Kitaj drew from life and his artistic influences included Cézanne, Degas, Matisse and Picasso. References to the works of Cézanne and Matisse are visible in 'Screenplay', especially in exquisite execution of landscape forming central part of the painting and in a heavily stylised frame of the screen which imitates bold collage.
Ronald Brooks Kitaj was born in 1932 in Chagrin Falls near Cleveland, Ohio. He studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna and at the Cooper Union in New York. After serving in the United States Army for two years, he moved to England to study at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford (1958-59) and then at the Royal College of Art in London (1959-61), where he met his long-time friend David Hockney, as well as Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips, Allen Jones and Patrick Caulfield.
In 1976 Kitaj curated 'The Human Clay' exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, championing the cause of figurative art at a time when abstraction was predominant. He also invented the popular term 'School of London', referring to a group of London-based painters that included Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Euan Uglow, Michael Andrews and himself. He was the first American since John Singer Sargent to join the Royal Academy in 1991.
Kitaj's figurative paintings feature areas of bright colour and economic use of line. The artist developed a very personal iconography, inspired by a variety of sources; references to political history, Western art, literature and Jewish tradition frequently reappear in his work.
- Artwork Details: 78.7 x 78.7cm
- Material description: oil on canvas
- Credit line: © The Estate of R.B. Kitaj
- Theme: Landscape
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: AC 915