Thursday, 12 November 2009

War Exhibition at the Fine Art Society

We were kindly invited to this exhibition by Dr Jonathan Black whose scholarly endeavours have added greatly to the subject of British art in the 20's, 30's and 40's. This commercial exhibition is timely, and enhanced by the loan of certain pieces to compliment the works for sale.

Although not large it has a representative selection of works from both wars. I was struck by the fact that the works are not as expensive as other genre subjects might be, although Jonathan assured me that a core of dedicated collectors kept prices decent. It is perhaps understandable that the well heeled should not want images redolent of war in their front rooms. On the other hand as, particularly during the Great War, Western Art was going through a radical period the

stylistic originality of the work is striking. Perhaps in regard to that war the conflict itself was new and terrible with the arrival or modern, total, industrialised warfare. The influence of various 'isms' can be clearly seen, with futurist, vorticist and surrealist elements clearly detectable.

The gallery was generous with their champagne and it was interesting to observe the art world at work, or rather the dealers world. There were many people we had seen before at events that Jonathan had been involved in, academics from Kingston, those interested in the period. It was curious walking to the fine arts soc via Cork Street, quite a few other galleries had openings and I recalled the amount of free wine and nibbles I had obtained in the past by shamelessly entering as a student and looking confident. Art still seems to be a popular investment even in these challenged times. Certainly if I had won the lottery I would have happily bought this startling Wadsworth print of a dazzle camouflaged ship, Jaggers superb maquette or

Nevinsons intriguing lithograph of a barrage balloon.

Alas there seems to be an unwritten rule that people like me who would spend their money on fine art, fine wine and rescuing old buildings or supporting libraries never do win.

Anyone who is in the West End anytime over the next few weeks can pop in and have a look at this exhibition which is a short walk from Regents Street and Green Park. It certainly won't be as draining or as crowded as the larger public alternatives.

Details of the exhibition can be found here:

Redlegs recommends the following hostelries and food spots in the area:

Wolseley for afternoon tea or evening Wiener Schnitzel:

L'Autre for the Polish bit of the menu, the game and the ambience:

Market Tavern for pub grub and decent prosecco:

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