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HUMANITIES 511 If there seems to be little enough irony in Tippett's book, there is even less in Blair Laing's Morrice. For Laing's book is a self-confessed - one might almost say, self-confessional - panegyric on the artist he has pursued as dealer, collector, and now author for over fifty years. In 1934 Laing Galleries in Toronto organized an exhibition of thirty of Morrice's canvasses and pochades (small panel paintings), along with twenty-one of his late watercolours. 'The emotional impact on me [ofthe exhibition] was such that in the half-century since,' writes Laing, 'I have increasingly pursued works by James Morrice, and have been haunted by visions of the man himself - a statement that I hope this book bears out.' In order to write the volume, Laing visited many of the studios and locations where Morrice painted - in Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Venice, Capri, North Africa, the Caribbean, and Quebec - and tracked down, with the help of researchers in Canada and abroad (for some reason not acknowledged in the book), the minutiae of Morrice's friendships and peregrinations. The result is a curious mixture of hagiography and hard detail. The best parts, I think, are those that recount the circumstances under which Laing purchased works by Morrice. Here he is on the familiar ground of his previous books, Memoirs of an Art Dealer (2 vols). As in those earlier publications, he illustrates many of the works that have come into his hands. Opposite each page of text is an excellentcolour plate ofa painting or a drawing by Morrice - fully three-quarters of which, it should be said (as the book unaccountably does not), are drawn from Laing's own personal collection. Jean Sutherland Boggs contributes a short, lyrical introduction in the book to the artist's work. (JOHN O'BRIAN) David McTavish. Pictures from the Age of Rembrandt: Selections from the Personal Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Bader Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 13 October-2 5 November 1984. 85, 37 plates of which 3 in colour The exhibition and the accompanying catalogue offer an opportunity to consider an extremely interesting if eclectic group of thirty-six paintings by Dutch masters of the seventeenth century. Though selections from this collection have been shown on various occasions in the United States, this is their first exhibition in Canada. To have launched this exhibition is very much to the credit of the organizers, in particular Professor David McTavish of Queen's University and of course Dr and Mrs Alfred Bader. Though a citizen and resident of the United States, Bader has nurtured his attachment to Queen's University since taking his degrees there during World War II; his generosity has been exemplary. In his preface he writes of his desire to foster the understanding and discussion of old master art, an activity obviously dear to his heart. His enthusiasm has been met in Professor 512 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 McTavish, whose appreciation of the importance of these aims provided the impetus for this exhibition. This is especially commendable as McTavish, though a well-respected scholar, is properly at home in the field of Italian art. The selection is not meant to provide an encyclopaedic survey of Dutch art. Nevertheless, the catalogue encompasses many illustrious names: RuisdaeL Lievens, Terbrugghen, Rembrandt; indeed, nearly half the exhibited works are from Rembrandt's extended circle. There are, however, excellent pictures here with less 9£ a nominal tap on our attention: for example, a splendid painting by the Rembrandt follower W. Drost, a Portrait ofa Woman, in my view characterized as a sibyl. Even more remarkable is the painting justly chosen for the cover illustration, '" the astonishingly subtle Joseph Interpreting the Baker's Dream, for which no satisfactory attribution has been recorded. The lucid catalogue entries seek fIrst of all to assemble the expressed views of specialists in the field. As the author is here working outside his own, this conservative approach is quite understandable. These paintings, particularly in juxtaposition, raise significant issues of interpretation and context. As two thirds of them involve either religious or more generally moral themes, the selection...


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pp. 511-513
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