Exhibition: Masters of Modern Art from The Hermitage

A first peek at this exhibition at AGNSW. It opened on Saturday, mum and I just happened to be at the gallery (an excellent lecture by Susannah Fullerton), so we went for a quick reconnoitre.

It’s an interesting comparison and companion to the recent MoMA at NGV (15-Sep-2018). Both exhibitions start in the 1880s, but only a few at AGNSW go beyond the First World War compared to the up-to-the-minute NGV. I think all the works at AGNSW are wall-based paintings and drawings, while the NGV included sculpture, textiles, film, furniture and industrial products. The NGV felt like an illustrated book on the History of Modern Western Art, with very few artists represented more than once. The AGNSW exhibition is much more focused, and my initial impression is that it is more idiosyncratic as many of the works were originally selected by a small number of private collectors. And that, I think, could be this new exhibition’s strength – that it isn’t scholarly and balanced and broad, that there is passion and partisanship, that it has space and material for eight works by Matisse, eight by Picasso, four each by Kandinsky, Derain and I think Cezanne (with the inclusion of “our” painting). More visits will test my theories.

For now, a taster with a few works that particularly caught me.

Georges Dupuis
Notre Dame embankment, Le Havre
1908

Wassily Kandinsky
Landscape: Dunaberg near Murnau
1913

Henri Matisse
Woman on a terrace
1906

The images above are from https://www.arthermitage.org/, and like all images are pale and dull imitations of the originals. The texture, the play of light, the sense of scale, the feeling of sharing space with the artists… for those, get yourself to Sydney (it closes 3 March 2019).

The selection in this post shows my current passion and partisanship. Colour, contour, drawing. The energy and excitement of diagonal lines. From the website on the work by Matisse: “Like colour, drawing is an important element in the painting and plays an active role in the rhythmic organisation of the picture surface.
“Giving an energetic outline to the horizontal balustrade, the yachts on the water, the soft hills and comfortable figure of his wife, Matisse creates a world in which we feel both the beat of the pulse of life, and majestic calm.”

Somehow that, and Jane’s “drawing” of a shirt (14-Oct-2018), and all my recent experiments and components… there’s something there pulling me…

1 Response to “Exhibition: Masters of Modern Art from The Hermitage”



  1. 1 Sculpture by the Sea 2018 | Fibres of Being Trackback on October 28, 2018 at 7:42 pm

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