AHA Visit to Southampton Art Gallery

The well attended August visit was to view the current exhibitions at the Southampton City Art Gallery, which included paintings loaned from the National Gallery. We had a curator for an hour-long tour highlighting the major exhibits, part of which was entitled ‘Building a National Collection’. He explained how they approached the task of spending the generous Chipperfield Bequest Fund with which they were endowed at the commencement of the collection. With guidance from various famous Directors of the National Gallery they have managed to acquire thousands of post WW2 paintings from artists at an early stage of their careers who later became famous (and prohibitively expensive).
The modern works, both figurative and abstract, have been complimented by old masters, British School and Impressionist paintings which cater for all tastes. Our tour ended with a short visit to the separate Portraits exhibition, where they were showing in 2 galleries a selection of their collection of mostly living artists’ work. We then broke for a short lunch at the café in the adjacent Sea City Museum, and subsequently returned to the Art Gallery to have a more ‘in depth’ look at the many works unavoidably missed during the curated tour. The very high standard of paintings viewed tended to support Southampton’s claim that they have the best collection in the south.

The coronation of the Virgin is some 650 years old and by far the earliest work in the Southampton collection. It was created at the point where medieval art was beginning to be challenged by the new ideas of the Renaissance. Allegretto Nuzi came from Fabriano in central Italy. He seems to have spent time in Siena and also worked in Florence. Nuzi was a painter of church altarpieces usually made up of two or more panels. He worked in egg tempera, a difficult medium that provided bright and lasting colours.

The Classical style of the main gallery building, allowing much more light to enter, further enhanced the overall experience, which proved to be probably the best paintings exhibition we have visited to date. Certainly, all of our Group who attended found the visit to be most enjoyable. Whilst we all have our favourite painting, mine was probably Southampton’s own Monet which out classed the adjacent National Gallery loan.​​

Click on the images to enlarge them

The Church Vetheuil – Monet

The church was the subject for a series of paintings, viewed from different positions at different times of year. This version was painted from a boat on the River Seine. To capture constantly changing effects of light and colour Monet had to work quickly using rapid dabs of the brush, this is particularly noticeable in the shimmering reflections on the river.

Photography Group August Meeting

Best Picture; Grey Wagtail by Pam Liberson Click the image to enlarge it

It was a very lively meeting on Monday 9th August to discuss 4 portfolios with the theme of Garden/Park birds. End of July/August is when adult birds go into moult and vanish, although a lot of juveniles were hammering the feeders in Whitchurch – not the best of themes then!. First the hot sun bleached the bird colours followed by dark days where shutter speeds of 1/2000 were not feasible without increasing the ISO to produce a grainy result. The overall quality of the pictures were very good to excellent.​

Best portfolio was by John Hawke and best individual photograph was of a Grey Wagtail by Pam Liberson. See all the pictures on the Group’s webpage

John Hawke gave a short presentation of a nature-themed tour of Costa Rica concentrating on the more colourful birds and other reptiles and animals.