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Six must see art exhibitions in London

By 18th September 2017 No Comments

The BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia – The British Museum

Organised in collaboration with the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Scythians tells the forgotten story of a civilisation rooted in Siberia that during its peak reached as far as the Black Sea and the edge of China. From the 9th century BC to around the 2nd century BC – before the Huns, the Turks, and Genghis Khan’s Mongols – the Scythians were the first great nomadic powerhouse of the Eurasian Steppe. They left no cities behind, but their burial mounds have yielded a wealth of artefacts meant to accompany warriors into the afterlife, from collapsible tables to elaborate headgear for horses and exquisite gold plaques.

14 September – 14 January 2018

020 7323 8181; britishmuseum.org

Scythian rider A gold plaque depicting a Scythian rider with a spear in his right hand; Gold; Second half of the fourth century BC; Kul’ Oba. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin.

Dalí / Duchamp – The Royal Academy of Arts

A hundred years after Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain — a standard urinal signed ‘R. Mutt’, and entered into an exhibition in New York as a work of art — caused uproar, the godfather of Conceptualism is once more in the spotlight, this time in association with Surrealism’s favourite son, Salvador Dalí. The two provocateurs were great friends, sharing not only a passion for art, but also a fascination with eroticism, language, optics and games. Bringing together around 80 works — including correspondence and collaborations between the pair —this exhibition also highlights their shared sense of irreverence and humour.

7 October – 3 January 2018

020 7300 8090; royalacademy.org.uk

Salvador Dalí and Edward James, Lobster Telephone (red), 1938

Telephone, steel, plaster, rubber, resin and paper, 18 x 30.5 x 12.5 cm

Photo: West Dean College, part of Edward James Foundation / © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS 2017

Tove Jansson (1914-2001) – Dulwich Picture Gallery

Tove Jansson is best known outside her native Finland as the author and illustrator of the Moomin books, loved by children around the world. Yet she was also an exceptional artist, producing highly original graphic illustration and dynamic, diversely stylised paintings full of colour and life. The world’s oldest purpose-built public art gallery has brought together 150 of Jansson’s works, including much that has never before been seen in the UK.

25 October – 28 January 2018

020 8693 5254; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

Tove Jansson, Family, 1942, Oil, 89 x 116 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen.

Cézanne Portraits – National Portrait Gallery

If you think you know Cézanne, think again. Celebrated for his angular landscapes and semi-sculptural still lifes, the innovative and highly influential artist — described by both Matisse and Picasso as ‘the father of us all’ — also painted more than 200 portraits. More than 50 of them will be on display at the NPG — including works which have never before been seen in public in the UK. They range from striking portraits of his Uncle Dominique, painted in the 1860s, to his final depictions in the early 1900s of Vallier, the odd-job man who helped Cézanne in both his garden and his studio.

26 October – 11 February 2018

020 7306 0055; www.npg.org.uk

Self Portrait with Bowler Hat by Paul Cézanne, 1885-6. NY Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Impressionists in London, French Artists in Exile (1870-1904) – Tate Britain

The Impressionists are so inextricably bound up with images of French life at the end of the 19th century that it’s difficult to imagine those same sensibilities striving to capture smoggy Dickensian London on canvas. Yet from the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and through the decades of upheaval in France that followed, several French artists sought refuge across the Channel. Foremost among them was Claude Monet, who became quite an Anglophile, writing of his adopted home, ‘There is no country more extraordinary for a painter!’ You can see his shimmering, atmospheric depictions of the Thames and its bridges, as well as the Houses of Parliament, alongside works by Camille Pissarro, James Tissot, Alfred Sisley, André Derain and more.

2 November – 7 May 2018

020 7887 8888; www.tate.org.uk

Camille Pissarro (1830 – 1903)

Kew Green
1892
Oil paint on canvas
460 x 550 mm
Musee d’Orsay (Paris, France)

Modigliani – Tate Modern

When Amadeo Modigliani exhibited his paintings at the Berthe Weill Galerie in Paris in December 1917 — his first and only one-man show — the police closed it down within hours, judging the Italian artist’s work to be pornographic. In November 2015 at Christie’s in New York one of those images, Nu Couché (Reclining Nude), fetched the second-highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art — $170,405,000. Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis when he was just 35 years old — his pregnant fiancée, Jeanne Hébuterne, killed herself a day later — and left behind relatively little work. Tate Modern’s retrospective is comprehensive, featuring almost 100 works, and promises to be an unmissable survey of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists.

23 November – 2 April 2018

020 7887 8888; www.tate.org.uk

Beatrice Hastings
1915
Oil on paper
400 x 285 mm
Private Collection

Article written by Tim Pozzi, writer and editor at Christies.com

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