Paintings in Cardiff

December 9, 2012

blog david jonesI went to an exhibition at the Martin Tinney Gallery in Cardiff, where they were showing many of their best twentieth-century Welsh artists such as Gwen John, David Jones, John Piper, Graham Sutherland, as well as some great contemporary artists.  This was partly research for my new novel, which is set in the art world, and partly just because I like looking at paintings.  Some of them were actually affordable, or would be if I had a bit of cash to spare. My favourite was a small deer by David Jones, whose work I love – he was a mate of Eric Gill, and lived in a lay community at Capel-y-Ffin in the Black Mountains.  Maybe if my new book does well, I’ll buy it.

Of the contemporary artists, I liked Vivienne Williams, who reminds me of Ben Nicholson, who is one of my favourite artists.  I’d really love to get back to painting myself – I haven’t done any for years –  but I don’t know if I’ll ever find the time.

blog vivienne williams













The national museum here has some fabulous paintings, my favourites being the Cezannes, which make me think of the year I spent in Aix-en-Provence as a student. Currently, they’re showing a bunch of Turners that were deemed to be fakes after being bought by the Davies sisters at the turn of the twentieth century.  The sisters were spinsters, daughters of a coal baron, who collected cutting-edge art of the period and donated it to the museum.  Apparently new techniques of analysing paintings now show that these Turners are the real thing, so they’ve been hauled up from the vaults.  They’re pretty amazing. That figure in the painting below is just a couple of blobs of paint. Also shown in the exhibition are some letters breaking the news to the sisters that all their dosh had been wasted.  Imagine their disappointment.  If only they’d known the experts of the day were wrong.

blog turner


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