LiverpoolLiverpool Weekend

Liverpool Weekend (Day Two) – Tate Liverpool (Allegro Strepitoso by Carel Weight)


Welcome to the art review section of this blog written by someone who knows just about nothing about art…… This painting is on plywood and was painted by Carel Weight (1908-1997) in 1932. The gallery notes that ‘allegro’ means merry and ‘strepitoso’ means noisily. I struggled to find a great deal of interesting work in the gallery, but that’s I suspect because I’m not sophisticated enough to understand the bulk of modern art and it goes over my head. This means that this is one of the artworks that I actually liked at the Tate and I mention all this as in later life Weight (once known as the Poet of Putney) said:

“For me the acid test of a painting is: will the ordinary chap get anything out of this.”

That sounds to me a rather sensible measure of artwork, so I’m going along with that. If I get time, I find it interesting to read old newspapers to see what people at the time thought about an artwork that I’ve now seen in person. There’s an element that it’s sometimes just slightly odd to think of someone nearly 100 years ago looking at this very painting in a different environment. A review in the Nottingham Journal of this painting said that the artist was “a young man with a keen sense of humour”.

The Tate’s web-site isn’t that detailed in explaining the heritage of the artwork, simply saying that it was purchased in 1990. It had been purchased by the Friends of the Atkinson Art Gallery in 1970 from the John Moores Exhibition, although I’m not sure what happened to it after that.