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Bernard Jacobson Gallery at PAD

Exhibition preview

LEADING contemporary and modern art dealer, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, will once again be showing at the Pavilion of Art & Design London (PAD), the highly successful modern art and design fair, which takes place in an elegant marquee in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, from Wednesday, October 12 to Sunday, October 16, 2011.

Bernard Jacobson’s stand will present works by some of the great 20th century masters including the American Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell (1915-1991).

Motherwell spent the summer of 1960 in Italy, where he began a series of works entitled, appropriately, Summertime in Italy. In these works, two of which will be offered at PAD, a triangle or the number 4 often establishes the theme and the main structure of the composition.

Being exhibited for the first time in the UK is a 1967 acrylic on canvas in which the triangular form is rearing up from a horizontal plane in a manner suggestive of an Apennine mountain ridge. Summertime in Italy Sketch No. 12, acrylic on canvasboard, dates from 1970.

Most of these paintings are black-and-white contrasts but in several instances, including these two works, the artist used a warmer palette. Fellow artist and close friend David Smith (1906-1965), best-known for his large steel sculptures, wanted Motherwell to create these images in steel but the project was never realised.

Another great American artist, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), will be represented by Seminole Host/ROCI USA (Wax Fire Works), 1990, acrylic, enamel, and fire wax on stainless steel, edition 3/22.

This is part of his ROCI project devoted to world peace, which the artist believed could be approached by enjoying, rather than overcoming, divisions. He collaged disparate elements and integrated experiences – the final works being created on highly-polished sheets of stainless steel ­which produced a mirrored background. Mirrors were once seen as gateways to the soul but now they symbolise empty technical perfection.

The ROCI series imparts a sense of space travel, filled with mechanisms of ascent and communication­ ladders, and space-ships, mixing the archaic and the contemporary, the profane and the sacred.

A large pencil drawing by Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) is one of six drawings for Marriage at Cana, 1953; a painting of the series is now in the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum in Swansea . It was conceived in the 1930s as part of a series of fifty images depicting the cycle of human life – the Church House scheme.

Spencer, as always, has personalised the scene by modelling the bride and groom on his first wife, artist Hilda Carline, and himself. They were married in 1925 but divorced in 1937 and Spencer’s second marriage was not a success either. He said “…my desire to paint pictures is caused by my being unable or incapable of fulfilling my desires in life itself”.

The drawings reveal an insight into how Spencer observed naturally occurring patterns and rhythms of the composition and recorded them for later use in paintings.

Ben Nicholson (1894-1982), a pioneer of British abstraction, is represented by Dec 61 (Greek and Two Circles), 1961, exemplifying English modernism with its formal simplicity and naturalistic colours.

Nicholson, editor of the constructivist Circle Magazine, applied constructivist principles to his art, advocating mathematical precision, clean lines and an absence of ornament. He travelled extensively in Greece from 1959 and, from this time on, his works reflect a close study of its ancient sites and architecture.

Among the 21st century works being shown by the Bernard Jacobson Gallery at PAD will be White Relief, watercolour on canvas with panel, 2011, by the North Yorkshire-based William Tillyer, considered by many to be the finest watercolour artist working in Britain today.

Meanwhile Bernard Jacobson Gallery at 6 Cork Street, London W1, is staging Robert Motherwell: Works on Paper, the first ever exhibition dedicated to drawings and paintings on paper by the artist to be held in Britain.

Pavilion of Art & Design London Time: 11am to 7pm.