Ewan Venters (left), CEO Fortnum & Mason, John Virtue, and Frank Cohen in front of Virtues Landscape No. 174
courtesy Frank Cohen
For the third year, the gregarious UK private collector Frank Cohen has teamed up with one of Londons most luxurious food and gifts emporiums (Fortnums X Frank, 10 September-20 October). The high-end department store Fortnum & Mason, which faces the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly, will be dotted later this year with 70 monochromatic works by the UK landscape artist John Virtue, an artist Cohen is keen on. He says in a statement: “I am a collector of [Virtues] work and always admired the energy and power of his expansive landscapes and surging seascapes. In a time when the whole world has gone contemporary mad, I was keen to steady the boat and bring these works to the foreground.” Virtue was taught by Frank Auerbach at the Slade School of Fine Art in the 1960s, and was associate artist at the National Gallery in London from 2003 to 2005. “His paintings have affinities with oriental brush painting and US abstract expressionism but above all, they relate closely to the great English landscape painters, Turner and Constable,” says a statement from the National Gallery. Visitors to Frieze London (4-7 October) can pop into Fortnum & Mason for a cup of tea—and a slice of Virtue this autumn.