British Self-Portraits in the Twentieth Century

The earliest in this remarkable collection of 100 British Self-Portraits include work by Raymond Coxon, Ithell Colquhoun, Carel Weight and Anne Redpath from the inter-war years, but most are from the 1950’s and 1960’s, helping to evoke an entire period in British art and its myriad developing strands. All kinds of artistic influences are evident—art school academicism, Camden Town, Expressionism, the Euston Road School and Kitchen Sink.

Ruth Borchard started collecting British self-portraits in the late 1950s, her interest spurred by viewing art school shows, the ‘Young Contemporaries’ exhibitions of student art and by Jack Beddington’s book ‘Young Artists of Promise’. With astonishing bravado, she set herself a ceiling of 21 guineas for any one picture, irrespective of the artist’s fame, and usually succeeded. ’Dowsing for talent’, she wrote to the artists, saw their work in exhibitions and visited their studios.

Among young artists spotted by Ruth Borchard in their student days were Mario Dubsky, Peter Phillips and Patrick Proctor; along with Anthony Eyton, Anthony Green, Ken Howard, David Tindle, Euan Uglow and others relatively early in their careers. As the collection and her confidence grew, she approached artists at the height of their careers; some declined to participate, but many, such as Michael Ayrton, Roger Hilton, Felix Topolski and Keith Vaughan co-operated. Most were intrigued by the project, while Ayrton wrote, “I will accept the 21gns and I much admire anyone who can obtain so many works for no more than that figure.”

Duration 24 July 2009 - 30 August 2009
Cost free
Venue Kings Place
Address 90 York Way London, N1 9AG, ,
Contact 020 7520 1440. / /

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