1949 Summer Exhibition

I was putting the finishing touches to an account I have written of the 1949 Summer Exhibition for the Paul Mellon Centre’s annual chronicle of the exhibition which is due to be published online later this month.   At the time that I wrote it, I did not know that John Rothenstein had reviewed the exhibition in The Tablet as Director of the Tate.   He was pretty dismissive, describing it as ‘one of the most dispiriting he remembered’, but, on the other hand, was full of admiration for the work of Winston Churchill.   His conclusion was that, ‘One thing, at least, is unambiguously apparent:  towards academic standards the selection committee show – I should rather say parade – an indifference which makes nonsense of the insistent claim of the Academy to represent “Tradition”‘.


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