Artist biography

English painter and collagist. She studied stained glass at Wimbledon School of Art (1954–8), and at the Royal College of Art, London (1959–61). Painting became the focus of her practice after finishing college. Boty became a well-known personality in London during the 1960s, attracting attention for her striking looks and minor roles in television drama as well as through her reputation as a painter. By 1963 she had evolved a Pop vocabulary in her paintings using images of celebrities with a celebratory and humorous approach to female sexuality. In Celia and her Heroes, the fabric designer Celia Birtwell is portrayed against a variety of images including a portrait of Elvis, a painting by Blake and a portrait of David Hockney (whose 1961 etching Myself and My Heroes is slyly alluded to in her own title). Her work then began to include more serious subject-matter, with a number of political paintings such as Count Down to Violence (1964; see 1998 exh. cat., frontispiece), which incorporate multiple images of destruction and aggression. One of her most celebrated works, It's A Man's World II, (1965–6; see 1998 exh. cat., pl. 16), the title of which was borrowed from a hit song by James Brown, humorously appropriates images from soft porn, while adopting a harsher and more critical tone than in her earlier work. After her early death from leukaemia, Boty's work was largely ignored until the 1990s, when interest was rekindled in her female perspective on Pop concerns.

D. Mellor: The Sixties Art Scene in London (London, 1993)
D.A. Mellor and L. Gervereau, eds.: The Sixites: Britain and France, 1962–1973: The Utopian Years (London, 1997)
Pauline Boty: The Only Blonde in the World

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