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The narrative element in Kitaj's painting is frequently informed by a delight in the free-association of ideas and images. Kitaj has explained that in this work 'the three main actors represent myself in youth, middle-age and old-age. Behind them is a drop-curtain inscribed with historiated capital letters of cities where I've lived or loved... The catwalk stage on which the figures tread and stumble through life becomes the roof of a baseball dugout in which I've tried half-heartedly to draw some of my demons (Don't Ask!), colourless spectres only thinly isolated from the three leading players above.' The idea for the painting came from a magazine illustration of a scene from 'an experimental drama' by Thornton Wilder.

September 2004