LETTER: Leighton deserves an audience, too

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The Independent Online
From Ms Anne Thackray

Sir: Is there no other way to review a long-overdue exhibition of Lord Leighton's art except by trashing the artist for not being Cezanne ("Victorian vices", 20 February)?

Your reviews do nothing to encourage your readers to investigate Leighton for themselves. This is unfortunate, as Leighton is nowadays a far less familiar artist than Cezanne, and was a superb colourist. Photographs do not accurately reproduce his colours. Unless they go to the Royal Academy, your readers will never really see how Leighton uses colour - in particular, how he juxtaposes it - to establish a mood, create luminosity and build a composition.

They will also, missing Leighton, miss something of Cezanne. These two artists did not live on different planets, but shared a Continental back-ground. (Leighton is perhaps the most French of 19th-century British academic artists). They responded with imagination - at times, disturbingly - to some of the same challenges: the European art of the past, the painting of women, and the possibilities of colour. They shed light on each other, and simultaneous exhibitions of their art in the same city should not be missed.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Thackray

London, NW3

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