GALLERIES by Leigh Hatts
LAST summer Sainsburys sponsored Prince Charles' art exhibition in Salisbury and in 1991 Sainsburys will again he at the forefront of arts and Royal art sponsorship.
The focus of attention will be the National Gallery where the Sainsbury Wing is due to open in the early summer. Chairman Lord Rothschild says that the building will trigger off the biggest change since the move from Pall Mall in 1838 for the entire collection is being rehung in chronological sequence rather than the traditional schools and nationalities arrangement.
It will become the first national collection to be presented in this way and, according to Director, Neil MacGregor, will make more sense to the visitor as well as being in line with modern academic thinking.
' Strengthening the National ' Gallery's Post Impressionist works is the Berggruen Collection which has just arrived in Trafalgar Square. Van Gogh to Picasso (January 16 to April 21; free), including the finest display of Cezannes and Seurats anywhere, will be the first chance to see the Berggruen loan before it is absorbed into the great rehanging.
Meanwhile the National
Gallery's 1992 blockbuster Rembrandt will be previewing in Berlin and Amsterdam. This already controversial show the authenticity of drawings to be shown here is being questioned — is being hailed by the director as "the exhibition of the decade".
The first Sainsbury Wing exhibition will be The Queen's Pictures: Royal Collections through the Centuries. One or two of the pictures to be shown are now on public view among the 60 Windsor Castle paintings, including Zoffany, Gainsborough, Stubbs and Canaletto, at the National Museum of Wales main building in Cardiff (daily except Monday until February 24, El).
The National Gallery's portico columns have bases and capitals from the Prince Regent's Carlton House which was like a private art gallery. His collection is being brought together again for Carlton House: The Past Glories of George IV's Palace opening in March at The Queen's Gallery.
Although compared with Versailles, Carlton House was pulled down by the King and the site in The Mall is now marked by the Duke of York's column — the spike on the top is said to be for his unpaid bills.
Both Prinny and the Grand Old Duke of York are likely to feature in Punch magazine's 150th anniversary exhibition at the South Bank Centre in the autumn. 1991 is the centenary of that pillar of Punch, the cartoonist Charles Keene. The most comprehensive exhibition devoted to the Victorian illustrator, called "the greatest artist since Hogarth" by Whistler, is at Christie's during January (daily 4-27; free) and
will include his little known oil paintings.
The year of Keene's death saw the birth of Stanley Spencer whose imaginative vision and enormous contribution to twentieth century art will be recalled at the Barbican Art Gallery. The Apotheosis of Love (January 24 to April 1) will feature around 65 works, including rarely seen examples from abroad.
Showing alongside will be a Man Ray show. There is an increasing number of photographic exhibitions and in 1991 the non-profit making Photographers Gallery marks its 20th anniversary by appointing a director to succeed founder Sue Davies. In the nineties the gallery intends expanding its activities into Europe from its now well known London base.
Most of the best shows are still in London so it is good to know that a version of the current Paintings of William Coldstream exhibition at the Tate Gallery (until January 6; free) will go to Newport (January 19 to March 9), Norwich (April) and Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery (May and June).
Coldstream is being taken to the provinces under the South
Bank Centre's little known touring programme. At home part of its soon to be announced Russian Festival will include a Twilight of the Tsars exhibition at the Hayward which is taking advantage of the freer access to explore Russian art, architecture and design during its Art Nouveau period.
One of the most unusual but difficult to arrange shows will almost certainly be The Art of Death at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Attempts to borrow a body from a city church have failed and Westminster Abbey's Dean and Chapter have declined to lend Queen Caroline's parrot which died of grief.