Programme Sep – Dec 2019
Theme: Influences from Elsewhere on British Art
Illustrated Seminars and Day Visits
Wednesday 4 September 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Britain and Art from Elsewhere
Illustrated seminar by Dr Katie Faulkner
Taking a long view, from the Roman occupation, when imported goods and settlers from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa transformed the material culture of Britain, to the Renaissance royal courts, which brought Netherlandish artists such as Rubens, Van Dyck and Lely to London, we will explore the British attitudes to art from elsewhere. In the seminar wewill also discuss the importance of Italian art, particularly in relation to the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the collecting practices associated with the Grand Tour. When considering intercultural exchange, it is impossible to ignore the spread of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. The popularity of Indian art and design can be directly attributed to the operations of the East India Company, for example. New reproductive technologies and the international exhibitions of the 19th century in London, Paris and the USA, saw British artists’ work being exhibited in new contexts and ever more possibilities for artistic dialogue. Finally, we will look at examples of 20th century British artists responding to European movements such as Cubism, Futurism and International Modernism, and the post-war influence of American art, seen in the work of artists such as Hamilton and Hockney.
Monday 9 to Thursday 12 September 2019: Dublin – Ireland’s Georgian Jewel
Tour details circulated separately
Wednesday 18 September 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Hans Holbein the Younger: Renaissance Style Art for England
Illustrated seminar by Hendrika Foster
Holbein, born in Augsburg 1497/8, arrived in England in 1526 with a letter of introduction from Erasmus to Thomas More, following a highly successful decade working in Basel. More than any other artist he would transform English portraiture for the Tudor Court and for the upper classes, as he skilfully adapted his Germanic style to create the images required in the new Protestant England. He was celebrated in England as an inspired artistic genius, supremely skilled in the art of illusion. With no native school of art established, England would prove fertile ground for Holbein’s skills in design in printing, silver, jewellery and weapons.
Humanist classical learning, ‘The New Learning’, now provided the basis for the education of courtiers and also the new fashion for the ‘antique work’ depicted in art and design, Renaissance-style design inspired by the classical past, at which Holbein excelled. Henry VIII appointed him court painter and his work was in demand among the courtiers, merchants and others living in and around the City of London. This new form of imagery would provide the perfect form of propaganda for England during an increasingly prosperous but also turbulent period as Henry broke away from the Catholic church.
Wednesday 25 September 2019: Visit to Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
We will travel by coach from Winchester to Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, arriving for coffee and pastries at 10.30 before a 45 minute talk on the German artist, Walter Nessler, who emigrated to Britain in the 1930’s. The talk will be followed by a guided tour of an exhibition of the artist’s work, which is part of the nationwide Insiders/Outsiders Arts Festival taking place in 2019 to celebrate refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe and their contribution to British culture.There is an option to have a hot lunch in the gallery’s restaurant. Alternatively, participants may prefer to lunch elsewhere in the city. In the afternoon members can either opt for independent viewing in the gallery or for a visit to the Cathedral or other attraction in the city. We will leave by coach around 4pm. A detailed schedule will be issued nearer the date.
Maximum number: 25
Wednesday 2 October 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Influences of Japanese Art on 18th and 19th Century British Art
Illustrated seminar by Dr Katie Faulkner
For over two centuries, the rulers of Japan had followed a strict policy of isolationism, only trading with the Netherlands. In the 1850s, however, the United States aggressively pursued the opening of Japanese ports. In 1853, Japan began to trade with the rest of the world and gradually its art and decorative objects found their way to Paris. Manet was the first artist to respond to Japanese prints, and as Japanese objects were imported into Britain, artists found them a major new source of inspiration. This lecture will explore motifs and materials of Japanese art which artists such as Whistler found so appealing. As well as examining the influence of Japan in painting, we will also look at the fashion for Japanese objects and styles in the decorative arts and interiors. Case studies will include the work of designers such as Christopher Dresser, who began to collect Japanese objects after seeing them exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition, and EW Godwin, who was famous for his Anglo-Japanese furniture. We will also look at houses such as 25 Cadogan Gardens in London, worked on by Japanese craftsmen, and The Hill House near Glasgow, one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest domestic interiors.
Wednesday 16 October 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
From Warsaw to Wales and Beyond: The Art and Life of Josef Herman
Illustrated seminar by Monica Bohm-Duchen
Born in Warsaw in 1911 into a working-class Jewish family, Josef Herman arrived in Britain (via Belgium) in 1940, settling first in Glasgow and then in the South Welsh mining village of Ystradgynlais. By the early 1950s, known mainly for his images of Welsh miners, he had established himself as a major figure in contemporary British art. Throughout his long life (he died in London in 2000) he remained true to his conviction that art and morality should never be far apart, that technique, though important, should always be subservient to subject-matter and that working men and women – whether in Poland, Wales, Suffolk, Mexico or Israel – embody a profound and universal human archetype. Yet, as Monica Bohm-Duchen, author in 2009 of the first comprehensive monograph on Herman, will reveal, his oeuvre is far more diverse and complex than even his admirers will have suspected. This talk precedes the first major exhibition of Herman’s work for many years, to be held at Flowers East Gallery, London, between November 2019 and February 2020.
