Arts & 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.

Too good to be true: The inadequacy of the imitative artists on display in 'Fake' only highlights the originality of the masters they copy, argues Iain Gale

A child of three could do that.' It's 80 years since Malevich first painted a black square and called it art, but still the cry rings through our art galleries: 'Modern art is easy. Anyone can do it. It just doesn't compare to real, old, proper art does it?' The vacuity of this argument is conclusively proven by a visit to an exhibition currently in London. 'Fake', an assembly of some 50 works by contemporary artists from western Europe and the former Soviet bloc, is an object lesson in what makes great artists great.

BOOK REVIEW / Beleaguered bambina in rural bohemia: 'Come and Tell me Some Lies' - Raffaella Barker: Hamish Hamilton, 14.99 pounds

THIS first novel is an impressive example of what may be a new genre - the autobiographical account of what it is like to be the offspring of a 'great man' with a trail of children by several different women. Esther Freud and Rose Boyt, the daughters of Lucian Freud, have both written novels based on hippy childhoods in the Seventies; Raffaella, daughter of the poet George Barker, describes growing up in Norfolk through the eyes of a child who loves her parents but who, like most children, longs for conformity and a conventional existence.

Sotheby's sales top forecasts

CONTEMPORARY art turned in a string of price sensations at Sotheby's last night.

EXHIBITIONS / Farewell grandeur, hello fun: The National Portrait Gallery has a friendlier face now that it also includes portraits of the living. The pomp has gone, but has something been lost with it?

THE NATIONAL Portrait Gallery has completely refurbished its ground floor, thus giving a lot more space to pictures in a pleasantly airy atmosphere. Henceforward these galleries will be used to display portraits from 1945 to the present day, and in the new installation there's an opportunity to see how the NPG has changed in the years since the Second World War. Only recently has it become a liberal and user-friendly museum. The booklet 20th Century Portraits reminds us that the NPG didn't collect portraits of people who were still alive until 1969, and it frankly admits that the gallery was top-heavy with pictures of generals and civil servants. All this has now changed. Here are portraits of athletes, pop stars and television personalities. Even Robert Maxwell has found a place on the NPG walls.

Freud offers yet another angle on studio life

(Photograph omitted)

ART / Saving faces at the NPG: For years, the National Portrait Gallery has been stuffed to the gills. Dalya Alberge celebrates an extra 921 square metres . . .

When the National Portrait Gallery's new wing opens on Friday - pounds 12m-worth of new space devoted to the second half of the 20th century - it will take a while to find John Major. You will find him in the far corner of a large gallery once you've walked past Churchill, Kinnock, Robert Maxwell and Baroness Thatcher. And when you reach Major, you'll find him dwarfed by the neighbouring portrait of Lord Whitelaw.

Art Market: Sink sold while Turners fail to excite bidders

EVEN in the recession, a grey canvas covered with loopy lines in white chalk by Cy Twombly should easily have made the dollars 2.2m (pounds 1.5m) that Christie's expected of it.

ART / Graham-Dixon's choice

Howard Hodgkin - D'Offay

ARTS / All the pulsations of a person: Francis Bacon's small portraits are on show in London. The exhibition forms a gallery of his lovers and friends, notably Lucian Freud. David Sylvester, another subject, looks at the paintings and the web of relationships behind them

AN EXHIBITION of heads by Francis Bacon inevitably presents a portrait gallery of his friends, since the heads in his paintings are almost always heads of people he knew. He refused all but three of the many commissions he was offered to do a portrait of someone unknown to him (one exception was a triptych of heads of Mick Jagger). He chose to paint people whose features, attitudes, movements, expressions were familiar.

How we met: Ian Board and Daniel Farson

Ian Board (63) is a well-known Soho figure whose connections with that part of London go back to the late Forties. He has worked most of his life behind the bar of Muriel Belcher's Colony Room, a celebrated meeting place for bohemians and artists, taking over the club in 1979 when Muriel died. The writer and photographer Daniel Farson (65) found fame in the Fifties with his own television series, Farson's guide to the British. He has published 20 books, including his affectionate portrait Soho in the Fifties, and now lives in the West Country. Both men are unmarried.

RADIO / And not a drop to drink

THE AIR was full of water this week. A Venetian, Vivaldi, was Composer of the Week (R3), washed down with Martin Jarvis's smooth readings from an 18th- century account of Venice. And death by water was the subject of Dunwich (R3), the tale of the Suffolk port that slowly sank into the sea. In the 13th century, it had 50 churches, two monasteries, two hospitals and two MPs, and was among the top five ports and 20 towns in England. Now there is a road and some graves.

Did Derbyshire peak too early?: Simon Calder follows a 300-year-old guide to six of the county's seven wonders, while Angela Lambert visits the greatest: Chatsworth

CHARLES COTTON chose wisely. Derbyshire's scenery ranges from awesome to ornate, from deep gorges to bleak hilltops beneath a huge sky. Sprinkled around the county are enough natural phenomena to satisfy the most curious traveller.
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