I have been thinking more about the film about John Golding’s art. The problem is that John Golding was fundamentally shy. He left only two substantial records of his life. One was an interview undertaken in the 1990s by Elizabeth Cowling, one of his many pupils, for National Life Stories from which, in the film, we inevitably hear only extracts (it is five hours long with one tape currently embargoed). The other is a film of him looking at his paintings at the end of his life with a glass of brandy in his hand. So, it is other people who dominate the film, most especially John Richardson, who turns away from the camera while talking and describes, apparently randomly, how Golding became a drunk at the end of his life. This can’t help but dominate the film.
5 thoughts on “John Golding (2)”
I think your comment about John Richardson gets to the heart of the matter of the film, and I know editing is on going; John G might have been mortified but not surprised about JR , but until you pointed it out I had not realised that my own unease was triggered by the interview with JR. John Golding’s teaching was astonishing, and the people who are creatively indebted to his insights, many of whom have had significant careers in all aspects of the art world, are legion. His own painting when finely edited is remarkable, and the works on paper in particular have a haunting beauty. John was so immensely lonely after James Joll’s death I think and his LEGIONS of friends somehow could not reach him.
Dear Marina, Yes, the film is being edited, but Bruno feels – and I can see why – that he can’t escape JR’s torpedo. Charles
So curious. Why? John’s abdication of life did not impact directly on his art, because there was no longer art to be stopped I think in the last times he had… he stopped painting in favour of a deliberate slow suicide, so why is the torpedo needed in a film about his art? Is it JR’s understandable grandeur and intelligence (although I don’t think he has finished the 4th volume of the Picasso). I often wondered whether JG’s underlying melancholy – and unbelievably acute sense of beauty -affected his astonishing and original art history from Picasso to his Paths to the Absolute….
There is something hypnotic about John’s intervention. On the melancholy, I didn’t know JG well enough. Is extreme aesthetic sensitivity allied to melancholy ? Maybe. Charles
It is because JR as a commentator and as a writer is hypnotically fascinating; his re published essays and his partial memoir are unputdownable.