Marlene Dumas

Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie)

2016

In Tate Britain
Artist
Marlene Dumas born 1953
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 502 x 404 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by an anonymous donor 2018
Reference
T14922

Display caption

Dumas is interested in constructions of identity and the fluid distinctions between public and private roles. Lord Alfred Douglas, also known as ‘Bosie’, and dramatist Oscar Wilde were lovers at a time when sex between men was illegal. This lead to Wilde’s imprisonment for two years in 1895 for gross indecency. Dumas says: ‘I have tried to show Wilde less as a proud author and more as a vulnerable man in relation to the young lover who led to his tragic end.’ These portraits, based on 19th-century photographs, are hung together as a pair, as they could never have been at the time.

Gallery label, September 2018

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