THE FURY OF COLOUR: FRANCISCO ITURRINO (1864-1924)
HENRI MATISSE: JAZZ
PICASSO’S SOUTH: ANDALUSIAN REFERENCES
reviewed by Jim Burns
reviewed by Jim Burns
But there was more to Malevich than that one iconic work, and the exhibition follows him through his career as he touched on Impressionism, Cézannism, and Futurism. His influence was profound, not only in terms of the effect his paintings, but also because of his positions within various artistic institutions. But that was a role which may have led to him being suspected of “bourgeois tendencies”, among other things, by the new breed of bureaucrats determining what was acceptable as Stalin’s grip on power increased and Socialist Realism became the dominant mode in art. Malevich was imprisoned for a time in the early-1930s, bizarrely on a charge of spying, and one wonders what might have happened to him had he not died in 1935. There is some evidence discernible in his work from the 1930s to indicate that he played down its experimental aspects and adopted a less-controversial stance.
I doubt that David Burliuk is a familiar name, other than perhaps
among a few specialists in twentieth-century Russian art. He was
born in 1882, and has been called “the father of Russian Futurism”.
What is striking about Burliuk is that he seems to have involved
himself in almost every avant-garde artistic and literary movement
of his time, and he knew numerous painters and poets. He co-wrote,
with Mayakovsky, the manifesto, “A Slap in the Face of Public
Taste”, and performed as a poet, the aim being to provoke. It’s
difficult to arrive at a fair assessment of his capabilities as an
artist from the limited number of works in the exhibition, though
it’s not hard to realise that he probably made a wise move when he
It’s worth noting that the
Reviving the reputations of artists is something that needs to be
done on a regular basis, and it would seem to be the intention of
the exhibition of Francisco Iturrino’s paintings at the Museo Carmen
Thyssen. Born in
Iturrino also had a liking for large paintings of female nudes. While they’re eye-catching in some ways, they seemed to me to be mostly empty of any positive passion. The women appear to lack any real character, despite in certain cases (a group in a bath house, for example) being supposedly cheerful and active. Iturrino is claimed as “a highly original artist”, but I didn’t understand that from what I saw. His work is not unattractive in general, but it didn’t comes across as having any great individuality in terms of breaking new ground. This may be a case of a modestly talented painter being accorded more attention than he deserves.
Henri Matisse’s “Jazz” sequence has a place in art history as an example of how an elderly and ailing artist refused to stop creating and produced “brightly coloured paper cut-outs”, his stated intention being to “draw with scissors”. I’ve seen the sequence more than once, but this viewing finally convinced me of its qualities. Perhaps it was the straightforward way it was mounted on the walls, and perhaps even because a tasteful piano could be heard playing jazz in the background. I don’t usually agree with music being played in galleries, but it proved appropriate here. Whatever, something came together for me in a manner that hadn’t happened before.
Picasso’s South: Andalusian References
places him firmly in the area that helped to shape him as an
artist. With a selection of his paintings ranging from his
early day in