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Posts Tagged ‘gallery’

A First for the Louvre and an Omission in the National Gallery.

Georges de La Tour, Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop, 1645, oil on canvas, 137 x 101 cm.


Reading Art History News and the Tribune de l’Art posts about the Louvre’s acquisition of a painter, hitherto unrepresented in that museum, Jean Le Clerc, got me thinking about a glaring 17th century French omission in our own National Gallery. This is a painter who may have influenced Le Clerc, Georges de La Tour. Though the gallery has a good collection of the French school, Poussin, Claude, Mignard, Le Sueur, the Le Nain, Champaigne, Vouet, it doesn’t posses a La Tour, though it had the chance when one was offered to the gallery for a low price under Kenneth Clark’s directorship. However, Clark with typical patrician scorn dismissed La Tour’s wonderful Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop as too vulgar, even when Anthony Blunt and an influential aristocrat tried to sway Clark. It isn’t always the acquisition budget that counts in these matters.

If you’re wondering what museum now has possession of the rejected La Tour- given to it in 1948….Take a wild guess!

Room for more Gallery Warders?

National-Gallery-of-London_Interior-view_7564 The answer is a resounding yes, but despite the looming flagship Leonardo exhibition, as this Guardian article reports, the National Gallery is pressing ahead with its plans to have warders guard two rooms instead of one. This comes a few weeks after the attack on Poussin’s art, and amid claims that the gallery’s security is on a par with other leading museums. Really? Surely Artwatch UK’s Michael Daley is right to express concern at this policy. As he’s quoted in the Guardian:

"The most alert and attentive person cannot be in two places at once … and cannot see through walls." He acknowledged the gallery’s claim that perambulatory staff were more effective, but said: "The quantity of surveillance is halved whether or not its quality improves."

Meanwhile, taking a break from his coverage of the London riots, Jonathan Jones of the same newspaper  lashes out at Artwatch for even broaching the subject? In the comments section he splutters:

“This "story" is sensationalist hysteria that relies heavily on a very dubious source, ie, Artwatch UK.

Artwatch is quoted here as a neutral voice of authority on such matters. It is nothing of the sort: it is a dogmatic pressure group with a long history of picking on the National Gallery in particular.

The reporter says "such is the concern that Artwatck UK has been contacted". That makes it sound like Artwatch is a bit like the Hague court or Ofart, a cool and responsible public body.

This is a bit like a political story that said, "such is the concern that the English Defence League has been contacted."

Artwatch is not neutral, and should never be allowed to speak with unquestioned authority in any news story.”

Why? Artwatch UK is expressing the view of many people, curators, security experts, art historians, employees of the N.G., anybody interested in protecting its art, especially after the dreadful attack on the Poussin paintings. It’s a legitimate concern, and Artwatch only have the welfare of the art in mind. And do you really, Mr Jones, need to bring the English Defence League into this?

National Gallery occupied 9/12/10





Nearly every museum and art school seems to be in occupation these days.  

This time it's the National Gallery's turn.