Countdown to my new Solo Exhibition | 2 days – Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe
As my new collection of Norms started to gain momentum, and I started to amass a series of Norm sketches and new Norm paintings including yesterday’s featured work, Flamenco Norm, I started to take inspiration from the art that had gone before me. Not my art, but the art of the great masters of art history past. The first of art history’s masterpieces to get my “Norm” treatment was none other than Velazquez’s Infanta series. This was followed by Degas’ L’Absinthe, Frans Hals Laughing Cavalier, Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait and Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine. But of all art history’s masterpieces, there is one work which I had always wanted to emulate, but had never quite put my finger on how I could represent it in my own style. Now that the Norms were back, I had the key to the problem. And the painting? Why Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe.
Massively controversial in its day, famously rejected from the 1863 Paris Salon and lampooned in the Salon des Refusés that same year, Manet’s picnic masterpiece with its mysterious conjunction of two dressed men and a totally naked woman is well established as having marked a turning point for modern art; for having inspired the Impressionists to forge a new revolutionary path in the art world; and for exposing hitherunto hidden social realities in a world of artifical society niceties. It’s a painting which has been emulated and reworked by artist after artist, Picasso being perhaps the most famous to do so. And now it’s my turn – and that of my Norms.
My Norm Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe was painted in 2012, and with its abundant picnic full of delicious delicacies of the age, it’s certainly one of my more complex Norm paintings. It’s also the biggest at 100 x 80cm. However while the composition very closely emulates Manet’s original, the colour palette is completely changed, and it is perhaps this element which I feel is the work’s greatest success.
Now the painting is wrapped in bubbles; it’s corners are specially protected and it is getting ready to travel for the first time, a few miles north into central london where it will be displayed in pride of place amongst my new collection of solo works. For in only 2 days my new solo exhibition of paintings and prints will open at London’s Strand Gallery. Please come along and share in the last 6 years of my work. In the meantime take a look at the gallery below featuring all 15 of my Norm works based on the geniuses of art history. Enjoy!
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