Now that's what I call a Hollywood fat cat

David Lister ON MONDAY

WHEN I attended the recent Bafta awards I was intrigued to watch the normally cool Gwyneth Paltrow dancing and flirting with a large, cigar-smoking gent seated next to her. Every so often she would laugh at the big man's joke and kiss him on the cheek, the way a teenage girl short of readies does with a rich uncle. The next night I saw the large chap at the premiere of the film An Ideal Husband. This time he was embracing Minnie Driver, one of the film's stars. Again, the cigar never left the versatile man's lips.

The cigar-smoker who has power over women is Harvey Weinstein. The head of Miramax is not just one of the most powerful film producers in the world, he lives the part. And it's no bad thing. Not since Sam Goldwyn has the movie industry possessed a larger-than-life producer, whose face will, I predict, soon become as well known as those of his infinitely prettier protegees.

In the politically correct world of Hollywood, here at last is a movie mogul looking and sounding for all the world like the one played by Robbie Coltrane in Channel 4'sComic Strip. Weinstein is a glorious throwback to the old Hollywood of pomp, power, ruthlessness and lashings of self- adoration.

We need to see more of him, so it is marvellous news that a Mr H Weinstein had been summoned to appear before Uxbridge magistrates for refusing to put out his cigar on Concorde. The accused failed to turn up. Let us hope the court case is rescheduled. It will be the best production of the year - Harvey in the dock, puffing away, Gwyneth clutching her handkerchief in the public gallery, Minnie sobbing in the corridor. Harvey will shout "cut" in the middle of the magistrates' summing up, blow a few smoke rings and walk off with an Oscar winner on either arm.

.

ONE OF Britain's most avant-garde galleries is to put on an exhibition of paintings, convinced that the Nineties' wave of video and installation art is past its sell-by date.

Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Ian Davenport and other members of the Britpack artists have submitted works for the exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in east London. One New York artist, Royce Weatherley, has guaranteed himself a place in the show with an appeal to the hearts of Middle England's amateur painters. He has submitted a still life of two potatoes. The exhibition, Examining Pictures, opens on Friday.

Its curator, Judith Nesbitt, believes artistic fashion has swung full circle: "Right now, painting is what is causing excitement among young artists. They are looking at it with a freshness and curiosity that comes after a period of installation and video and Internet art.

"Installation art is on the wane. You can make an installation with flashing lights and it looks very impressive but there's a simplicity about painting which the younger artists are now picking up on."

One of the artists in the forefront of painting's resurgence is 33-year- old Glenn Brown. He studied at Goldsmith's College in south London, the centre of conceptualist art where Damien Hirst and many of the Britpack studied. Brown now teaches there.

He said: "At Goldsmith's the emphasis was on conceptualist art not traditional painting ... that emphasis doesn't help painting very much. They are not very good at understanding aesthetics or even colour. They talk a lot about the philosophical and sociological aspects."

Meanwhile, the shortlist for the 1999 NatWest Art Prize reinforces the return to painting. All 11 artists on the list for the pounds 36,000 prize are painters under the age of 36.

One of the Whitechapel artists, Hume, will represent Britain at the Venice Biennale. As Judith Nesbitt puts it: "Painting has never really gone away, but it is coming back to the forefront via some of the biggest names in art today." What will they think of next?

.

IT IS AN unlikely friendship. The one is a brooding working-class artist at odds with the art establishment. The other is the leader of the Conservative Party.

But the Yorkshire artist Mackenzie Thorpe has forged a close bond with the Yorkshire politician William Hague. The Tory leader sought him out after seeing an exhibition of the 42-year-old painter's work in Richmond, Mr Thorpe's home and Mr Hague's constituency.

Mr Hague and his wife, Ffion, chose one of Thorpe's broody Yorkshire landscapes as their Christmas card last year. The card, entitled Through All Weathers, featured a painting of a shepherd battling through a snowstorm and high drifts to lead his flock home and to safety. Mr Hague said at the time: "Ffion and I chose this painting because it reminds us both of the landscape and the people of the Yorkshire Dales."

Now the Tory leader has chosen to hang on the wall of his room at Conservative Central Office another of Thorpe's works, The Great Journey - also of a Yorkshire landscape, also under a brooding sky, also featuring a shepherd driving his sheep. Thorpe is pleased: "William likes the way I've caught the brooding Yorkshire sky," he said.

But there is more to Mr Hague's interest than aesthetic admiration of landscapes. "We have become friends," Thorpe revealed. "We have had dinner together both here and in America when I had an exhibition on there.

"We don't tend to talk about art. And we certainly don't talk about politics. We talk about feelings. Feelings about life. And I talk to him about my family. I'm married with two children. And he enjoys chatting about that."

What Mr Hague may not have realised is that his friend is one of Britain's angriest artists, despite his considerable success. Mackenzie Thorpe is popular in America; and his pastel sketches and paintings sell well in Britain, as do his prints. He has his own gallery in Richmond. But he has never exhibited in London and recently failed to be accepted as a member of the Chelsea Arts Club.

"In San Francisco there's a banner out on the street when I exhibit.In Seattle they make announcements on the radio. But here there's still this north-south snobbishness. I used to think it's my accent or the way I look. I used to cry and get upset about it," he said.

Thorpe's vivid artworks can show a darker side of life and often return to the theme of unemployment. One called Leaving the Job shows dozens of matchstick men symbolising, he said, unemployment with "men getting thinner, thinner, thinner till they're gone".

His work also has a spiritual side. He says the shepherd in his art "symbolises man on the planet". He adds: "In the hardest child that has been through the hardest pain, through abuse, in there is a flower that can be nurtured. That's why there are flowers in my pictures. It is a sign of hope."

John Walsh is away.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015