Galleries - June 2015

towards the end ofthe month with a show ofItalian drawings ranging from the Italian Renaissance to Futurism. Back into Duke Street there is a gallery that has done much to explore and open up that still strangely neglected area ofpre- and post-war Ecole de Paris art – Whitford Fine Art. The director, Adrian Mibus, has undertaken a good deal oforiginal research in this area, as has his wife, the academic An Jo Fermon, whose most recent project is the work of Belgian-born abstract painter Joseph Lacasse (1894-1975). Close friends of Sonia and Robert Delaunay in the 1920s, Lacasse’s intense, light-filled canvases pioneered an abstract style that predated, and clearly influenced, that of his now more celebrated contemporary, Serge Poliakoff. This show and its excellent catalogue are helping finally to put the record straight. Across in Bury Street, at Paisnel Gallery, Stephen and Sylvia Paisnel do a similar kind of thing for post-war British Modernism – the gallery always has excellent examples ofits more unfamiliar figures with, this month, a special show ofthe great British 1960s Hard Edged Abstractionist, John Plumb (1927-2008). A critically very well- regarded figure at the time, Plumb was among the most original British exponents of American Colour Field Painting (he was a friend of Rothko‘s) but never achieved the longer-lasting While the old axiom about St James’s being for men and clubs, and Mayfair for women and fashion, still contains an element oftruth in it – witness all those barbers, shirts, men’s shoes and toiletries shops that still thrive south ofPiccadilly – the artistic division that once also held true, between Old Masters and Antiquities on the one hand, and 20th C. and Contemporary on the other has, over the last decade or so, completely died a death. The huge Tardis-like block of White Cube, that has dominated Mason’s Yard since 2006, is perhaps the most obvious sign of the changes that have overtaken the area in recent times, as more and more contemporary galleries, many driven south from Mayfair by Bond Street’s fashion explosion (Cork Street and a great deal else), have found highly congenial new homes here. The superb Old Master and Antiquity galleries are still very much in evidence, but are now happily jostled by the more contemporary arrivals, while in some cases, like Dickinson in Jermyn Street with their superb current show ‘Masters of Modernism’ featuring Balke, Munch and Kirkeby, have begun to branch out from Old Masters into Contemporary and Modern. The most recent arrival ofthis kind is Bernard Jacobson, whose splendidly spacious new gallery in Duke Street – in a converted garage just opposite Fortnum & Mason’s side entrance – is, this month, mounting an exhibition ofworks from William Tillyer’s ‘Palmer Series’. These are lyrical, light- filled abstract homages to his great hero, the English Romantic, Samuel Palmer. Just down the road in Mason’s Yard, the new eclecticism ofSt James’s continues apace in the galleries surrounding the great hulk of White Cube (showing Günther Förg’s Lead Paintings this month). Alan Wheatley , f or example, always have wonderful examples ofModern British painting and sculpture on show – currently some handsome post- war St Ives’ paintings by Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Paul Feiler and Bryan Wynter – with Wynter’s atmospheric ‘Sand Traverse’ being ofabsolute museum quality. On the other side ofthe yard there is something very different and rather unusual, with two smart younger generation drawings dealers, Stephen Ongpin and Guy Peppiatt, joining forces and sharing a space. Different enough in their interests – Peppiatt’s specialisation is 18th and 19th C. topographical drawings, Ongpin’s is Old Master and Modern – not to get in each other’s way so to speak, it also makes for a wide range of material on show at any given time in a really attractive and substantial gallery. Ongpin takes over again 12 GALLERIES JUNE 2015 STJAMES’S