The Ashmolean's new exhibition of Indian art from Howard Hodgkin's private collection is inspired by his love of the country. By Adrian Hamilton
The Ashmolean's new exhibition of Indian art from the private collection of Howard Hodgkin is inspired by his love of the country
This week an exhibition of British painter Lucian Freud's drawings opens at the Blain|Southern gallery in London, staged to coincide with the major exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Gallery.
The American painter R B Kitaj, long resident in London, left England in grief-stricken disgust after critics had panned his retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1994. He died at his last home in Los Angeles in 2007. This mini-retrospective at the ever enterprising Abbot Hall Gallery in Cumbria is the first extensive sighting of his works in Britain since his death.
Lucian Freud Archive, Lewis Collection
A visit to Lucian Freud's house in Notting Hill was an unforgettable experience.
This is the true story of a man called Martin Gayford, art critic by trade, who sat for a portrait by Lucian Freud seven years ago, told by the man who sat for that portrait over hundreds of hours. It is told in the form of a diary, sitting by sitting, easily, conversationally, insightfully, with a delicate humour, often self-deprecating. The sitter worries about his own ageing, the folds beneath his chin. At one point Freud says: "If it really is like that, well, I'll use it." Gayford remarks that he never did find out what "it" was. Freud, slightly dismayingly for the sitter, relishes such exciting evidence of mortality.
Could Lucian Freud be relenting on his reclusive stance? To mark his retrospective at Paris' Pompidou Centre the famously private artist agreed to be filmed by Tim Meara. But the 15-minute short, Small Gestures in Bare Rooms, is far from the usual biographical trawl. Rather Meara has spoken to Freud's sitters and created a series of "silent portraits" based on their reminiscences. There are close-ups of Freud's old Holland Park studio, complete with iron bedstead and paint-spattered boots and shots of a sharp-eyed Freud walking along the canal in Little Venice, with a kestrel perched on his arm (he kept birds of prey in his studio in the 1940s). Meara never expected Freud to appear in the film, but the artist was glad of the chance to rediscover old haunts. "He had a really nice time. We just allowed him to have a wander by the canal," says Meara. "The kestrel meant he could forget he was being filmed." Meara aims to make it into a full feature in time for Freud's 90th birthday in 2012.
The naked truth behind Freud's work is irresistible, especially in France
It is ten years since the New Art Gallery in Walsall opened its doors beside the Walsall Canal. (You can see a narrow boat drawn up beside the café's window as you bite down on a panini.) Would this splashy, handsome gallery help to give a new vitality to this small Black Country town? Could there be a mini-Bilbao effect in the making? Ten years on, things are looking pretty good – there were 6,000 visitors during half-term week; kids seem to be dragging their parents back for a second look – and it's evidently time for a show on the theme of non-stop partying.
His brother Lucian was noticeably absent, but Britain's artistic and literary elite turned out in force yesterday for the funeral of Sir Clement Freud, who died last week.
Although born in Germany, Sir Clement Freud came to be regarded as an essentially English character with an idiosyncratic gift for dry wit and a talent in many other spheres of life. In his multi-faceted career, he acquired the status of a minor national treasure as he progressed through roles which included celebrity cook, dog food advertiser, politician, broadcasting personality, author and raconteur. His unique persona included the incongruity of his looks, the rarity of his smiles and the counterpoints of his slow delivery and his devastatingly quick wit.
The Week In Culture
A rarely seen oil portrait of the artist Francis Bacon, painted by his friend Lucian Freud, has been sold for £5.4m. The work, which offers an intimate glimpse into the collaborative friendship of two giants of post-war art, is one of only two oil portraits of Bacon painted by Freud and the last remaining: the second was stolen from an exhibition in Berlin in 1988.