ARTS / Cries & Whispers

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The Independent Culture
POTTERING round the Sixties show at the Barbican, I notice several paintings marked 'private collection, courtesy Raymond Danowski'. An unusual name, and an unusual form of acknowledgement. There are 10 such pictures, including a Kitaj (Early Europe, 1964), a Patrick Caulfield (Leaving Arabia, 1961), and a painting that has proved to be one of the rediscoveries of the show - Peter Hobbs's North of Metaphysics, 1962.

So who is this chap, with his penchant for geographical titles? He is Henry Moore's son-in-law. His wife, Mary, is the great man's only child, and a fierce defender of the flame of his reputation. And if you look up Danowski in Roger Berthoud's biography of Moore, it is clear that relations between the two men were not all sweetness and light.

An American, he pops up in 1973, working for Wildenstein's gallery in London. He visits Hoglands and soon strikes up with Mary. She is 28, he 30, a divorce, father of three and 'an urbane charmer who enjoyed high living', in Berthoud's careful phrase. The happy pair go travelling, to Tokyo and San Francisco. 'When they returned, Mary seemed to have discovered the joys of spending money.' As her father had given her many drawings and bronzes, she had 'almost limitless funds'. They married in 1976. Danowski remarked: 'the nice thing about my marriage is that I'm now a part of a good family life'. He added: 'I am not career-oriented, I don't do anything very specific now, apart from my interest in trees. I would call myself an amateur arboriculturalist.'

In March 1980, the two suddenly went to live in South Africa. 'For a man as frugal and hard-working as Moore,' Berthoud notes, 'Danowski's confessed lack of career orientation and his prodigal way with money (a green Rolls-Royce, an Aston Martin, no expense spared in doing up Minges, their house near Much Hadham) were hard to take.' There was also 'a dispute over ownership of certain sculptures which had been exported to Switzerland'.

The Danowskis returned to Britain in 1985 and acquired an imposing address near Dorchester. Henry Moore died the following year. So the question is: does this excellent 'private collection' belong to Mary Moore, and is the money that bought it therefore Henry's? I think we should be told.

SHOCKING new evidence of how the recession has hit musicians emerges from London's concert calendar this week. Look at the Purcell Room schedule for Tuesday and you find the Hilliard Ensemble singing music by Stephen Montague. Look at the Wigmore Hall schedule for Tuesday and you find . . . the Hilliard Ensemble singing music by Stephen Montague. This remarkable double whammy is apparently to be achieved by a fast taxi between venues. Good to see straitened professionals knuckling under like the rest of us.

A FEW weeks ago I made some sniffy noises about the amount of coughing during Carousel at the National. A few years ago I embarked on a campaign to persuade concert managers in this country to import the American practice of issuing cough sweets (preferably mandatory) at the door to all music-lovers who have a red nose, wheezing sinuses, damp hankies, or other hints that they might be about to join in the fun. So I am - ahem] - most heartened to see that the Halle Orchestra has done a deal with a cough-sweet manufacturer for this very purpose. Its last two concerts have apparently been wheeze-free. Now all that remains is for a deal to be done with a manufacturer of non-rustling cough-sweet wrappers.