Untitled, c.1985 (gouache and paper collage on paper), Bearden, Romare Howard (1911-1988) / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images

Top Art Exhibitions: July

This Summer, you can experience all the seasons with exhibitions on Arctic expeditions and Van Gogh’s seasonal works.  Besides weather, July sees a wide range of exhibitions opening up across the globe.  You can enjoy a history lesson in Feminist photography and art from the Civil Rights Movement or visit solo exhibitions dedicated to Bazille, Modigliani and Kyōsai.

True to Life | British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s

1 July – 29 October

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Spray, 1940, Harold Williamson (1898-1972) / Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, UK
Spray, 1940, Harold Williamson (1898-1972) / Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, UK

Discover a remarkable, but little-known period in British Art: 1920’s and ’30’s Realist paintings.  True to Life | British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s explores the realist tradition in British art between World War One and Two, a tradition which was lost soon after the Second World War in favour of Abstract art.  At the time, Realism was a globally popular, and remarkable movement with paintings of meticulous detail.  However, after World War Two, these artists became somewhat side-lined.  This exhibition celebrates the movement. Showing only in Edinburgh, True to Life includes over 80 stunning paintings by Gerald Leslie BrockhurstMeredith FramptonLaura Knight, James CowieHarold Williamson and Winifred Knights.

 

Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism

Until 9 July

National Gallery of Art, Washington

Family reunion, 1867 (oil on canvas), Jean Frederic Bazille (1841-70) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France
Family reunion, 1867 (oil on canvas), Jean Frederic Bazille (1841-70) / Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

Drawing inspiration from the vibrant culture of Paris and Languedoc, the French painter Frédéric Bazille (1841–1870) crafted a style of painting that was distinctly his own and helped to lay the foundations of Impressionism. Bazille was part of a social circle of avant-garde artists and writers that included Émile Zola, Henri Fantin-Latour and Zacharie Astruc.

However, due to his untimely death during the Franco-Prussian War, Bazille remains relatively unknown in comparison to his contemporaries.  Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism is the first major American exhibition on his works in over 25 years. It hosts 74 of Bazille’s paintings alongside his contemporaries, including Manet and Monet, and key works by the predecessors who inspired him such as Théodore Rousseau and Gustave Courbet.

 

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

12 July – 22 October

Tate Modern, London

Quilting Time, 1986 (mosaic on plywood), Romare Howard Bearden (1911-1988) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA
Quilting Time, 1986 (mosaic on plywood), Romare Howard Bearden (1911-1988) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA

Visit Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power to see era-defining artworks that changed the face of art in America. The exhibition documents the history of the Civil Rights movement with works from over 50 influential American artists such as Romare Bearden, Lorraine O’Grady and Betye Saar.  These artists provoked, confronted and confounded expectations at a time where the concept of Black Art was not always promoted, but contested across the United States.

Exploring works from 1963 onward, a defining year in the Civil Rights Movement, this exhibition brings together art in many forms to reflect the varying opinions of the time including paintings, murals, collage, activist posters, photography, revolutionary clothing designs and sculptures (some of which are made with Black hair, melted records and tights)!  Most of these works will be on display in the UK for the first time.

 

Melbourne Winter Masterpieces: Van Gogh and the Seasons

Until 12 July

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Wheatfield with Cypresses, 1889 (oil on canvas), Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) / National Gallery, London, UK
Wheatfield with Cypresses, 1889 (oil on canvas), Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) / National Gallery, London, UK

Observe Van Gogh’s life, his passions and his take on the natural world. This exhibition delves into the Dutch artist’s love of literature and nature, as well as the environments that heavily influenced his life and livelihood. Showcasing his works and his personal letters, Van Gogh and the Seasons examines the Post-Impressionist painter’s depiction of the changing seasons alongside several key stages in his life. This exhibition explores some of the most career (and life) defining places in the Dutch artist’s life, such as his hometown, and places of deep creativity in the Netherlands, to regions in France where his mental health suffered and he ultimately committed suicide.  This exhibition is showing only in Melbourne.

