Reviews

Face masks – the enigmatic art of Helene Schjerfbeck

The first UK show dedicated to the Finnish painter reveals an artist fascinated with questions of image and identity

25 Jul 2019
Moret, Winter (1895), Maurice Cullen.

French Canadians – how Impressionism caught on in the Great White North

This welcome survey of Canadian artists shows how the quintessentially Parisian style was imported and reimagined

25 Jul 2019
Krishna and Radha walking by the Jumna by moonlight having exchanged clothes (detail; c. 1820), Kangra. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Artists anonymous – what does it mean for a work’s maker to be unknown?

A group of objects by unknown artists from around the world and across the centuries makes for a catalogue of human ingenuity

24 Jul 2019
Southend Pier (c. 1882–84), James McNeill Whistler. Freer Gallery of Art

When Whistler discovered watercolour

Financial troubles drove the artist to the medium – but its atmospheric possibilities suited him well

23 Jul 2019
Igor Stravinsky and Mstislav Rostropovich (c. 1959) and (late 1960s), Milein Cosman. Royal College of Music, London Photos: Justin Piperger; © Milein Cosman

The unsung art of Milein Cosman

Cosman was a fine portraitist who captured the leading cultural figures of her time

22 Jul 2019
Keith Haring with one of his drawing series, photographed in January 1982 by Joseph Szkodzinski.

Street-smart – how Keith Haring took art out of the gallery

From subway drawings to T-shirt designs, the artist was determined to make his work accessible to all

19 Jul 2019
Set design for the backcloth in the final scene of The Firebird (1954), Natalia Goncharova. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

‘Russian to a T’ – Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern, reviewed

Avant-garde as she was, the artist was also deeply influenced by Russian folk traditions and history

17 Jul 2019
Untitled (Candida) (1965), David Smith. Installation view at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2019.

‘Drawing in space’ – the ingenious structures of David Smith

The AbEx sculptor found endless possibilities in the welding and painting of steel

17 Jul 2019
Precarity (2017) (still), John Akomfrah, Courtesy Lisson Gallery; © Smoking Dogs Films

A haunting resurrection of the man who invented jazz

New Orleans bandleader Charles ‘Buddy’ Bolden cuts an enigmatic figure in John Akomfrah’s elegiac film

16 Jul 2019
Elements, Ignis’ (c. 1575/80), Joris Hoefnagel. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Meet the beetles! The insect drawings of Joris Hoefnagel

The Dutch polymath’s lifelike drawings are masterpieces of wit and invention

15 Jul 2019
The fetus in the womb (detail; c. 1511), Leonardo da Vinci.

‘Rich insights into a restless mind’ – Leonardo’s drawings at the Queen’s Gallery

Leonardo’s art may be universal, but his notes and sketches also reveal a man firmly rooted in his age

12 Jul 2019
GRIMA – Self with Cat (The Scream) (1986), Annegret Soltau.

From Dickens to Dada – a marvellous mishmash of collage across time

The first show ever to focus on the art of cutting and pasting offers an impressively expansive view of the practice

11 Jul 2019
Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, 1785, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met’s French masterpieces now have the catalogue they deserve

Katharine Baetjer’s catalogue is a focused account of the museum’s 18th-century French paintings

11 Jul 2019
Map of the world from 'The Book of Curiosities' (MS Arab c. 90), copy from c. 1200, Egypt, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

What the world looked like to a mapmaker in medieval Cairo

The discovery of an important manuscript reshapes our understanding of early Islamic culture

10 Jul 2019
A Seated, Elegantly Dressed Lady Eating from a Plate (1878), Adolph Menzel, courtesy Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

Scene stealers – the candid sketches of Adolph Menzel

The virtuoso draughtsman carried several sketchbooks at all times and liked to draw standing up

9 Jul 2019
Speed (1922), Claude Flight.

Lino sheets and London streets – the pioneers of modern British printmaking

For a brief period between the wars, the Grosvenor School in Pimlico was the site of a printmaking revolution

8 Jul 2019
Self-portrait with Brush (detail; 2010–13), Maria Lassnig.

Selfie shtick – the many faces of Maria Lassnig

The Austrian painter dedicated her career to translating bodily sensations into visual form – often through self-portraits

5 Jul 2019
Ethel Mairet's workgirls and apprentices at her ‘Gospels’ workshop, Ditchling, in the 1930s.

Handy work – the business of craft in interwar Britain

An exhibition at the Ditchling Museum explores the interwoven lives and pioneering work of designer-artisans in Sussex and beyond

5 Jul 2019
Lapidary and ‘figured’ stones, corals, fossils, semi-precious stones and minerals (c. 1630–40), Vincenzo Leonardi

Pelicans, fossils and fingered lemons – recreating the paper museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo

An exhibition of drawings from the 17th-century collection makes the case for a visual approach to learning – whether in science, history or art

4 Jul 2019
The Storm (1906), Emil Nolde.

Shattered hopes and a descent into hell – German Expressionist prints in Glasgow

A remarkable collection of prints anticipate and address Germany’s turmoil after the First World War

3 Jul 2019
Trilogy (Part One), Woman in Blue; Trilogy (Part Two) Woman in Black; Trilogy (Part Three) Woman in Red (1982–86), Claudette Johnson. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © Claudette Johnson

Claudette Johnson’s body of work feels as necessary as ever

The artist’s depictions of black women and their experience are on show at Modern Art Oxford

28 Jun 2019
Triptych of the Virgin of Montserrat (detail; c. 1470–75), Bartolomé Bermejo.

An itinerant Iberian master – Bartolomé Bermejo at the National Gallery, reviewed

A small but dazzling display offers viewers in the UK a rare glimpse of a painter who fused Spanish and Flemish influences

25 Jun 2019

Putting Renaissance paintings in their place

A new study of framing devices is illuminating, but devotes surprisingly little space to actual picture frames

21 Jun 2019
(1928), Lotte Laserstein. Private collection. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Is it time to take Lotte Laserstein at face value?

The painter’s portraits may not be as ambiguous as this show in Berlin seems to suggest

20 Jun 2019