London: more museums and galleries

It’s been another couple of days of galleries, museums and shows.  The photos mostly speak for themselves but include:

The Museum of Natural History. The building is very old, huge and impressive.  There are endless collections of stuffed animals, birds, skeletons, fossils, insect collections etc. There seem to also be thousands of schoolchildren running around with clipboards and being chased by their teachers. The main reason I visited was to see the exhibit of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. It was interesting but didn’t really impress me too much, partly because I never get too excited about wildlife photography but mainly because I thought the display presentation was odd.  All the photos were displayed as backlit transparent panels – it looked a bit like the inside of KFC store. I think a lot of the skill of the original photography was lost with this sort of display.

While I was wandering and the Chelsea area I also went to the Michael Hoppen dealer gallery. There were a couple of exhibits on, they had sort of a glossy Fashion vibe, again not really my thing but nice to see.  There were good prices being asked, £10,000 – ish, I had trouble seeing the worth.

One gallery that did highly excite me was a Beetles and Huxley, a dealer that was selling a huge personal collection of Henri Cartier-Bresson prints.  I have admired plenty of his images but never seen an original print before. They are all about capturing ‘the decisive moment’.  He was an early adopter of 35mm cameras meaning he could react much faster than others with bigger equipment.  The prints were beautifully done but at £10,000 – £30,000 I wasn’t buying.

We had booked in to see the Inventing Impressionism exhibit at the National Gallery one evening. It was very impressive!  It was all around Paul Durand-Ruel, an art dealer who had faith in the Impressionists when the established art world were still writing them off as a fad. All the paintings were ones he had bought or sold at one point – he was friends with Monet etc. long before they were recognised.

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