Stephen Gilbert



Not on display

Stephen Gilbert 1910–2007
Monotype on paper
Image: 314 × 235 mm
Purchased 1987

Display caption

Gilbert made drawings like these as a way of coming up with ideas for his paintings. Organic shapes, heads and fantastic animals emerge in these images, tangled up with vigorous lines. The same triangular face can be found in both the monotype print and one of the ink drawings. This combination is characteristic of the work Gilbert made after settling in Paris in 1945. They move away from earlier, more explicit animal forms and show his development towards a fluid abstraction. This shift coincided with Gilbert’s involvement with CoBrA.

Gallery label, July 2005

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Catalogue entry

P77188 Untitled 1947

Monotype 314 × 235 (12 3/8 × 9 1/4) on same size wove machine-made paper; printed by the artist
Inscribed ‘S. Gilbert 47’ b.l.
Purchased from Noël le Gall, Neuilly-sur-Seine (Grant-in-Aid) 1987

This monotype depicts an upwardly pointing arrow, printed in red. The surrounding area is patterned in purple, blue, green and black. In the top right corner one can make out a triangular face with eyes and nose. This mask-like image, which has both animal and human attributes, is seen also in T04933 (see earlier entry).

P77188 is one of only three monotypes made by the artist. One is in the collection of Noël le Gall and the other was given by the artist to Captain Frank McEwan who headed the painting section of the British Council in Paris after the war. All three were made in 1947. Although they are, according to the artist, quite distinct as images, they were all produced using the same method. This involved painting onto glass and pressing a sheet of paper onto it by hand. Gilbert cannot recall who first introduced him to the process. He did not consider the technique sufficiently interesting to develop in other works. The paper used to make P77188 is poor quality machine-made paper taken from a spiral bound sketchbook. The same sketchbook, or an identical one, provided the paper for the ink drawings T04933 and T04934.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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