Arts and Entertainment
 

Celia Paul is the least noisy portrait painter in oils imaginable. Her subjects - which usually tend to be relatives, close friends or herself - exist within a kind of religiose hush of rapt self-absorption.

Visual Arts: Playing a small trick with time

Frank Auerbach Marlborough Fine Art Gallery, London

Should the state pay pounds 3/4m for this?

Yes: Regions need good modern art

THE NEW ESTABLISHMENT Day Four: The River Set Richard Rogers's waterside cafe is the hangout of the hip and powerful

OUR SERIES ON THE PEOPLE JOCKEYING FOR INFLUENCE IN THE LATE NINETIES

The curse of the drinking classes

Soho in the Fifties, a doomed, boho world, photographed by John Deakin and painted from his photos by Francis Bacon. As an exhibition of Deakin's work opens, one of the few survivors, Henrietta Moraes, recalls her racy encounters with both men

OBITUARY : Lady Caroline Blackwood

Caroline Blackwood was a writer with a small number of books to her name. These have an intensity, a black and humorous concentration on the pitilessness of experience, which should ensure their survival. They are also very funny.

Grant to oldest gallery lifts threat of closure

Britain's oldest public art gallery has won a pounds 3m endowment grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to help to defend it from a long-term threat of closure.

Look me in the face; and tell me you need me

The portrait is dead: oh yes it is, oh no it isn't. Iain Gale introduces the perennial debate, while Charles Saumarez Smith and Karsten Schubert take sides

EXHIBITIONS

Choice

A BIZARRE BODY OF WORK

The night-clubs of Eighties London were full of posers; none could pose like Leigh Bowery, who died on New Year's Eve. Outrageous, absurd, tormented, he wanted to turn himself into an art-form. Did he eventually succeed? line standfirst

Obituaries Leigh Bowery

Leigh Bowery was a perverse comic-book clown to a post-punk generation careering through the myriad fashion metamorphoses of the 1980s. From the melted wax dripping down his bald pate and the lurex dress stretched tight across his enormous belly, to the teetering platforms (worn way before Naomi Campbell tottered down the catwalk), Bowery created himself - in execrable but glorious bad taste - as an antipodean arriviste of no apparent cultural significance.

Bowery dies

Leigh Bowery, the muse and model of the artist Lucian Freud, died suddenly aged 33 on New Year's Eve.

EATING OUT / Money talks, very loudly: La Tante Claire, 68 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HB. Tel: 071-352 6045. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Set three-course lunch menu pounds 25 per person. Dinner average pounds 65 per person, excluding wine. Major cards

IF I SAY that eating at La Tante Claire is like eating in a very good restaurant in Sydney, that is high praise. The best food in Sydney is the best in the world, using wonderful fresh ingredients and a French approach to cooking that has absorbed Malaysian and Japanese influences.

Obituary: David Wright

David John Murray Wright, poet: born Johannesburg 23 February 1920; married 1951 Phillipa Reid (died 1985; one stepdaughter), 1987 Mrs Oonagh Swift; died Waldron, East Sussex 28 August 1994.

ART / Every picture tells a life story: What makes a good portrait? As the NPG's show of 'Master Drawings' displays, the best likeness is not always the most revealing

MANY WRITERS who are biographers by nature - I wish there were more of us, and fewer novelists - love the National Portrait Gallery, and I was eager to see the show 'Master Drawings', taken from the gallery's permanent collection. The exhibition has had a successful tour of Canada and America, and that's nice, but it doesn't look so hot in London. Many of the drawings that were sent abroad are not on display here and the residue is shown in a basement that doesn't make a proper gallery for thoughtful and understated works, which is what good portrait drawings tend to be.
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