David Milne review – One of Canada's greatest painters? Pull the other one

By Jonathan Jones

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
From the glitz of New York's gilded age to the horror of the trenches, Milne had plenty to work with. So why does our critic prefer his photos?

This exhibition of a supposedly “great” Canadian artist who was unsuccessful in his own lifetime and is little-known outside his own country today is called David Milne: Modern Painting. I don't know what definition of modern painting they used, but it isn't in any of my books. Milne's paintings are only modern if by that you mean a wishy-washy vagueness, depressed colours and complete lack of shock. This is the cough of the new, modern art with a yawn.

There is very little sign of development in Milne's art, and as you navigate his backwoods the monotony of his subdued palette of russets, pale greens, blacks and muddy browns becomes embarrassingly repetitive.

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