Lectures & Events

The Society runs a series of lectures on Wednesday evenings between September and April. They’re held at The American University in London, Queen’s Road, Richmond TW10 6JP. The lectures frequently coincide with exhibitions running in the major London galleries.

Lecture Programme 2021/2022 update

We are currently holding a mix of Zoom lectures and in-person lectures at our normal venue, the American University.

All members will receive a link to any Zoom lecture in an email the day before. Lectures commence at 8pm unless otherwise stated.

2021/2022 Lecture Programme

22nd September 2021

Auguste Rodin

Departing with centuries of tradition, Rodin invented new ways of making sculpture and modelled the human body with realism, character and emotion. This talk will coincide with a major exhibition of the sculptor’s work at Tate Modern 18 May – 21 November 2021.

Lecturer: Frank Woodgate
(Zoom lecture)

Wednesday 6th October

Mucha and the Slav Epic

We are all familiar with Alfons Mucha as an icon of fin-de-siècle Paris, the poster designer who made actress Sarah Bernhardt immortal, and who turned advertising into an art form. Less well known is the work to which Mucha devoted over twenty years of his later career, and which he himself regarded as his greatest accomplishment. This was the Slav Epic, a series of 20 enormous canvases first shown in 1928, which presented a visual history of the Slavs from their mythical past to a visionary future. Mucha conceived his work as a gift to Prague and the Czech people: “I wanted”, he said, “to talk in my own way to the soul of the nation”. Find out if he succeeded.

Lecturer: Kathy McLauchlan

Wednesday 27th October

Photography as Fine Art

Should we accept that the very best photographs can be regarded as art? This question is at the heart of Brian Stater’s lecture, in which he references the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fay Godwin, Bill Brandt, Ansell Adams and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Lecturer: Brian Stater

Wednesday 10th November

Poussin and the Dance

In his paintings of dance Nicolas Poussin brings to life the Classical world of gods and mortals with wild and riotous movement. This lecture will coincide with an exhibition at the National Gallery 9 October 2021 – 2 January 2022.

Lecturer: Clare Ford Wille

Wednesday 15th December

Art from Britain and the Caribbean

This lecture will coincide with an exhibition at Tate Britain 1 December 2021 – 3 April 2022. The exhibition ‘Art from Britain and the Caribbean’ will explore work by artists from the Caribbean who made their home in Britain, as well as other British artists who have made work addressing Caribbean themes and heritage.  It will be celebration of how people from the Caribbean have forged new communities and identities in post-war Britain, transforming British culture and society in the process.

Lecturer: Rosalind Whyte
(Zoom lecture)

Wednesday 19th January 2022

Art of the Still Life

From humble origins as the lowest of the genres, still-life became the subject of some of the most beautiful, exciting, innovative and astonishing works in the history of art.

Lecturer: Valerie Woodgate
(Zoom lecture)

9th February 2022

Michael Craig Martin

With a very distinguishable style depicting mass-produced everyday objects, Michael Craig-Martin gives us a visual vocabulary of pictorial ready-mades which devine us, connect us, and reflect who we are. Tapping into the zeitgeist of ethnographical ideas about who we are, art historian Mariska Beekenkamp-Wladimiroff will highlight some of Craig-Martin’s work and his importance in the canon of contemporary British artists.

Lecturer: Mariska Beekenkamp-Wladimiroff
(Zoom lecture)

2nd March 2022

Peter Blake

Peter Blake is one of the best known artists of his generation. Together with his contemporaries at the Royal College of Art such as David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj, he played a key role in the newly emerging Pop Art movement. His subjects include fairgrounds, wrestlers and film stars and his design of the sleeve of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album in 1967 has become truly iconic.

Lecturer: Colin Wiggins

23rd March 2022

The Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay, housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station in central Paris is one of the great European art galleries.
It holds the largest collection of French art from 1848 to 1914. Join us to look at some of its Realist, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces from Ingres to van Gogh. 

Lecturer: Lucrezia Walker

13th April 2022

Lucian Freud

Possibly the greatest figure painter of the second half of the 20th century, Lucian Freud, also led an extraordinary life, from his family’s escape from the Hitler regime in the 1930’s to his colourful and combative life in London. This talk will look at his unforgettable paintings (many of which have a penetrative scrutiny that is almost the visual equivalent of his grandfather Sigmund’s analysis of patients) as well as his relations with his models and fellow artists.

Lecturer: John Iddon