Galleries - July 2010

Academy, ‘The Scottish Summer Exhibition’, it is seeing the show as a means ofpromoting the wealth ofcontemporary artistic tal- ent north ofthe Border still often largely unknown to a London au- dience – Will MacLean, Helen McAlister, Jake Harvey and Alan Kilpatrick among them. The task ofeducating ignorant Sassenachs continues . . . THE FEMALE LINE Founded in 1855 at a moment when the fortunes of serious women artists were probably at their very lowest ebb (at their first exhibition in 1857 when 149 women showed 358 works many ofthem had to hide their true identities for fear of social recrimi- nation) the Society ofWomen Artists is still, despite the almost complete transformation in con- temporary attitudes, very much a thriving concern. They boast a full, 150-strong membership and are currently holding their annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries (1 to 10 July) where, as the bold image by Patricia Claridge illus- trated here makes plain, they present a very powerful argument for their continued existence even within the political correctness of the current moment. historical range is essentially 15th to mid-19th C. Even the main auction houses have now all joined in – Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s – all ofwhom will, ofcourse, be having their major Old Master sales that week. Now that’s what I call real co-operation. Finally, while we are on the sub- ject, the Russian specialists Mac- Dougall’s Fine Art Auctions, though not actually part ofeither ofthe above events, are also hold- ing a European, Old Masters, Icons and beyond exhibition at their St James’s premises from 5 to 30 July. The more the merrier! MY ART’S IN THE HIGHLANDS Founded in 1842 as Aitken Dott, the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh is Scotland’s oldest commercial art gallery. Now, to coincide with the launch ofa brand-new web- site, they are presenting a show of paintings, prints and objects cele- brating a quite remarkable history ofcommitted support to many of the country’s most distinguished artists – Sir William McTaggart, Sir William Gillies and Anne Redpath among numerous others. In short, a real box ofdelights. Meanwhile Scotland’s distin- guished visual arts ambassador in London, the Fleming Collection , is also celebrating a somewhat shorter – 10 years – but still influ- ential history with its first ever sell- ing exhibition. Entitled, with a somewhat sly reference to the rather bigger show just round the corner in Piccadilly at the Royal ANTENNAE 8. GALLERIES JULY 10 MASTER WEEK Marketing, of any kind, is always cited as one of the British econ- omy’s greatest weaknesses. Yet surely one of the principal reasons why London, year after year, suc- ceeds in retaining its pre-eminent position (seemingly effortlessly) in the international art market must lie in precisely that field, as two stunningly rich events in the West End this month demonstrate – Master Drawings London and Master Paintings Week (both 3 to 9 July). Founded ten years ago by Crispian Riley Smith, Master Drawings London has proved such a huge success in that time that it has since been copied (sic) by the Americans (Master Draw- ings New York) as well as spawn- ing the Master Paintings Week in 2009. The two events, further- more, have the nous to co-operate with each other both in terms of dates, publicity and e-mail links. It’s invidious perhaps to pick out individual galleries in either – they all look well worth a visit, depend- ing on your particular interests. In my case this certainly means see- ing the group of 1920s/30s Neue Sachlichkeit drawings at Theobald Jennings and Stern Gallery ‘s unique holdings of work by Camille Pissarro, together with some four generations of his de- cendants. Meanwhile the 28 galleries in the Painting Week will – like the 22 in Master Drawings – all be holding special displays during the event (eg Whitfield Fine Art’s ‘Caravaggio’s Friends and Foes’, reviewed in our last issue) though in this case the Trish Claridge ‘Adjoa Andoh’ Society of Women Artists at the Mall Galleries Hanna Nagel ‘Sitzende mit Pagenschnitt’ Theobald Jennings