Entries by Bob Marshall

New York Notes

Our first two weeks in Manhattan post-pandemic put me back in touch with great art. I had no computer and I failed to take notes, so the impressions that follow will be imprecise and subject to correction and emendation when we spend more time in New York in the fall. The Frick Madison. The big news […]

Frieze LA ’20

The fun of Frieze LA is seeing and be seen, feeling part of the “arts community,” especially if you have a VIP pass, which we’ve had the last two years, thanks to a friend at the Addison Gallery in Andover. The fair is much smaller than Frieze NY, which is in some ways a good […]

Opinions & Observations

Single-artist exhibitions and displays can enhance your appreciation of the artist – or not. The Felix Vallotton show in London (and subsequently at the Met) was a prime example of the former: his work was unfamiliar beforehand; his style developed in interesting ways over his career; and the paintings selected were almost all top-notch and […]

Art in London

I spent a week in London looking at art, revisiting old friends and discovering some new. The Felix Vallotton show at the Royal Academy – coming to the Met later this fall – was a revelation. With only 50 paintings and an approximately equal number of prints, it covered  the Swiss artist’s career coherently and completely. […]

The Renaissance Nude

A major museum exhibition can have two justifications: it can make a novel or interesting point, or argument; or it can present great, or at least interesting, objects. By those measures, The Renaissance Nude at the Getty Center was a disappointment. If there was a point, it was hardly novel or coherent. Despite social inhibitions, […]

American Masterpieces

At some point you go to so many museums it loses the thrill, and you wonder if you’re going just because it’s there and it’s a comfortable habit. In the span of a month, I went to the National Gallery, the Phillips Collection and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and Portrait Gallery in Washington; […]

Corot: Women

Two questions came to mind as I wandered through Corot Women at the National Gallery of Art: how many variations are there on the word “melancholy,” and is it acceptable to judge a work of art on the attractiveness of the model depicted? Of the 44 paintings in the show, spanning the half-century 1826-1874, more […]

Delacroix at the Met

Seeing 150 works in the Met’s first-ever-in-North-America retrospective of Eugene Delacroix I came to the conclusion that he was a one-trick pony. There was little or no development or change detectable from his first works, which were revolutionary in the 1820s, to his last and worst in the ’50s. The trick, so to speak, was […]

Truth and Beauty

Kudos to the organizers of this exhibition for using major international loans to make an art-historical point. It’s one thing to say that Britain’s Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was inspired by certain Renaissance artists; it’s quite another to show their work cheek-by-jowl with actual paintings they would have known in London in the 1850s. The most telling […]

Museum Exhibitions ’18

Over May and June of this year I’ve had occasion to visit a half-dozen special exhibitions, from the spectacular to the routine to the overstuffed. Far and away the best, and perhaps the best I’ve ever seen, was “Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty,” designed by Robert Wilson. Each gallery was theatrically lit, with […]