Peter Blake



Not on display

Peter Blake born 1932
Enamel paint, wood, plastic and printed paper on board
Support: 476 × 267 × 38 mm
Presented by E.J. Power through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1974

Display caption

This painting is named after Tuesday Weld, a young screen actress who began her career in the early 1960s and became one of the sex symbols of the day. Blake selected her as the subject of this painting because of her unusual first name. Two photographs of her are included at the top of the painting. The three bands of colour in the lower section of the work can be seen as alluding to the contemporary hard edge abstract painting of such artists as Albers, Kelly and Noland.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T01934 TUESDAY 1961

Not inscribed
Enamel paint, wood relief and collage on hardboard, 18 3/4×10 3/8×1 3/4 (47.6×25.7×3.2)
Presented by E. J. Power through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1974
Coll: Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd.; bt E. J. Power 1962
Lit: Robert Melville, ‘The Durable Expendables of Peter Blake’, Motif, x, Winter 1962–3, pp. 20–22, repr. p.20

The painting was purchased by the previous owner from Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd in March 1962, prior to the exhibition British painting and sculpture today and yesterday (shown in April) which contained several works by Blake, but not the picture in question.

The title of the picture is a reference to Tuesday Weld, who belonged to that group of teenage film-star sex symbols which included Lee Remick, Carroll Baker, Christine Kaufmann and others. Blake particularly liked the idea of this phenomenon and there are many references to such stars in his work of the late fifties and early sixties. Tuesday Weld also appears in Blake's painting ‘Medals’, 1960.

In this case her enigmatic name was the reason why he chose to make the picture, not because she was a good actress (though according to Blake she later became one) or because he knew much about her, though he had seen her in several films. Indeed he did not regard it as important that the spectator should immediately see the connection between the word ‘Tuesday’ and the photographs.

The source of these images was probably, though not certainly, ‘Playboy Magazine’. The letters used for the name ‘Tuesday’ are the kind of ready-made plastic letter which can be screwed to a front door or garden gate. However, the artist has been unable to obtain an ‘A’ and has used a ‘V’ instead, upside down. (He has continued to make use of ready-made letters including those from Victorian word games in his work).

The picture was done towards the end of the series which includes ‘The Fine Art Bit’, 1959 (T.1174), the ‘Everly Wall’, 1959, and other paintings contrasting collage with painted areas of stripes, chevrons and similar simple heraldic abstract devices. The use of current art devices and how quickly they can be assimilated has always interested Blake and, as in ‘The Fine Art Bit’, the stripes in ‘Tuesday’ are partly there as an ironical comment on what was happening in art at the time. In this case the broad bands of red, yellow and blue are there as a reference to Ellsworth Kelly and, the artist suggested, perhaps in a small way to Yves Klein. But these devices sometimes also had ‘found’ origins in a different sense, red and yellow diagonals from railway rubbish bins, for example. In ‘Tuesday’ the stripes are painted in house paint because ‘it was simple and flat and came in the best colours’. Blake did not think of this usage itself as a fine art reference (eg. Pollock). On the contrary he regarded it as the least fine art reference he could find and the action of planting it into a fine art context was deliberate.

A strip of green painted wood divides the primary-coloured bands from the collage area. Blake has used this device in many pictures, seeing it as a kind of neutral zone or bar, and has painted it green or brown for precisely this reason.

The use of carpentry, of a black wooden frame which is an integral part of the picture, of wood relief, real letters, indicate that Blake regarded what he was making as specifically an object. The name Tuesday and the formal construction of the work give it something of the feeling of a calendar, and the artist agreed this might well have been in his mind at the time. (He subsequently started to make a girlie calendar though the project has not so far been completed).

When asked about his use of discrete and even contradictory information systems to construct something indefinable and strange, even Surrealist, Blake replied that he had regarded what he was doing as a kind of ‘New Surrealism’. He was interested in making art which was as magical as the Surrealists', but instead making it as real as possible. He said he felt that a painting by Magritte or Dali worked as Surrealist first and that the magic happened afterwards. He did not want to have ‘the excuse of Surrealism which means you hardly believe in what you see’.

This information has been edited and approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

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