Beuys, whojump-started Romantic ideas after their debasement by Nazi ideologists. Part 1 can be seen at the Royal Scottish Academy. Admission £3 (£1.50 concessions) forjoint ticket, allowing entry to Parts 1 and 11.
I NATIONAL GALLERY OF SCOTLAND The Mound, 556 8921. Mon—Sat lOam—Spm; Sun 2—5pm.
Home of a ﬁne collection of works, from the Renaissance to Post-lmpressionism. including Velazquez, El Greco, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Degas, Van Gogh and Scottish Colourists.
Monet to Matisse Until 23 Oct. Admission £4 (£2). Cezanne. Van Gogh. Rousseau. Gaugin and Picasso also feature in this orgy of landfcape artists
The List 19—25 August 1994 75