Parties (1962-69)

Michael Andrews, ‘The Deer Park’ 1962
Michael Andrews
The Deer Park 1962
Tate
© The estate of Michael Andrews

During the early 1960s Andrews’s subject matter turned increasingly to the behaviour of people interacting in social groups. In part these developments reflected his own lifestyle. Around this time Andrews’s social circle in London included Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Bruce Bernard and John Deakin as well as friends from the Slade. The celebrated Soho drinking club, The Colony Room, was a favourite haunt and is the subject of one of Andrews’s best known paintings (no. 16) which is displayed in this room.

Andrews was also an avid party-goer. Although shy, he was nevertheless highly sociable. He both enjoyed and was fascinated by parties, seeing them as an occasion to observe one of the things that most interested him: human behaviour. However, the parties depicted in The Deer Park 1962 (no.18), All Night Long 1963-4 (no.20) and the major triptych, Good and Bad at Games 1964-8 (no.21) are inventions: convivial situations staged in the artist’ s imagination. These fantasy parties allowed Andrews to celebrate and contemplate certain social situations and, thus distanced, to explore his response to them.

Good and Bad at Games (the title refers to the ‘games’ people play in social situations) shows three stages in the course of an imagined party. The painting is unusual in Andrew’s oeuvre in that the human form is subject to distortion. The artist shows the waxing and waning of the party-goers’ mood as a result of their experiences over the course of the evening. Some of the partygoers get bigger and more dominant as the evening progresses, while others fade away completely.

The party paintings are complemented by several smaller paintings - studies made for a final (but never completed) party painting which would have included various contemporary celebrities - as well as his major commissioned painting, The Lord Mayor’s Reception 1966-9 (no. 22).

List of works

The Colony Room I 1962

Oil on hardboard
121.9 x 182.8
The St John Wilson Trust

The Colony Room II 1962

Oil on hardboard
91.5 x 99
Private Collection

The Deer Park 1962

Oil on board
214 x 244.5
Tate. Purchased 1974

Study for ‘All Night Long’ 1963-4

Oil on canvas
100 x 74.5
Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London

All Night Long 1963-4

Oil on composition board (3 panels)
183.5 x 368.3
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Felton Bequest 1964

Good and Bad at Games 1964-8

Oil and silkscreen on canvas (triptych)
152.4 x 203.4 (each canvas)
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The Lord Mayor’s Reception in Norwich Castle Keep on the eve of the installation of the first Chancellor of the University of East Anglia 1966-9

Oil and silkscreen on turaphot linen on canvas
213.3 x 213.3
Norfolk Museums Service, Norwich Castle Museum

Head of a Man c.1967

Oil on board
19.5 x 21
Private Collection

Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No 4 1967

Oil on board
21 x 19.3
Private Collection

Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No 6 1967

Oil on board
22 x 15
Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London

Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No 7 1967

Oil on board
23.7 x 23.7
Private Collection

Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No 8 1967

Oil on board
22.2 x 22
Private Collection

Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No 9 1967

Oil on board
22.5 x 21
Private Collection

Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No 10 1967

Oil on board
31.6 x 16.5
Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London

Study of a Head with Green Turban 1967

Oil on board
21.5 x 16.5
Colin St John Wilson

Study of a Head of Arthur Brown (for ‘Lights’) 1968

Oil on board
20 x 17.7
Private Collection, London

Study of a Head for ‘Lights’ No 1 1968

Oil on board
34.2 x 15.2
Private Collection

Study of a Head for ‘Lights’ No 2 1968

Oil on board
15 x 17.5
Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London

Study of a Head for ‘Lights’ No 5 1968

Oil on board
21 x 19.4
Private Collection

The Blue and Yellow of the Yacht Club 1969

Oil on hardboard
61 x 61
Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester