Arts Council Collection


Characters: Portraits and People from the Arts Council Collection

Characters:  Portraits and People from the Arts Council Collection
The Holburne Museum, Bath
12 October 2013 - 7 January 2014

Characters: Portraits and People from the Arts Council Collection

This striking and entertaining exhibition, selected from the Arts Council's Collection, brings together a host of characters both real and imagined. Painted by British artists over the last 60 years it will feature works by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Paula Rego and 2013 Turner Prize nominated Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, as well as many of the other leading figurative artists of the last half-century. 

The exhibition considers the twin traditions of observation and invention in the painting of people. Arrangedin two contrasting halves the exhibition compares artists and works rooted in the observable world (such as Auerbach, Freud and Uglow) with those who have invented characters or distorted actual subjects to create grotesques and monsters, from Peter Blake's portrait of the fictional boxer Baron Kaiser and Francis Bacon's imaginary portrait of Van Gogh to Hew Locke's fantastical Medusa, based on the Queen. 

Portraiture is central to both the story of British Art and the Holburne's collection. The Holburne houses one of the country's best collections of British eighteenth-century portraits and this exhibition aims to show how the traditions of portraiture, so well represented in the Museum, have been exploited and developed in this country since the second world war.

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