Sean Scully

It has been a week of intense activity at Blain|Southern, celebrating Sean Scully.

First, Nick Willing’s admirable and informative film, which showed the nature of his life, career and working methods.

Then, volume 2 of his catalogue raisonné was launched with a conversation at the gallery which showed a different, more intellectual and reflective aspect of his character, as he and Marla Price discussed the significance of each of his major works from the 1980s.

Tonight his exhibition at the National Gallery opened, which shows new work inspired by, or is, in some way, related to Turner’s deep, meditative seascapes, mood paintings, in which the horizon dissolves into pure colour, as represented by Turner’s Evening Star from upstairs. There are three galleries of Sean’s big, adventurous, recent work.

He spoke movingly at the opening of what Trafalgar Square, and the National Gallery, meant to him as a child, coming in from Sydenham on Christmas Eve to see the Norwegian Christmas tree (he did not mention how important Van Gogh’s Chair, then in the Tate, was to his decision to become an artist).

Much of the rationale of the National Gallery is based round the belief thar free access to the collection is an inspiration to children to become artists. Sean is the living exemplar that this policy works.

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