Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chardin and Edmund de Waal

At first glance, there might seem to be little connection between these artists. Currently there is a small exhibition at Waddesdon of some of Chardin's greatest works around their recent acquisition of one of the great House of Cards series. The quiet calm is palpable. They are restrained yet assured, concentrated expression combined with delicacy.

At the same time our great ceramicist, Edmund de Waal has created special installations for Waddesdon. His particular theme here is the vitrine or case, which relates to his book "The Hare with Amber Eyes", referring to the family collection of netsuke. The restraint and calm of his work is self-evident. The simplicity and purity of his porcelain, with small touches such as the hint of gilt on this piece, generate a Zen like calm. Their beauty is understated, but full of confidence.

De Waal is an amiable living presence (I have this on good authority from a Waddesdon guide who has met him several times and had a personal tour of his work there). Chardin left us his beautiful paintings to ease us through the stresses and strains of life.

Good on the Rothschild's artistic interests and patronage.

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