Gallery Lazarides Editions will be presenting their inaugural exhibition, a print retrospective by portrait artist Jonathan Yeo. Alongside new works illustrating notable names such as Lily Cole and Helena Bonhan-Carter, an unseen X-rated portrait of Silvio Berlusconi will be on display, based on the original collage made from porn magazine photographs. Jonathan Yeo says this is the last portrait he will produce using pornography, “Now there’s so much porn on the internet there aren’t so many porn mags. My materials have gone.”
Born in 1970, Jonathan Yeo is entirely self-taught, having taken up painting during a lengthy and painful recovery from Hodgkin’s disease in his early 20s. He himself has pointed out in newspaper interviews that portrait painting was considered highly unfashionable when he began work in the late 1990s. He is one of the most highly regarded portrait painters working in Britain today. A regular exhibitor in its BP Portrait Award, the National Portrait Gallery commissioned Yeo to paint a portrait of broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson in 2010. Jonathan Yeo Portraits is curated by the Gallery’s Contemporary Curator, Sarah Howgate, whose exhibitions include the highly successfulLucian Freud Portraits (2012) and David Hockney Portraits (2006).
Born on 29 September 1936, Berlusconi began his career selling vacuum cleaners and built a reputation as a crooner in nightclubs and on cruise ships. “I am without doubt the person who’s been the most persecuted in the entire history of the world and the history of man”. He graduated in law in 1961 and then set up Edilnord, a construction company, establishing himself as a residential housing developer around his native Milan. Ten years later he launched a local cable-television outfit – Telemilano – which would grow into Italy’s biggest media empire, Mediaset, controlling the country’s three largest private TV stations.
The question remains would you really like to own a portrait of Silvio Berlusconi dressed let alone in the raw!!!! Berlusconi, 77, was sentenced to four years in prison and ejected from his seat in the Senate.
Meanwhile, a previously unseen portrait of the actor and social entrepreneur Lily Cole has gone on show in a new display of work by Jonathan Yeo that has opened at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle. This is one of several major new portraits that will be on display for the first time in the exhibition. Portraits brings together many of the leading portrait artist’s best known works under one roof, including portraits of Damien Hirst, Kevin Spacey, and Tony Blair, as well as a preparatory sketch for the first painted portrait of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai.The portrait of Lily Cole measures 100 by 75 cm, and depicts her as Helen of Troy, who she played on stage in 2014, in Simon Armitage’s Last Days of Troy.
After receiving great critical acclaim on opening at the National Portrait Gallery, and subsequently at The Lowry, the new show will reveal further pieces, to present the widest survey of Yeo’s oeuvre to date. Paintings on display feature some of Yeo’s most iconic sitters, who are leaders in their respective fields of expertise, ranging across the arts, fashion, politics, and business. Sitters include Jude Law, Sir Michael Parkinson, Idris Elba, Erin O’Connor, Helena Bonham Carter, Doreen Lawrence OBE, and Grayson Perry. Works from Yeo’s plastic surgery series, and his pornographic collage sequence, alongside a range of studies and sketches, are also on display to provide a comprehensive resumé of Yeo’s artistic career, spanning over two decades. The exhibition is organised by the National Portrait Gallery.
Jonathan Yeo Portraits Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle 8th November 2014 to 1st February 2015
Jonathan Yeo: The Print Retrospective Lazarides London| 20 November – 20 December 2014