Blackpaint 138

That Robbery in Paris

Staggering that someone could nick five  paintings of such worth in such a simple way – no sawing through roofs, swinging upside-down from wires to avoid photo-electric cells (what was that film called- Topaz? Topkapi? Rififi?); just break in in a mask, ignore the cctv, presumably cut them out of the frames and shove them up your jumper.

Actually, I was there only about five weeks ago and although it’s in a very swish part of Paris, it looks sort of run-down and dishevelled.  Maybe that’s just the graffitti and the skateboarders, though.  An attendant did stop me taking a bottle of water into one of the galleries though, so there was some security.

As to the paintings that were stolen – I don’t remember seeing any of them!  It’s always like that when you go to an exhibition, I find – you go round, peer carefully at everything, take notes even (for your blog, that is) then you “exit through the gift shop”, check the postcards and see loads of interesting stuff that you missed; it was in a corner, twenty punters round it, listening to audio guides, or it was just too small to notice.

As to the paintings, I thought that Braque was interesting – more like a Kandinsky or a Matisse.  the Picasso, as Adrian Searle said on Newsnight, was quite a complicated,  “difficult” one; not one, as Searle said, that would go nicely on the wall because it was brown (actually more a grey-green, but the point was made).  I wonder if he had in mind the Picasso quotation in his own Guardian article (see Blackpaint 137)?

The Searle interview was interesting in another respect, in that he chose to describe the Modigliani as a terrible painting and, I think, Modigliani as an awful painter.  I remember he said the shoulders were all wrong, amongst other defects that went past too quickly to note.  This is a very refreshing development, in my opinion; critics now learning from bloggers – you don’t have to offer a reasoned argument, if you think it’s shit, just say so!  It doesn’t matter that Modigliani’s stuff is in prestigious world art galleries –  although, sadly, no longer in the Paris one – his stuff is crap and so is he, because he can’t do shoulders properly!  as I recall, he’s often quite good at other bits, though.

Actually, art critics have always done this sort of thing, haven’t they?  Ruskin and Whistler, the pot of paint in the face of the public…

Off to Edinburgh tomorrow to watch my sons run the marathon; no doubt, I’ll find time to visit the art galleries, so watch out for next blog on Monday.



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