Beuys’ dreams, bejewelled paintings and Avatar for art lovers – the week in art

The watercolours behind Beuys’ sculptures are revealed, Soheila Sokhanvari commemorates Iran’s feminist icons and Sahej Rahal creates a digital world – all in your weekly dispatch

Exhibition of the week

Joseph Beuys: 40 Years of Drawing
Drawings and watercolours that reveal the myths and dreams behind this great artist’s sculptures.
Thaddaeus Ropac, London, from 19 January to 22 March.

Also showing

London Art Fair
An approachable art fair with a broad range of galleries, not just the cool ones.
Business Design Centre, London, 18 to 22 January.

Rebel Rebel

Rebel Rebel: Soheila Sokhanvari at The Curve, Barbican.
Celebrating Iranian women … Rebel Rebel. Photograph: Lia Toby/Getty Images for Barbican Centre

Soheila Sokhanvari’s bejewelled paintings celebrate women who were stars in Iran before the 1979 revolution – and mourn their fate.
The Curve, Barbican, until 26 February.

Peter Liversidge
Fluxus-style propositions typed out then acted on determine what this artist ends up with.
Kate MacGarry, London, until 18 February.

Sahej Rahal: Mythmachine
Mythic worlds created with digital technology and made real by sculpture. Like Avatar for art lovers.
Baltic, Gateshead, until 12 February.

Image of the week

Indian Man on the Bus, Mission District, San Francisco, California, 1994.
Indian Man on the Bus, Mission District, San Francisco, California, 1994. Photograph: Zig Jackson Mandan

The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, is presenting one of the first major surveys of the vibrant and challenging work being made by Indigenous photographers today. The exhibition, Speaking with Light, features work by more than 30 groundbreaking artists, including Zig Jackson, who took this photo. See more photos here.

What we learned

Banksy’s online auction for Ukraine was targeted by Russia

A lawsuit claimed a Van Gogh painting on display in the US is stolen

William Hogarth’s works on the walls of a London’s hospital are to be restored

Modern Britain, in all it’s diverse glory, was put on display

A Spanish artist has spent the last decade embroidering buildings

A new exhibition pulls together the daring work of an artist who overcame Nazi Germany

The real reason female artists love a feline muse

George Westren’s dazzling outsider art almost ended up in a skip

Art ensured Karla Dickens’s survival

Masterpiece of the week

Rachel de Ruvigny, Countess of Southampton, as Fortune, circa 1638 by Anthony Van Dyck

Rachel de Ruvigny, Countess of Southampton, as Fortune, circa 1638 by Anthony van Dyck
The Countess of Southampton is portrayed here as a god, in the heavens, but it’s more blasphemous than that. The glittering blue of her flowing gown lays claim to the traditional colour worn by the Virgin Mary in Renaissance paintings. This ethereal hue is outrageously set off by divine gold rays bursting from the clouds and the reflective silver orb on which she rests her arm. At her feet is a skull, to show she has defeated death: it may mean she was painted posthumously, so this is her victory in the beyond. These fulsome accoutrements are the very essence of the baroque, the lavish, supercharged style that made art big and bold in the 1600s. Rachel de Ruvigny has all the flamboyance of a statue by Bernini or a mythological scene by Rubens. But set against all this fantasy is a down to earth directness. Her face is salty and blunt and real, engaging you with sly wit.
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

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