The Muguet’s Edition

King Charles IX of France was presented with Lily of the Valley flowers (“muguet” in French) on May 1, 1561. From then on, he gave Lily of the Valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Muguet is now associated with Labour Day in France.

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A Woman Holding a Lily-of-the-Valley and a Pansy
Marx Reichlich (1510-1520)

If you are staying in or travelling to London for May Bank Holiday, below is the list of exhibitions I have seen and reviewed from most to least preferred.

1. Inventing Impressionism, National Gallery, until 31 May

Inventing Impressionism, now at the National Gallery is not only an exhibition on what Durand-Ruel owned and sold but importantly on his pivotal role in creating a taste for Impressionism amongst collectors. Read more

2. Richard Diebenkorn, Royal Academy, until 7 June

Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy is one of those exhibitions that you know you like after a few minutes in, seduced by the artist’s balanced compositions and subtle colour palette. Read more

3. Pascale Marthine Tayou, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, until 17 May 2015

I was curious to find out more about artist Pascale Marthine Tayou, currently showing at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery: a Cameroonian (born in 1966-7 in Yaounde), who migrated to Sweden and then to France, before settling in Belgium in 2003 (he lives and works in Ghent). Read more

4. Sargent Portraits of Artists and Friends, National Portrait Gallery, until 25 May

John Singer Sargent was just another portraitist to me, until I saw his jaw-dropping Bedouins (c. 1905–6, Brooklyn Museum). The NPG in London is holding an exhibition of his portraits of artists and friends. Read more

5. Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector, Barbican Art Gallery, until 25 May

The exhibition allows us, art visitors and aspiring collectors, to learn what inspires artists’ own collections. As I discovered, there can be a sharp contrast between artists’ own work and what they collect… Read more

6. Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process, Tate Britain, until 17 May

Two exhibitions in London celebrate the iconic designer Alexander McQueen, nicknamed “Lee”: a photographic exhibition, Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process at Tate Britain, and a crowd-pleasing fashion show Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A. Read more

7. Savage Beauty, V&A, until 2 August

Two exhibitions in London celebrate the iconic designer Alexander McQueen, nicknamed “Lee”: a photographic exhibition, Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process at Tate Britain, and a crowd-pleasing fashion show Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A. Read more

8. Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, Tate Modern, until 10 May

Tate Modern’s exhibition subtitle ‘The Image as Burden’ is taken from a small painting replicating a film still showing a dying heroine carried by her lover. It symbolises Marlene Dumas’ relation to her source imagery… Read more

9. Defining beauty – the body in ancient Greek art, British Museum, until 5 July

The British Museum holds the exhibition “Defining beauty – the body in ancient Greek art”, based on its permanent collection, looking at Ancient Greek art focusing on the human body. Read more

10. Ancient lives, new discoveries, British Museum, until 12 July

‘Ancient lives, new discoveries’ at the British Museum was an exception to my exhibition viewing, which consists almost exclusively of exhibitions in the art field. I have a secret fascination for mummies though… Read more

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