Friday 25 October 2019: Visit to Tate Britain for Bauhaus and William Blake Exhibitions
Travelling independently, we will meet at Tate Britain for coffee at 10.40 before a guided tour of the Bauhaus exhibition which is part of the Insiders/Outsiders Art Festival celebrating the contribution to British culture by refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. This exhibition will feature examples of art and design inspired by the Bauhaus movement which originated in Germany after the First World War. The tour will be followed by a 60 minute lecture focusing on the work of the artist William Blake. A buffet lunch will be provided after the lecture.At 2.30 the group will visit the special exhibition William Blake: The Artist. This exhibition includes around 300 works by the artist featuring a comprehensive range of his watercolours, paintings and prints. A detailed schedule will be issued nearer the date.
Maximum number: 25
Wednesday 6 November 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Postcolonial Influences on British Art
Illustrated seminar by Barry Venning
In the postcolonial and post-Windrush era, it is no longer possible to write or speak confidently about ‘Britishness’ in British Art. Throughout the post-war years, and in spite of racism, neglect and marginalisation, some of the most important contributions to the British art scene have been made by artists of African, Caribbean or Asian origin, such as Sonia Boyce, Rasheed Araeen, Keith Piper, Lubaina Himid, Chris Ofili, Yinka Shonibare, John Akomfrah or the Singh Twins. Although all those mentioned on this short list enjoy prominence and critical respect – it includes OBEs, CBEs, two Turner Prize winners and two Royal Academicians – their status and influence has been hard won. In order to promote their work, British artists of African, Caribbean or Asian descent have opened their own galleries, published magazines (such as Savacou, Black Phoenix or Variant), formed co-operatives (such as The Caribbean Artists’ Movement or the Black Art Group) or curated epoch-making exhibitions, such as Rasheed Araeen’s The Other Story (1989). Through these activities and through their work, which often, but not exclusively, deals with Empire, ethnicity and identity, they have partly set the agenda for the visual culture of late 20th and 21st century Britain.
Wednesday 20 November 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
James Tissot, the Anglophile Frenchman
Illustrated seminar by Krystyna Matyjaszkiewicz
Jacques-Joseph Tissot, who was calling himself James by the time he went to study art in Paris, numbered among his friends and acquaintances modern-life and historicising artists including Degas, Manet, Morisot, Meissonier, Stevens, Whistler and British artists studying in Paris, such as Du Maurier. He also knew writers, musicians, composers, actors and producers; popular songs and literature were to be a continuing inspiration. Tissot’s earliest influences came from Flemish and German paintings and prints, but he was especially drawn to British pictures and was among the earliest collectors of Japanese art. This seminar will look at the influences on Tissot’s work, as well as his influence on British art through the paintings and etchings he produced during an eleven-year stay in London, between the traumas of Paris Siege and Commune and the death of his beloved partner, Kathleen Newton. Tissot’s creation of pictures that appealed to British buyers led to jealousies among artists. Rejection of major Tissot works from the Royal Academy was partly due to concerns about French influence on British art. What did some consider ‘too French’ about his work, and why did the French think it was ‘too English’? These questions, and Tissot’s innovative approach to modern-life painting, will be explored.
Wednesday 11 December 2019, 10.30-12.30, Winchester Discovery Centre
Picasso and British Modernism
Illustrated seminar by Richard Stemp
After a visit to the studio of Pablo Picasso in 1914 Vanessa Bell wrote, “I came to the conclusion that he is probably one of the greatest geniuses that has ever lived”. By the time Bell was writing, Picasso was already 33, and the first two phases of cubism were about to end with the outbreak of the First World War, and yet the first painting by the Spanish master to enter the Tate’s collection was not purchased until 1933. Even then, without the signature, no one would
recognise the artist of this floral still life, so conservative was the Institution’s choice.
It was Vanessa’s husband, Clive Bell, who in 1911 had purchased the first painting by Picasso to enter a British Collection: the Bloomsbury Group were the first to be influenced by the shifting styles of this maverick genius. Wyndham Lewis was to follow, and after the war, artists no longer had to go to Paris to meet him in person, as he came to London with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes while designing the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat.
The next British artists to fall under his pervasive spell were Ben Nicholson and Henry Moore, and when Guernica toured Britain in 1938 and 1939 as a plea for help from the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, it proved a touchstone for artists of the next generation such as Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland.
To this day, David Hockney cites Picasso as a formative influence on his style, and he produced some of his most brilliant work in relationship to the older master. During the course of this seminar we will track the influence of Picasso’s work on his British contemporaries, and explore the counterpoint which plays alongside his success – the British Establishment’s refusal to accept his genius.