Catalogue entry

Allen Jones born 1937

P77051 Exciting Women 1964

Lithograph 409 x 438 (16 1/8 x 17 1/4) on wove paper 788 x 577 (31 x 22 3/4); printed by the artist at Croydon College of Art in an edition of 12
Inscribed ‘allen jones 64' below image b.r. and ‘9/12' below image b.l.; also ‘Jo 3' in another hand on reverse b.l.; printed inscriptions ‘exciting women' b.l. and ‘good' top centre
Purchased at Christie's (Grant-in-Aid) 1984

The following entry is based on written answers to questions posed by the compiler in a letter of 2 November 1987.

P77051 was made at a time when Jones was teaching lithography at Croydon College of Art, and was executed at the College where there were facilities for photo-lithography. The edition was small because, according to the artist, paper was expensive at the time. Jones initially made around 15 impressions and the edition, of 12, was established by the number of prints unspoiled on completion.

The work is one of a number of prints and paintings that Jones made, from the early sixties, incorporating images from magazines and mail-order catalogues. The artist recalls that the photographic image of seated women in knee-high leather boots came from a newspaper article on Paris Fashion. In a telephone conversation with the compiler (21 December 1987) he commented: ‘In a pedagogical sense I wanted to demonstrate that there were no limits as to suitability of subject matter ... The "aesthetic" statement resided in the newspaper photograph. The drawn carpet on which the artist can be seen walking out of the picture was simply added to give a sense of occasion'.

The frame device, the caption ‘good' and the title ‘exciting women', extend the image beyond its natural boundary. Jones intended such devices to force the viewer to accept the whole sheet as a ‘fact' and thus defy ‘mounting'. The added motifs of the disappearing man, bottom right, and the truncated legs at the top, feature in many works of this period, singularly and in combination. Jones has confirmed that the former is a personification of the artist and commented that ‘I identify with my pictures and often feel "in them" literally'. In addition, the flying legs have been linked by Marco Livingstone, (Allen Jones : Sheer Magic, 1979, pp.43-4) to a Jungian interpretation of the Icarus Myth ‘in terms of the risks that must be run by the youthful ego while striving to surmount the obstacles between adolescence and maturity'. Jones states that such interpretations are legitimate and that at the time he himself ‘subscribed to the notion of a "collective unconscious"' and was not surprised when ‘automatically' he produced ‘images that had a long pre-history within the context of Fine Art'.

Jones regards this print as an experimental work made when he was able to use the press at Croydon as ‘others might use sketchbooks'.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.390-1