Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Double dinner

This afternoon I attended the opening of Towards Modernity: Three Centuries of British Painting at the Beijing World Art Museum. It's an unusual exhibition in that all the works are from a loose consortium of small-to-medium sized museums in the north-west of England, spearheaded by Bury Art Museum. One might think that this would be rather limiting for a big survey show of British art in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It's true, it doesn't include many of the major, iconic works which reside in the big national institutions, but it does include most of the major names: Reynolds, Constable, Turner, Whistler, Burne-Jones, Epstein, Piper, Hepworth, Moore, Freud etc. 
White Mountain (1888)
The big surprise was the number of artists I'd never heard of. Loads of them. And mostly surprisingly good. For example: a very abstract landscape painting by someone called William Stott-of-Oldham. (He wasn't a Lord or anything; he just called himself that to differentiate himself from another Lancastrian painter, Edward Stott). It's called White Mountain, from 1888, but looks like it could have been painted now. Anyway, if you'll pardon the pun, it all hangs together very well. But the really great thing is that it's going on to five other cities.
This was followed by two dinners: an early one at the museum (which I tried to pick at rather than devour), and a later one across town with Liz, my cousin David & his wife Oddveig. They both work for Shell, met in Norway, have been based there for the last ten years, but have just moved to Beijing. So we're 'family'... but, apart from a few family reunions, weddings and funerals, we barely know each other. Nice to be reacquainted actually. 
I returned home stuffed.

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