Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque at the Royal Academy of Art
A fantastic selection of works from avant-garde artists supported by the Galerie Maeght in 50s Paris: Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque, along with some paintings from Bonnard and Matisse.
‘The art gallery opened by Aimé Maeght (1906–1981) and his wife Marguerite (1909–1977) in December 1945 became the pre-eminent post-war Parisian gallery. With a lively roster of established and younger artists and the occasional retrospective exhibition, all backed with illustrated publications written by many of the best French writers, the Maeghts set a new standard for the gallery relationship with its artists and the public.’
The exhibition thus displays various surrealist, cubist, and art nouveau works from the artists, ranging from paintings to sculptures, illustrations, lithographs and issues from the magazine edited by the Maeghts.
A relatively small display space in the Royal Academy showcases all these marvels in an apparently messy way, but cleverly arranged. I was lucky to visit it on a working day so it was pretty quiet, but I can imagine the lack of space can get quite annoying when the gallery is crowded.
I think it is easier to understand a piece of art and engage with the artist’s statement when you are aware of the context, and for that matter, putting works from several artists – who were friends, working together, or in the same era – together in the same room suddenly gives more meaning and provides better understanding of them.
Also, the whole approach of the exhibition through the patrons and dealers of the artists is pretty unusual and gives more reality to what sometimes seems very, very far for a visitor of the gallery. It might have been just across the Channel, a few decades ago, but when you see a magazine cover illustrated by Miró behind a glass, it seems quite far from your everyday world.
But see Calder’s mobile above your head, Giacometti’s skinny characters sculptures next to you and a landscape from Braque on the other side, and then have a look at this video, and you suddenly find yourself engaging a little more with the artists than in most museums.
The exhibition is running until 2 January at the Royal Academy of Art, Sackler Wing of Galleries. Tickets £10.50/Students £8.50. Book from the exhibition available from £7.50, I had to get it!
Picture above: Georges Braque, Landscape – Fields with Overcast Sky (Paysage – les champs ciel bas), 1956