Kenneth Clark (1)

This morning I went to an early morning viewing of the Kenneth Clark exhibition at Tate Britain.   There he was, the great aesthete, in the portrait by Graham Sutherland, open necked and slightly dandified, also being painted on the banks of the river Alde by Charles Sims, who was dressed in a Homburg hat and spats.   Clark’s taste in early Italian art is revealed as less sure than expected, including some duds he bought for the National Gallery, whilst his taste in artists of his own time was wide ranging and confident, buying work from Henry Moore’s first exhibition, by illustrators like Ardizzone and fine work by Victor Pasmore and Graham Bell (Anne Olivier Bell is described on a label as Bell’s ‘friend’, but she was also his fiancée and lover).   He supported the young Lucian Freud with a grant of £500.   Throughout one hears recordings of Dame Myra Hess playing at the National Gallery during the second world war.


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