Summer show a riot of colour

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition (until 16 August) has drawn crowds for over two centuries and something in the eclectic mix ensures it continues to do so. Twelve thousand public send-ins are reduced to a whopping 1200 pieces that offer something for absolutely everyone. The show is a major fund-raiser for the Academy’s school, and…

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The man who made Impressionism

  You may never have heard of Paul Durand-Ruel, but without his input, you may also never have experienced the thrill of delight at viewing the Impressionists. The National Gallery’s exhibition Inventing Impressionism (until 31 May) traces the story of this French art dealer from his early beginnings as a dealer of the Barbizon school…

Rembrandt’s unflinching portraits

The National Gallery presents a superb range of Rembrandt’s work for the exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works (until 18 Jan 2015) which focuses on the artist’s last two decades. They include loans such as the enormous canvas, The Conspiracy of the Batavians (1661) from Sweden, measuring two by three meters and conceived as an even…

Kiefer’s monumental vision

Anselm Kiefer is older in years than either Rembrandt or Turner when they died, but the centuries that divide these artists mean that no-one is talking of ‘late works’ for this 69-year-old German whose powerful vigour is on display in every recent work at the Royal Academy’s retrospective (until 14 Dec). Kiefer is a master…

Constable’s tiny gems at V&A

Constable and Turner. Two great rivals and the two great masters of Victorian British art are currently enjoying massive exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate, respectively. If Turner’s best works are of stormy seas, then Constable’s are images of the English countryside. His masterpieces are of the hills and vales of…

Late not always great for Turner

This isn’t any sort of anniversary year for JMW Turner, but one would be forgiven for thinking it was. The year opened with a superbly exciting show of his work in Greenwich, and comes to a close with the first museum exhibition to focus solely on his later work, as well as a new British…

Matisse’s magic scissors

Henri Matisse’s cut-outs are some of the most instantly recognisable of his works. They reduced his art to simple coloured shapes that lend themselves to easy reproduction. I knew what I was going to see at the Tate Modern’s exhibition, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, better than most. I have spent hours in art class tracing…

Spotlight on African art at Saatchi

Charles Saatchi isn’t simply grabbing the headlines with Nigella, he continues to hunt down the next big thing in the art world. This time his cavernous Saatchi Gallery in South London turns its focus on Africa and South America with Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America (until 31 August). The title Pangaea refers…

Hamilton’s post war Pop

Richard Hamilton is touted as Britain’s most important post war artist, but I have to admit that a year ago when the National Gallery showed his late works, I simply didn’t get them. Meeting the same paintings again in the last rooms of this huge Tate Modern retrospective (until 26 May), they made sense. There…

Turner’s grand nautical passion

Turner and the Sea. The two go together so well, it is almost impossible to imagine that this collection of magnificent works at the Greenwich National Maritime Museum (until 21 April) is the first time there has been a survey of the subject. In fact, somewhere between half and two thirds of Turner’s enormous output…