but lucid, provocative and ambitious.
Neither the selection of works nor their display bear out the charge that my primary interest in painting is sociological. In my book I do discuss the spread of coalfields or Franco-German rivalry, because they are pertinent to the discussion of landscape as a cultural phenomenon. But I also discuss paintings from other crucial viewpoints, not least as an expression of the artist's emotions and as a crafted object of beauty. I describe the textures and colours of the Cezanne, Gauguin and Matisse paintings Graham- Dixon picks out as 'succulent', 'sensuous' and 'sappy', yet stand accused of Puritanism] He is right to say that trio makes a 'radiant wall'. I chose them to do that.
It would be disheartening to unpick an unreceptive and offbeam review point by point. But nowhere do I mention van Gogh's attitude to the agrarian poor. There are four Cubist works (there would have been more but for rival shows) and other pictures from the pre-1914 years which show the company Cubism kept.
Quality and daring seem to be appreciated in Edinburgh; 2,500 visited 'Monet to Matisse' on its first Monday. What a shame they are not appreciated by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
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