Works of Art in Public Collections in the Midlands.; EXHIBITIONS PICTURE OF THE WEEK Andre Derain (1880-1954) Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona (1906)

The Birmingham Post (England), June 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Works of Art in Public Collections in the Midlands.; EXHIBITIONS PICTURE OF THE WEEK Andre Derain (1880-1954) Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona (1906)


The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham University.

Andre Derain was one of the leading members, with Henri Matisse and Maurice Vlaminck, of France's first 20th century art movement, The Fauves.

They acquired their name, which means "wild animals", from the dismissive description of a critic, prompted by their expressive, non-naturalistic use of colour.

Derain visited London twice in the early years of this century, and his paintings of the Thames are well known. But this, the only portrait he painted in England, was virtually unknown to the art world until recently.

Bartolomeo Savona, a young Sicilian visiting London to improve his English, was a fellow lodger at a guest house in Holland Park. The family story is that Derain had to visit a dentist and Savona acted as interpreter, in return for which Derain painted this portrait, on a cheap Winsor & Newton canvas, in three 20-minute sittings.

Savona took the painting back to his native Palermo, where he became an English teacher, and there it remained for 90 years until his family sold it to the Barber Institute two years ago.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has a landscape by Derain, painted three years later, which shows how he moved out of Matisse's orbit into that of Picasso and early Cubism. After the First World War Derain's work declined sharply, and his reputation was not enhanced by accusations of collaboration during the German occupation.

This little painting, however, with its nice story attached, shows the young Derain at his freshest and most promising.

EXHIBITIONS

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 0121 303 2834:

The Science of Sport. Until Sep 12;Whistler: Friends and Foes. Whistler prints from the permanent collection, alongside others by contemporaries he inspired or infuriated. Until Aug 1; More Favourite Things. Exhibits selected by members of the public. Until Oct 24 (Mon-Thur, Sat 10am-5pm, Fri 10.30am-5pm, Sun 12.30pm-5pm).

Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace 0121 248 0708: Primary. Clement Copper's photographic portraits of children in Birmingham, Manchester and Preston; Adam Chodzo. A Place for The End. New commission produced in collaboraton with Birmingham residents, plus The Internatonal God Look-Alike Contest and Reunion; Salo. From Weds until Aug 30 (Tue-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat, Sun 11am-5pm)

Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, New Street 0121 643 3768: Paintings by Rob Perry. Ends today (Mon-Sat 10.30am-5pm).

John Bright Gallery (former Ikon Gallery), John Bright St: Hidden Agenda. New Work by Eight Artists. Until June 24 (11am-6pm).

MAC, Cannon Hill Park 0121 440 3838: India 50; A Working People Photographs by Sebastio Salgado. …

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Works of Art in Public Collections in the Midlands.; EXHIBITIONS PICTURE OF THE WEEK Andre Derain (1880-1954) Portrait of Bartolomeo Savona (1906)
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