The summer may be drawing to a close, but this opens new doors for art lovers in London. Here’s a guide to some exciting new exhibitions to catch in the capital city at the beginning of the autumn season.
Rubens & Women, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 27 September 2023 to 28 January 2024
The Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is regarded as one of the most important painters of the Baroque period. He frequently painted the female form, and is known for depicting curvaceous women with generous figures.
This has led to the term ‘Rubenesque’ being applied to anyone with a fuller figure. Plumpness was often associated with sensuality and fertility in Ruben’s era, and there is a common assumption that this is why the artist frequently depicted his female subjects in this manner.
However, the new exhibition Rubens & Women seeks to challenge this view. It will feature over 40 paintings and drawings and archive material, some of which has not been viewed in the UK before. Among the subjects are women who have played an influential role in shaping Ruben’s life and career, including patrons, lovers, and family members.
Highlights include the Marchesa Maria Serra Pallavicino or Marchesa Veronica Spinola Doria (1606-7), which is on loan from the National Trust. The exhibition will examine the limitations of the ‘male gaze’ and reveal new ways of looking at women who were far more than passive objects, but played heroic roles both in mythology and in the real world.
Philip Guston, Tate Modern, 5 October 2023 to 25 February 2024
Philip Guston (1913-1980) was a Canadian American artist who is described as one of the most influential abstract painters of the 20th century. However, he produced work that spanned a number of genres, including surrealism, expressionism, portraiture, and murals. He was a lifelong friend of the celebrated abstract painter Jackson Pollock.
Guston displayed an early interest in social and political issues including racism, which he was not afraid to address through his work, often through large-scale public murals. In the 1950s, his style evolved into abstract expressionism, using a limited palette of muted colours. Later, he would return to a more figurative approach.
The Tate retrospective explores how Guston’s work developed over his career, and the way he was able to unite the political and the personal in his paintings.
Re/Sisters, Barbican Art Gallery, 5 October 2023 to 14 January 2024
This is a major group exhibition that features around 50 female or non-binary artists from around the world. The work will explore the relationship between gender and the environment, and question whether the suppression of female voices has contributed to the damage inflicted on the planet.
The exhibition will feature work from both established and emerging artists in the medium of photography and film. It will reflect on whether the exploitation of the planet is linked to the historical exploitation of women, and the female-led eco-activism that is a leading advocate for change.
If you are taking part in an art exhibition this autumn, please drop in to our framing shop in north London, where we will help you to display your work in style.