Members’ private view at Tate Modern last night with Catriona. I remember being completely ravished by Twombly at the Whitechapel (I think) years ago – after this, I still like him, but there is a quantity of decidedly questionable stuff included in this show. The final “Bacchus” paintings disappointed me with their inflated size, reductive scarlet colouring and vapid brushwork – they seem totally devoid of the subtlety Twombly at his best so seemingly effortlessly achieves. Wincingly embarrassing too is the untitled series of nine paintings for the Venice Biennale – botched monochrome Monet lily ponds, some in 18th-century rococo formats which bring absolutely nothing to the experience.
The Quattro Stagione paintings in the room between these are hugely better; both versions elegiacally beautiful and evocative – Twombly at his best, creating a magically unlikely fusion of abstract expressionism with European classical reference.
Afterwards, we had dinner in the 7th floor café. This was my second time in a row to be given a window table with THAT view! Sublime! And the food was good too – a short list, but well selected which made it hard to choose, especially on the pudding front. I had smoked duck, salmon and an elderflower panna cotta with berries and a brandy snap. Catriona also had the salmon but started with mackerel pate and had a chocolate tart with espresso icecream. Yum!
We knocked back a bottle of Viognier and gossiped about our ex-company (now very ex). Very last days of the Reich. As it staggered towards its nemesis, with the writing on the wall for all to see, and the MD blatantly stealing commission money from the employees, it had a series of burglaries. All the macs were stolen. The police couldn’t be less interested. Ha ha ha.
Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons
until 14th September