Wednesday, 20 March 2013

National Portrait Gallery

During our last visit to London we visited the National Portrait Gallery and looked at some of the portraits in the 20th and 21st century permanent collection. These are some of the ones I particularly liked:

Germaine Greer by Paula Rego, 1995  (pastel on paper laid on aluminium)

Greer is wearing a Jean Muir dress and a pair of old favourite shoes. The portrait's lack of flattery appeals to Greer: 'a portrait that is kind, is condenscending. The last thing I would want is for Paula to condescend to me, and it's the last thing she would think of doing'.

Amy-Blu, Amy Winehouse, Marlene Dumas, 2011 (oil on canvas)

Amsterdam-based South African born artist, Marlene Dumas is concerned with issues relating to identity, race and power and the proliferation of images in contemporary culture. The portrait is derived from a photographic source. The rich translucent blues speak as much of Winehouse's musical influences as much as of the melancholy details of her career.

Three Royal Court Theatre Directors: Katie Mitchell; Stephen Daldry; Ian Rickson, by Justin Mortiner, 2004 (oil on canvas)

Marc Quinn, Self, 2006, (Blood, artist's own, liquid silicone, stainless steel, glass, perspex, and refrigeration equipment)

Self is a work begun in 1991. A self portrait, cast in eight pints of Quinn's frozen blood. The artist makes a new version of Self every five years, documenting Quinn's own transformation and deterioration.

Self-portrait, David Hockney, 2005 (oil on canvas)

This is one of a series of works completed in just a few sittings in which Hockney worked directly onto the canvas using oils. The work sets up a triangular exchange of gazes between the viewer, the artist and the New York-based curator, Charlie Scheips.

Judi Dench, by Alessandro Roho, 2004

Lynn Seymour, by Andrew Logan, 1987-93 (copper sheet, glass and resin)

Speaking of this work Logan stated 'Lynn flies, she doesn't dance' and this work conveys her vitality as a dancer.

Jean Muir, by Glenys Barton, 1992 (ceramic)
This statuette preceded three further ceramic portraits of Muir by Barton.
 David Bowie, by Stephen Finer, 1994
 Peter Warren Cochrane, by Howard Hodgkin, 1962
 Mick Jagger, by Andy Warhol, 1975 (silkscreen print)
Elizabeth Taylor, by Andy Warhol, 1967 (offset lithograph) 
John Kobal, by Andy Warhol, 1986, (silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas) 
 Self-portrait, by Lucian Freud, 1963 (oil on canvas)

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