Sunday, 23 April 2017

Degas To Picasso: Creating Modernism in France


I chose a beautiful, sunny, spring day to visit Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, to see what had been described as 'an amazing exhibition' that told the story of modernism in French art. The works in this show are taken from the private collection of Stanley and Ursula Johnson an art dealer based in Chicago. Interestingly most of the works in the exhibition were acquired when the couple were students in Paris during the 1960s. For a collection created by two students it is certainly interesting, but I think it is a bit of a stretch to claim that the artworks here tell the story of modern art. The collection has some of the biggest names in 19th and 20th century art, but most of the works are on paper. Whilst there are some beautiful drawings and prints, I felt the exhibition needed something with a little more substance to beef it up and validate the claims of it being 'groundbreaking'. My problem with this show is that good as the exhibition is, the most important works by artists that tell a more accurate story of the development of modern art have/had already been snapped up by galleries or museums and other collectors with considerably more means than the Johnsons. Still the exhibition contains some gems (especially for me the Degas', Legers and Picasso's), and made for a very good day out in Oxford.

Eugène Delacroix

Honoré Daumier

Edouard Manet

Pierre-August Renoir

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

Raoul Dufy

Vincent Van Gogh

Jean Metzinger

Juan Gris

Henri Matisse

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas

Fernand Léger

Fernand Léger






Degas To Picasso: Creating Modernism in France
until 7th May
Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Street
Oxford
OX1 2PH
www.ashmoleum.org