Ben Uri Gallery
In my quest to check out some of the smaller museums and galleries of the capital, I was delighted to discover the Ben Uri Art Museum which is located just off Abbey Road in St John’s Wood. On two floors, the gallery is a perfect size, giving the visitor the chance to really look at the paintings, without feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead!
I was the only visitor and received a very friendly welcome. The museum is free but invites donations to help it continue.
The current exhibition is: Refiguring the 50s and has work from five artists; Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman and LS Lowry. They have quite distinct styles but all the pictures on display have a common theme of working people. A book is available and the exhibition provides enough detail about the artists and their backgrounds to enable the amateur art lover to have a basic understanding to appreciate the work.
Each artist identifies with a particular area. Being interested in social history myself, in particular East London, I was especially drawn to Frankfurther’s work around the East End of London, as well as her paintings of people she worked with, in the West End. To show similarities between artists, the artwork has sometimes been grouped by theme, sometimes as a single artist’s work. I was delighted to see Fell’s portrait of Dorothy Hodgkin, recognising the scientist immediately as hers is one of my favourites from the National Portrait Gallery.
A short walk from several stations, this is a gallery I will be returning to again and again. The current exhibition runs until 22nd February 2015. Check the website for details of what else is on.