John-Paul Stonard

John-Paul Stonard is working on a book about the Chatsworth House collection.

At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard, 16 April 2020

There is​ something perverse about the imagery of the Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946). His neatly made ink drawings and watercolours of objects, rooms and seascapes, until recently on display at the Royal Academy (the exhibition can be viewed online) convey a psychological feeling for the inert, but little or no emotional connection to the things they depict. Women stand...

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard, 20 February 2020

The​ West Bund quarter of Shanghai runs along a bend of the Huangpu river, about eight kilometres south of the city’s downtown. There were once docks here, with a large facility for mixing concrete. Planes landed at Lunghua airfield. As industry moved out from the city, the riverside became available to developers. West Bund is now Shanghai’s art quarter, and an annual art fair...

When​ Count Harry Kessler met Edvard Munch in Berlin early in 1895, Munch was ‘still young’, Kessler wrote, but seemed ‘worn out, tired, and in both a psychic and physical sense, hungry’. Munch was 31 and already known for his strange and shocking paintings, but he had yet to make any money from them. Kessler came up with a fund-raising scheme: a portfolio of prints...

At the Guggenheim Bilbao: Marc Chagall

John-Paul Stonard, 19 July 2018

Moishe Shagal​, later known as Marc Chagall, was raised in the last years of the 19th century in Vitebsk, one of the shtetls in the Pale of Settlement, the part of the Russian Empire to which the Jewish population had been confined since the days of Catherine the Great. He is known as a storyteller in painting and a colourist, but in the early years of his career he was above all a Jewish...

At the Courtauld: Chaïm Soutine

John-Paul Stonard, 30 November 2017

In his biography​ of the painter Chaïm Soutine, Monroe Wheeler tells the story of Soutine’s obsession with Rembrandt’s Woman Bathing of 1654, which shows his wife, Hendrickje Stoffels, standing in a pool of water, gingerly hitching up her skirt. Rather than copy the original, Soutine took the unorthodox approach of restaging the scene and painting his own version...

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