R.B. KitajErasmus Variations 1958

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Artwork details

Artist
R.B. Kitaj (1932‑2007)
Title
Erasmus Variations
Date 1958
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 1049 x 842 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to Tate 2007
Reference
T12540
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1950

Summary

This painting’s composition is based on a grid made up of nine squares in three rows of three. In each square is a face, with two faces appearing in profile in the central square. Each face is cartoon-like and sketchily painted in muted colours. The artist’s method of smudging colours and his use of heavily diluted oil paint, which has left drip marks on the canvas, create an impression of fluidity and spontaneity. The borders of the grid are blurred as the different background colours of the squares seem to spill into one another.

Kitaj, who was born in Cleveland, USA, produced this work early in his career, while he was at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford. He had moved to Britain in 1958 to study art, having served for two years in the American army in Europe… (read more)

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