This is a brilliant exhibition. To stand in front of Manet is nearly as good as standing in front of Matisse. The Musee d'Orssay is almost a Manet lockup. Here is late nineteenth century Parisian society as we would like to imagine it. Men dressed well, but casually. Ladies expecting to be in love. Tight waists, tight wrists and silly small hats. Just look at the adoration in the beau's eyes in Chez le Pere Lathuille. His poetic intentions are gloriously dishonourable. But don't miss the waiter in the background sneering with his coffee pot at hand. Why can't the lovers find somewhere else to be stupid? No wonder they call this show Manet, the Man who Invented Modernity.
The Eurostar to London is simply not a railroad full of promise. But pause when you get to the London terminus, St Pancras. Wonderfully restored with bewilderingly brilliant glass ceiling.
A stroll by the Thames to Tate Modern the one time power station with the best view of St Paul's Cathedral. It's Joan Miro - the first proper retrospective for half a century. This is the work of more than an icon. It reflects the tiredness of a Europe so dreadfully in conflict for more than his lifetime in the war that so divided his native Spain, to the Second World War.
For me two things stood out: the collection of 50 black and white prints from the Barcelona Series. Strong and self assured mark making, expressing the vulnerability of the human condition and no room for self doubt. The second: the two vast triptychs. Beautiful application of paint utterly pure and joyuous colour. I left overawed, but then with, I confess, a sense of dread I trudged along to the Hayward Gallery and the Tracey Emin retrospection.
Old Sewell got it right. Old Emin did not. The sadness is that the London art scene with its pretensions is conning us and Tracey is just going along with it. Go to Miro instead.
ArtScene Quote of The Week: "I draw like other people bite their nails", Picasso.