This past week has been an absolutely smashing one. Partying with my good old tribe girls on Wednesday, shopping trip to Teddington and Kingston on Thursday, Museuming with my dearest love Caroline Benn on Friday and on Saturday going to the V&A plus the Vintage Mafias inaugural event at the Fox in Shoreditch in the evening. PHEW.
So, my real reason for this post was not to tell you what a socialite I am (ho ho ho) but infact to give a few little reviews of the exhibitions I went to on Friday (more on other things I did to come, Ideally I would like to write about the Vintage Mafia event but I don’t really remember enough of it for that to be possible!)
Caroline and I started off at the Courtald gallery. I’ve been to Somerset house more times than I can count, but never before have I been to the Courtald gallery. I was quite simply amazed by the range of art they had on display in their main galleries, and that some of my favourite paintings were on display there. I think my personal favourite has to be A Bar at the Folies Bergere, 1881-82 by Edouard Manet. The painting is one of those that you just have to see to appreciate it. It has so many interesting elements, I particularly liked the bottles, Caroline the tangerines. What I really like though is how it flauts conventions. I particularly enjoy the legs of the trapeze artist dangling in the corner : )
We then went on to see the Tolouse-Lautrec exhibition. Definitely a case of small but perfectly formed. The exhibition focuses mostly on Tolouse-Lautrec and his artistic relationship with Jane Avril. Avril is a fascinating character who was one of the principal dancers at the Jardin de Paris and also at the Moulin Rouge. She was well known for her erratic dance moves which were said to have developed from a medical condition. What I really liked about this exhibition is that it gave so much background into Avril’s condition. This exhibition really felt like it told a story rather than just displaying the art work of Tolouse-Lautrec, and I cam away feeling like I had really learnt something. What I also really enjoyed was seeing some contemporary photographs of the Moulin Rouge. I had never appreciated quite how large the elephant In the garden of the Moulin Rouge was, and that there was infact a ballroom inside! (This is actually one of the pics that features in the exhibition).
So what else can I say? For anyone fascinated by Toulouse-Lautrec or the Moulin Rouge it really is a must visit. And a quick interesting fact the character Satine in the 2001 film is supposedly based on Jane Avril!
We then popped off to the National Portrait gallery to go and ogle at some of the stars of the big screen in their current exhibition “Glamour of the Gods”. This was another small yet perfectly formed display. The exhibition focuses on photographs from (If memory serves me correctly) around 1910 up until the late 50s. The selection is fantastic and really varied, and I particularly enjoyed the cases showing the difference of photographs before and after retouching. The descriptions for each of the images was relatively short, yet informing. For each picture a little about the sitter and the photographer too.
I think my favourite image has to be this one of Louise Brooks, who is one of my all time style icons. The image defines the 20s perfectly to me. If I ever go back to short hair again it’s a Brooks bob all the way!
My only real gripe was that I would have liked to have seen more images! Obviously they were restricted in terms of space, but in the book there are so many other images featured which I would have loved to have seen in their original format!
P.S. If you are reading my blog and think who is this Caroline fellow? This is she! Caro and I have have known each other for 17 years and have a love for visiting art galleries and the like. She’s pretty spesh. (Picture taken in the toilets of Belgo Central, oooh)