From October the Courtauld gallery reveals its autumn exhibitions featuring the works of Henry Fuseli and Helen Saunders. Both these artists were quite daring in their own ways, despite their work being separated by more than 100 years there are similarities shown in their work. And that’s the incredible thing about Art, freed from the demands of society or whoever pays the wage an artist can work freely and create what interests them. In Fuseli’s case the art displayed is his own personal work, in Saunders’ case she was never going to be told what to do. Invited along to the media opening it was apparent to me how these two disparately different artists were in fact somehow working a common theme.
Henry Fuseli is most famously known for “The Nightmare”(1782), but the work here is his personal work often featuring his wife as the model. Strange, bizarre hairstyles abound and some sexual imagery that would have shocked in its day. The work is masterful though and of a detail that might require some users to borrow the handily proffered magnifying glasses (free, and at the room entrances) to fully take in the level of detail.
Helen Saunders was a driving influence in the Vorticists, a short lived movement before the first world war. These dynamic and active paintings seems to be just semi-random collections of colour and shape until you realise what is contained within them. Every image contains an epiphany should you care to muse a while.
As ever The Courtauld gallery continues to dazzle and does so as an independent gallery. Set within the magnificent Somerset house complex it’s easy to access and visit.
Exhibitions run until 8th and 29th of January 2023
Check the website for details.