Art news – weekly round up

  • 29 November 2013

The Save Van Dyck campaign launches, Kenwood House reopens and the Chapman Brothers cause a stir – we round up this week's top art stories.

Self-portrait by Van Dyck, 1640/41 © Philip Mould & Co

Self-portrait by Van Dyck, 1640/41


© Philip Mould & Co

Save Van Dyck

The Art Fund has launched a campaign to help the National Portrait Gallery acquire Anthony van Dyck’s stunning ‘selfie’. This final self-portrait was completed in the year before his death in 1641, and is one of only three he painted while living in England. The campaign has gained high-profile supporters including the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion and artist Julian Opie, as reported by Adam Sherwin at the Independent. Also offering high praise, The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones writes, ‘Van Dyck was Britain's first art star. For once, a campaign to save a painting is not just hype. This gifted Flemish student of the English face belongs in this country, at the National Portrait Gallery.’

Constable cover up discovered

An unknown oil sketch by Constable has been discovered by V&A conservators, glued behind another of the artist’s works. According to James Malvern at the Times, ‘It was only when the lining on the back of the artist’s Branch Hill Pond, Hampstead became damaged that conservators looked beneath.’ The exciting find has been given the title Landscape with a Kiln, and is now on display in the V&A’s painting galleries.

Kenwood House returns to its former glory

The magnificent Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath has reopened after £5.95m restoration by English Heritage. Writing for The Guardian, Maev Kennedy marvels at its astounding art collection – which includes works by Vermeer, Turner, Van Dyck and Gainsborough – as well as the removal of cumbersome barriers and ropes. The refurbishment also sees the return of vibrant pastel colours in the Library, or Great Room, designed by celebrated architect Robert Adam.

Brothers grim

Jake and Dinos Chapman’s new survey exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is just as grim as one would expect from the bad brothers of the art world. Come and See features mannequins dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, Ronald McDonald, zombies and thrash-metal music. Writing for the Telegraph, Alastair Sooke interprets the show as a prediction of ‘infernally doomed’ humanity.

And finally...

Illusionist Derren Brown will turn his hand to the art world this December in his one off show Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery. The Independent’s Ellen E Jones is convinced this will be worth watching, as Brown attempts to steal a painting owned by collector Ivan Massow, with a team of elderly accomplices.