This exhibition takes a look at the development of portraiture in print by some of the leading British artists of today, starting from the 18th century.
Expensive guided tours aside, this is your chance to glimpse the Clifford Chance corporate art collection in a public gallery. Focusing on portraiture and self-portraiture, expect to see the development of realism, social commentary and caricature in the hands of 18th century artist William Hogarth. His sarcastic ‘modern moral subjects’ brought him notoriety, especially the eight-piece The Rake’s Progress (1735) which depicts a young heir’s fall from grace and Marriage à la Mode (1745), a virtuoso satire of 18th century privilege and sex. These paintings are relevant here because Hogarth originally made them as engravings for mass reproduction.
Preferring to work in etching, in which a waxed metal plate is etched with a needle before being ‘bitten’ by acid ready for printing, David Hockney appropriated Hogarth with his own scratchy, auto-biographical A Rake’s Progress in 1965. With himself in the title role, Hockney tells the tale of a young man who arrives in New York City full of ambitions only to be consumed by the ‘bedlam’ of uniformity. Hockney’s fine printmaking hand is unsurpassed in Britain today, from tender portraits of sleeping young men to dozing dachshunds and scenes of Americana.
This exhibition will look at how the print can bring politics and illustration into the frame for artists such as Hogarth and Hockney, as well as motivate graphic abstraction for others like Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume. Gavin Turk also makes an appearance for the ‘YBAs’, the group made famous by leaders Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.
This exhibition reminds us of the social and graphic potentials of portraiture in print, from the priceless collection of a giant multinational: an irony at which Hogarth would have smiled
|What||Face to Face: British Portraits from the Clifford Chance Art Collection, Sir John Soane's Museum|
Sir John Soane’s Museum
13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP | MAP
|Nearest tube||Holborn (underground)|
10 Oct 14 – 24 Jan 15, 12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more information|