Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Through American (and French) Eyes

If you happen to find yourself in Edinburgh between now and 8th September I can strongly recommend a visit to the National Gallery where the free exhibition, 'Through American Eyes' features exquisite oil sketches by that brilliant painter of light and atmosphere, Frederic Church. His full scale paintings are amazing, but the immediacy of these sketches show how deep his mastery truly ran. I don't know much about the life of Church, but this exhibition has inspired me to learn more.

The brushwork in these sketches is reminiscent of Singer Sargent, somewhat fitting as Sargent's 'Lady Agnew of Lochnaw' hangs in the room next door. At the exhibition entrance a small sign informs us we are not allowed to photograph Church's work, which prompted me to ask a guide whether we could photograph the Scottish collection. To my delight, she said yes, without flash. So here is my photo of one of my all time favourite paintings, Lady Agnew.

Opposite Lady Agnew is a small, beautiful painting by a lesser known French Impressionist, Jean-Louis Forain. I've never noticed this painting before and only vaguely recall the name in some dim distant memory of a half digested education, but I don't understand how I could have walked past it so many times. Stunning. I will now follow the likes of Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec in becoming a devotee and ardent admirer!