 

Franklin: Death in the ice exhibition

14 July – 7 January

National Maritime Museum, London

SIR JOHN FRANKLIN (1786-1847) The end of Sir John Franklin's last arctic expedition in search of the Northwest passage, 1847. Engraving, after the painting by W. Thomas Smith. / Photo © Granger
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN (1786-1847) The end of Sir John Franklin’s last arctic expedition in search of the Northwest passage, 1847. Engraving, after the painting by W. Thomas Smith. / Photo © Granger

When Sir John Franklin and his expedition crew went missing in their search for the Northwest Passage, many wondered what happened to them. In 1959, 12 years later, one of the two ships was discovered, with the dead bodies of Franklin and 23 of his crew.  There were rumours of cannibalism with the 105 survivors, as they tried to head south across the North American mainland to the Back River.

Discoveries in 2014 and 2016 by the Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team have revealed some of the questions of what really happened to those men on their fateful journey. Franklin: Death in the ice will showcase a number of discoveries including personal items, clothing and components of the ships, so you can scrutinise forensic evidence and discover the Inuit oral testimonies, to draw your own conclusions as to what happened. These items will be displayed in the UK for the first time.

 

Another Way of Telling: Women Photographers from the Collection

Until 16 July

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

The Rose Bud Garden of Girls (albumen print), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79) / Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA / Allen Whitehill Clowes Fund
The Rose Bud Garden of Girls (albumen print), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79) / Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA / Allen Whitehill Clowes Fund

Explore works by several generations of female photographers. This exhibition showcases exceptional and rare photographs spanning the history of the medium.  With examples by pioneers Diane Arbus, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Anne Brigman as well as contemporary artists such as Kelli Connell, Ann Parker, and Elaine Stocki, you can experience the variety of ways women have used the camera to capture lived experience.  This includes themes of identity and female roles, domesticity and street photography.

 

Modigliani

Until 16 July

Palazzo Ducale, Genoa

Portrait of a Student, c.1918-19 (oil on canvas), Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) / Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Portrait of a Student, c.1918-19 (oil on canvas), Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) / Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

Modigliani shows the main stages of the Italian Jewish painter’s brief, but rewarding artistic career.  Known for portraits and nudes characterised by elongated faces and figures, his works were not well received in his lifetime, only after his death.  Through over thirty paintings and drawings, this exhibition looks into Modigliani’s unique, introspective portraiture of fellow painters, intellectuals and close friends.  As well as portraits, Modigliani also showcases the famous nudes such as the Reclining Nude, and a display of studies, drawings, watercolours and tempera.

 

We Set the Tone. Pictures of Music from Mantegna to Matisse

21 July – 5 November

Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin

Bacchanal with Silenus, early 1470s, Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) / Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, USA / Bequest of Herschel V. Jones
Bacchanal with Silenus, early 1470s, Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) / Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, USA / Bequest of Herschel V. Jones

Throughout history, creative outlets such as music and art have been interlinked – one inspires the other.  This exhibition investigates the subject of music in drawings and prints.

Pay a visit to We Set the Tone. Pictures of Music from Mantegna to Matisse to see 100 musical works from the likes of Andrea Mantegna, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Roy Lichtenstein and Edvard Munch, plus many more.  As well as musical works, an exhibition on the relationship between musicality and pictorial expression would not be complete without artworks of the greatest musicians and composers of all time such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Niccolò Paganini, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

The Israel Goldman Collection: This is Kyosai! *

Until 23 July

Museum EKI Kyoto, Kyoto

Japan: 'Hyakki Yako', (The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons), Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) / Pictures from History/Woodbury & Page
Japan: ‘Hyakki Yako’, (The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons), Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) / Pictures from History/Woodbury & Page

Nicknamed ‘demon painter’ because of his artistic talents as a child, Kawanabe Kyōsai was always destined for success. Throughout his career, Kyōsai experimented with various artistic styles and techniques including political caricature. He is often considered the greatest successor of Hokusai, known for the masterpiece The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Art dealer Israel Goldman admired Kyōsai’s works for their sense of humour and has been collecting Kyōsai’s works for 35 years. Visit this exhibition of his best-known pieces and over 60 newly acquired works.

 

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