Apollo Magazine

Around the galleries – London Art Week takes a musical turn, plus other highlights

The dealers of Mayfair and St James’s have banded together with the Philharmonia Orchestra for a special series of concerts this year

A young lady playing the tambourine, possibly Miriam the prophetess, sister of Moses (detail; first quarter of the 17th century), Pseudo-Caroselli. Agnews, London

A young lady playing the tambourine, possibly Miriam the prophetess, sister of Moses (detail; first quarter of the 17th century), Pseudo-Caroselli. Agnews, London

From the July/August 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here

London Art Week

‘After lockdown, we needed to find new ways of working together,’ says Luce Garrigues, acting director of London Art Week. This year’s event (3–8 July) sees a partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra and arts hub Cromwell Place. A trio of the Philharmonia’s principal players will perform four chamber concerts, riffing off the works on display, from Elizabethan portraits at Weiss gallery to Mozart memorabilia at Ben Elwes Fine Art. 

The hope is for a shot in the arm for both the local art market and the classical music world in this challenging economic climate – a way of ‘trading possibilities’, says Garrigues, while Bekah Cork, the Philharmonia’s head of concerts and residencies, highlights the prospect of ‘finding new audiences’. There’s also what Garrigues calls the more ‘romantic’ side of the partnership, which Cork refers to as ‘the thrill of taking world-class musicians out of the concert hall’ and into the intimate gallery space.  

At its core, London Art Week remains a chance for the city’s independent dealers to show off the varied fruits of their scholarship. Highlights include Miles Wynn Cato’s show of rediscovered 18th-century British paintings at Cromwell Place and James Mackinnon’s presentation of an unrecorded, immaculately preserved watercolour by John Robert Cozens. 

But the leitmotif of this year’s event is, perhaps inevitably, music and dance, which Ben Elwes in particular has embraced. The gallery’s exhibition ‘Mozart and Beethoven: Portraits and Personality’ features remarkable pieces, such as an oil of a cherubic Mozart conducting a starling – the composer kept one as a pet, taking inspiration from its vocal mimicry in pieces like A Musical Joke (1787). There’s also the only known bronze of Beethoven’s life mask taken directly from the plaster cast, as well as a bronze cast of Chopin’s left hand taken on his deathbed, demonstrating the slender fingers that enabled the pianist to combine keys in ways others physically could not. 

A young lady playing the tambourine, possibly Miriam the prophetess, sister of Moses (first quarter of the 17th century), Pseudo-Caroselli. Agnews, London

Elsewhere, Agnews offers a discomfiting depiction by the Roman Caravaggist known as the Pseudo-Caroselli, of A young lady playing the tambourine – perhaps Miriam the prophetess, Moses’ sister, or perhaps an anonymous courtesan. She is in a state of partial undress, with an anguished expression and a feathered cap atop her head, set before a backdrop of austere mountains and brooding sky. 

Danny Katz presents more light-hearted fare: a patinated plaster caricature by the Parisian satirist Jean-Pierre Dantan, known as Dantan Jeune. La Loge Anglaise (1834) stitches up four English aristocrats – among them Lord Adolphus FitzClarence, son of William IV – snoozing their way, in a bored and drunken stupor, through a performance of The Barber of Seville. One can only hope that the lights of London’s art world today offer a somewhat more distinguished reception for the Philharmonia.  

London Art Week takes place in the galleries of Mayfair and St James’s from 3–8 July. 

Gallery highlights

William Turnbull: Centenary Retrospective
29 June–20 July
Offer Waterman at No. 9 Cork Street, London

The Dundee-born sculptor and painter kept in step with the changing post-war art scene throughout his life, from his early Brancusian-inspired sculptures to monumental colour field paintings of the 1950s (Fig. 2); this survey explores both his chameleonic shifts in style and his use of a few constant motifs, such as horses and human heads.

10-1958 (1958), William Turnbull. Offer Waterman, London

Hako Hankson: On the Refugees’ Path
Until 30 July
OH Gallery, Dakar

Self-taught artist Hankson, whose father was a religious notable of the Bafang community in the Cameroon Grassfields, adapts traditional motifs drawn from masks, statues and totem poles in sparely drawn but richly layered paintings that speak directly to present-day politics. This show takes its cues from the artist’s own experience of aiding Congolese refugees, while incorporating the experience of refugees worldwide.

Nicole Eisenman: (Untitled) Show
Until 29 July
Hauser & Wirth, New York

The French-American painter, known for their monumental figurative oil paintings that are Boschian in imaginative scope, presents a range of works completed in the last three years that touch on everything from the inner life of their cat Edie to the legacy of the abolitionist movement. At the centre of the exhibition is a sprawling sculpture, Maker’s Muck, which offers an insight into the teeming messiness of the artist’s mind. 

The Collage Principle:
From Arp to West
28 July–31 August
Galerie Thomas Salis, Salzburg

Following a display at TEFAF back in June, Galerie Thomas Salis presents more than 70 works that chart the use of collage throughout history, featuring a succession of 20th-century avant-garde artists, from Picasso to Andy Warhol. Highlights include the first ever collage made by Jean (Hans) Arp in 1914, as well as Czech artist Jiri Kolar’s visceral reflections on life under Communist rule.

Avant ma naissance (1914), Jean (Hans) Arp. Galerie Thomas Salis, Salzburg

Fairs in focus

Monaco Art Week
12–17 July
Various venues, Monaco

The galleries and auction houses of Monaco welcome art lovers to their glitzy strip of the Riviera for the summer shows. For Italian Old Masters, head to Moretti Fine Art; for modern sculpture, look for M.F. Toninelli. Alongside  the gallery displays, big-name international galleries are also having their moment in the sun, presenting contemporary exhibitions at the Art Monte Carlo fair, which takes place in the Grimaldi Forum from 14–16 July. 

Knokke Art Fair
6–15 August
Grand Casino Knokke 

Decked out with a 72m-long mural by René Magritte and a seven-tonne Murano crystal chandelier, the Grand Casino Knokke is a lavish location for this annual presentation of art and design in the Belgian seaside resort. This year, the central ‘highlights’ exhibition includes works from 10 of the most important private collections of contemporary art in Belgium. Artists on show include Marcel Duchamp, Giuseppe Penone and Barbara Kruger. 

From the July/August 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here

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