Last week on a rainy London day David and I spent some time indoors at the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in London. I already knew what I wanted to see first in the National Gallery. Whistlejacket. This magnificent painting by George Stubbs of the Arabian stallion can be seen as you walk down the corridor toward the gallery where it is hung.Stubbs painted this racehorse around 1762 at the request of his owner the Marquess of Rockingham. There are a lot of theories as to why there is not the usual background landscaping or a rider on the horse but the most likely is that Rockingham was so impressed with the realization of the horse that he wanted it left as it was. The painting was acquired from the heirs of Rockingham in 1997 for £11 million for the National Gallery. I love the expression in Whistlejacket’s eye.
Today we went to the Newport Street Gallery to see the work of modern artist Jeff Koons.His work is both engaging and entertaining. To give you an idea here is a photo of his work “play-doh” that reproduces, in mountainous size, a lump of clay fashioned by his son. But this is not clay. It is 27 pieces of cast aluminum held together by their own weight.
In the same gallery as the play doh there is a painting 138 x 107 inch painting of a Boy with Pony. On examining the painting it looks as if it is sculpted but in fact it is flat.
I really enjoyed this painting, the bright colors and vibrancy of the painting. And here again……a horse in art! Jeff Koons has an interesting reflection on the role of the viewer. “The viewer always finishes the work of art, so they always have the last word.”
This boy and pony will be my last word for today!