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A Likely Story

Frank Kermode, 25 January 1996

Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 
by Michael Auping, John Elderfield and Susan Sontag, edited by Marla Price.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £28, October 1995, 0 500 09256 7
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Howard Hodgkin 
by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
Thames and Hudson, 192 pp., £24.95, October 1994, 0 500 27769 9
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... an oblique and unsolicited tribute. There is evidence of this persistent dialogue of the deaf in John Hollander’s excellent book, The Gazer’s Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art, a learned study of the tradition of ekphrasis – poetic description of paintings – illustrated by a ‘gallery’ of paintings and their tributary poems: Aretino on ...

Relentless Intimacy

T.J. Clark: Cezanne’s Portraits, 25 January 2018

Cézanne Portraits 
National Portrait Gallery, London, until 11 February 2019Show More
Cézanne Portraits 
National Gallery of Art, Washington, 25 March 2018 to 1 July 2018Show More
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... a Cafetière as sister to the immured (but undefeated) heroines of Beckett’s late monologues. John Elderfield, curator of the Portraits show, thinks the first statement of the ‘as if they were apples’ cliché may have been Charles Morice’s in 1905. Morice was the translator of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, so ‘loss of world’ was ...

The Big Show

Nicholas Penny, 25 March 1993

Henri Matisse: A Retrospective 
by John Elderfield.
Thames and Hudson, 479 pp., £48, September 1992, 0 500 09231 1
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Henri Matisse 1904-1917 
by Yves-Alain Bois.
Centre Pompidou, 524 pp., frs 220, February 1993, 2 85850 722 8
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... painted in New York. American abstract art of the Fifties and Sixties owed much to Matisse. John Elderfield claims in his long introductory essay in the New York catalogue that ‘Matisse was alone when he began to discover that the very coloured stuff of which paintings are made can have an independent reality no less bodied and emotionally ...

It’s Modern but is it contemporary?

Hal Foster, 16 December 2004

... the museum after its redesign by the Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. In the New Yorker John Updike likened its presence to ‘an invisible cathedral’, but it is closer to an abstract palace. The main access is now nearer Sixth than Fifth Avenue, and you enter from either 53rd or 54th Street into a lobby, paced with white columns, that cuts all ...

Figures in Rooms, Rooms with Figures

Peter Campbell: Bonnard, 19 March 1998

by Timothy Hyman.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £7.95, February 1998, 0 500 20310 5
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by Sarah Whitfield and John Elderfield.
Tate Gallery, 272 pp., £35, June 1998, 1 85437 243 2
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... of its maturity’, without trying to find validation for that style in personal tragedy, as John Berger apparently did. For Berger, Hyman writes, ‘the late nudes were the sole redeeming component in an oeuvre otherwise “intimate, contemplative, privileged”; it was the “tragedy” of his relationship with Marthe that “ensured his survival as a ...


Hal Foster: Curation, 4 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... Museum of Modern Art in New York has had a string of such figures, from William Rubin to John Elderfield to Leah Dickerman). Today the more telling split is between modern and contemporary fields (the latter has no exact birthdate – 1970, 1980, 1989), but this is a schism less between the university and the museum than between scholarly ...


Tim Hilton: Art Talk, 19 November 1992

... of Modern Art in New York has started to issue a series called Studies in Modern Art, edited by John Elderfield (who was born in Middlesbrough and is another veteran of the Conceptualist/Modernist art school battles of circa 1970). The first of them, American Art of the 1960s, contains seven essays and is like a heavily illustrated, hardback academic ...

Mayhem at Millbank

David Sylvester: The new hang at the Tate Britain (2000), 18 May 2000

... temporary hang by a small team led by one of the very best living historians of modern art, John Elderfield, of works of 1880 to 1920 in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. I cannot say much about its most hotly debated section, ‘People’, because my only sight of it was an hour’s visit hot from the airport on the night it ...

Mass equals pigment

Julian Bell: Cezanne’s Puzzles, 16 February 2023

Tate Modern, until 12 March 2023Show More
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... in July 2020. Glancingly, the Tate Modern captioning alludes to its insights. The thesis of John Elderfield’s Cezanne: The Rock and Quarry Paintings, which served as the Princeton show’s catalogue (Yale, £35), turned on Cezanne’s formative twenties, prior to his teaming up with Pissarro in Normandy. Back in Aix, his discussion circle had ...

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