Allen Jones Box 1980

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Artwork details

Artist
Allen Jones born 1937
Title
Box
Date 1980
Medium Lithograph on paper
Dimensions Image: 1060 x 1520 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1982
Reference
P07449
Not on display

Catalogue entry

P07449 Box 1980

Lithograph on 4 sheets 41 3/4 × 59 7/8 (1060 × 1520) overall on Velin Arches, printed by Ian Lawson and published by Waddington Graphics
Inscribed ‘Allen Jones 80’ to the right of bottom centre and ‘46/70’; impressed with the printer's and publisher's stamps
Purchased from Waddington Graphics (Grant-in-Aid) 1982

The following entry is based upon written answers by the artist to questions posed by the compiler in a letter of 18 April 1986 and has been approved by the artist.

P07449 is a four part lithograph comprising one large rectangular sheet, predominantly in green, bordered on three sides by three narrower rectangular sheets, predominantly in red. The image depicts a stage as though seen from a box in a theatre. On either side of the box are two female figures, who are drawn as though glimpsed in the field of peripheral vision, and on the stage are depicted the legs of a ballerina who is leaping. Her torso is too high to be in vision and is therefore not depicted.

The figures are not fully described but only suggested and the artist has stated that when the ‘focus is on the stage the nearer or surrounding elements become diffuse’. This idea, according to the artist, was also used by Jackson Pollock in ‘The Guardians of the Secret’ 1943 (repr. Francis O'Connor and Eugene Thaw (eds.), Jackson Pollock, Newhaven and London, 1978, 1, pl.99) where ‘figurative fragments guard or watch his performance within’.

Compositionally ‘Box’ relates to several of Jones's ‘stage’ paintings where the proscenium or orchestra pit is used to ‘frame the action’. In P07449 the action is literally framed by the three red sheets, which describe the box. Commenting on his reason for making the print in four parts Jones has written: ‘The act of representation asserts an illusion of space in a painting that is avoided in non-figurative work. By sectioning the image, this is counteracted. Your eye is brought up onto the surface - the fact of the paper itself.’

The title of P07449 refers not only to the box in a theatre but also to the notion of a boxed folio of prints.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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