Sunday, 11 July 2010

Various news and impressions from London

I have recently been in London, where there are several good exhibitions worth seeing this summer. The highlight is in my opinion “Victoria & Albert: Art & Love” at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, an excellent exhibition which explores Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s interest in the arts – what the arts meant to them and what they meant to the arts. The exhibition is on until 31 October.
At the Victoria and Albert Museum there is currently an exhibition on Princess Grace of Monaco, titled “Grace Kelly: Style Icon”, which shows dresses, hats, shoes, handbags and jewellery worn by the film star-turned-princess. It closes on 26 September.
Also at the V&A was the exhibition “Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill” about Walpole’s neo-Gothic country house, which will soon re-open to the public at last after years of restoration work. This exhibition ended on 4 July.
In London this week and the last weekend have been marked by the so-called “Master Paintings Week”, which concluded with great art auctions at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and other auction houses and art dealers. Much great art to see at the sales exhibitions, including works by Rubens, Franz Hals and Turner – a landscape by the latter was sold for nearly £ 28 million to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Also on show at Christie’s was the Althorp Attic Sale – mostly junk sorted out by Lord Spencer while cleaning up the attic of Althorp House, but also some interesting items. To accompany the sale Lord Spencer has also written a richly illustrated article for this month’s issue of The World of Interiors.
Last Thursday (1 July) was the 49th birthday of Lord Spencer’s late sister Diana, Princess of Wales. Daily Mail ran a picture of their sisters, Lady Jane McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, looking distinctively elderly, the youngest one entirely grey-haired, which made one reflect on the passing of time. Outside Kensington Palace several floral tributes to the Princess had been left at the gates (second photo).
Also worth noting on the art scene is the announcement that Charles Saatchi upon his retirement will donate the Saatchi Gallery and its collection of contemporary art – some 200 works estimated at £ 25 million – to the British nation. The complete permanent collection will be shown in 2012 at the gallery, which is located at the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea (first photo), and may thereafter also be lent to other galleries. Mr Saatchi has decided that upon his retirement the gallery’s name will change to the Museum of Contemporary Art, London (MOCA London).

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