ART: PRIVATE VIEW

Augustus John With His Family Spring Fair, Olympia
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The Independent Culture
The Spring Fair at Olympia is one of the art world's most diverse, with dealers from all over selling work of all sorts from all periods. They usually stage a loan exhibition as well, to give the whole thing a sort of intellectual gravitas, and this year is no exception, with more than 100 paintings and drawings by Augustus John on the theme of "Augustus John With His Family".

John was a prolific artist and equally prolific father, with nine children, all of whom feature here alongside his first wife, Ida, and beloved companion, Dorelia. These family pictures, especially the small works on panel painted in the years immediately before the First World War, are some of the freshest and most intimate of his long life's work.

John was such a large character - the quintessential bohemian artist with earrings, beard and cloak - that the quality of his work has sometimes been overshadowed by the personality behind it.

It's a shame that the run of this exhibition is so short, as it will be the most comprehensive of John's work for more than 20 years and it should reaffirm his position as one of the bigger British talents of the early 20th century.

Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London W14 (0171-244 2219) Tue-Sun 28 Feb, Tue 5pm-10pm, Wed-Thur 11am-9pm, Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 27 Feb 11am-7pm, Sun 28 Feb 11am-5pm

Richard Ingleby

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