Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Miro, Calder, Giacometti and Braque at the Royal Academy

Burlington House, Piccadilly, is the home of Britain's Royal Academy of Arts. An imposing entryway leads into a courtyard surrounded by the building on all sides. Inside, an aura of power and tradition emanates in almost tangible waves from massive marble columns and dark old wood. A gracious staircase leads to the first floor, which contains a shop, and from there an incongruous glass staircase with open treads leads to the second floor and the exhibition I had come to see.

The show was called Miro, Calder, Giacometti and Braque. The catalogue explains the grouping -- the full title on the catalogue is Behind the Mirror, Aimé Maeght and His Artists, Bonnard, Matisse, Miro, Calder, Giacometti, Braque. It says, "The Galerie Maeght in Paris was one of the most influential and creative galleries of the modern era and its founder a key figure in the art world of post-war France." In fact most of the works in the show are from the collection of the Maeght family and from their Fondation Margeurite et Aimé Maeght in the south of France.

It proved to be a wonderful show, well worth the visit and the £9 admission price. The only problem was a touch of overcrowding at the time I was there -- the show itself was crammed with art, on the walls and in glass cases, with almost no space between the various pieces on display. The rooms were crowded with people too, so much so that at times it was difficult to look at a piece of art without feeling that one was in someone's way. In the end I kind of gave up and bought the illustrated catalogue to peruse at leisure without feeling jostled and pushed. But I lingered by and very much liked a couple of Giacometti paintings, looking as fresh as if they were done yesterday, and some books of poetry illustrated by Miro and Alexander Calder and published by Maeght. The highlights of the show were Braque's medium to large "Atelier" paintings which I'm glad to have seen, they are very fascinating and beautiful.

A glimpse of two Braque paintings in the catalogue


Gesa said...

Hi Mary,
I just caught up with the OCA site and found the list of OCA bloggers - very helpful!
I was in London a couple of weeks back and very intrigued to go and see this one, but opted for Rothko instead - without any regret. I like Calders mobiles a lot, I saw an exhibition of his work alongside Miro's in Basle a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Mary Adam said...

Hi Gesa, how about that, I've been a regular reader of your blog for quite a while now, by email. It's a great way to keep in touch with fellow OCA travellers, not a substitute for the website but a sort of extra dimension. Thanks for commenting!

Gesa said...

Hm, that's very nice. I had noticed the trin/tob flag in my blog visits after I had started with OCA but not really since, but hadn't figured you may have subscribed.
Now that the printmaking is ongoing I have OCA on my radar much more...