April Diary

Lots to write about this month, with our trip to Cologne to see some of my favourite artists’ work. But first, before Cologne, we visited exhibitions in London.

The Wellcome Collection to see ‘Ayurvedic Man: Encounters With Indian medicine’. A fascinating exhibition in which I loved the gouache paintings in particular.

I hadn’t heard of the American artist Eric Fischl, but my husband knew of him and as this was his first London show I wanted to see it. What a surprise – first a beautiful gallery space, the Skarstedt in Bennet Street, St James. (another gallery I could easily live in!). I really loved the work, the handout explains that Fischl likes to freeze the moment of suburban life, leaving the onlooker to decide what has or is happening or about to happen! Large canvases with wonderful brush marks & paint used so confidently, it was so good to stand and take the experience in.

Next to the Royal Academy to see ‘Charles 1 King and Collector’. Very crowded! Looking at paintings four people deep is not the way to appreciate them. But what a collection the King had – Titian, Mantegna, Holbein, Durer, etc. It was also fascinating to see what the King paid for them…a shame I didn’t make a note of the prices. I liked two paintings by Hans Holbein the younger of Charles 1st and the other of Anne Cresacre. Another by Anthony van Dyke of Charles V with his dog. In another a wonderful interpretation of dress fabrics in Queen Henrietta and Jeffery Hudson. Sadly, with blockbuster shows, the major London galleries are often no longer enjoyable to visit.

On the 11th April, one of my favourite artists sadly died – Gillian Ayres. I have managed to see most of her London exhibitions and I have lots of her catalogues. It has always been a joy to see her love of colour, dancing shapes and brush marks which make me feel so happy. I will really miss her.

Now for our trip to Cologne to see so many of my favourite paintings. Where to begin….we visited three museums. Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Kunst Sammalung in Dusseldorf. and Kunstmuseum in Bonn.

Ernst Kirchner                                        Alexej Von Jawlensky

August Macke                                   Franz Marc

Francis Picabia                          Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso                           Paul Klee

Pierre Bonnard                                                       Henri Matisse

Wassily Kandinsky                                                                   Natalia Goncharova

Max Beckmann           Jean Dubuffet

Ernst Wilhelm Nay                   Gerhard Richter

Arman                                                                     George Segal

Antoni Tapies                                                  Marisol

Jasper Johns

Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, reducing the population by 95% and destroying almost the entire city. The resulting post-war rebuilding is extremely mixed, not attractive at all and somewhat brutal. The Cathedral was badly damaged but it remained standing in an otherwise flattened city. It’s the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe & has the second tallest twin spires. While we were there the exterior was being cleaned and it desperately needed it, looking so black – I guess from pollution. Inside there is a beautiful modern stained glass window by Gerhard Richter and while we were there, with such good weather, the sun shining through created a colourful ‘carpet’. on the floor.


We visited the Cologne art Fair, but didn’t enjoy this at all. We felt that viewing art as if in a market on unending white screens took away the artists ideas and it all became as if one, with the galleries seeming more important than the ‘art’.
It was a good trip & I would highly recommend going away by train. It’s hard to believe once on the train at St Pancras we were in our rented Cologne apartment 4 hours later.