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A Century of Collage    Apr 8 - May 31, 2013

Figure in a Landscape
Ivor Abrahams
Figure in a Landscape, 1992
 
The Human Thermostat
Joseph Cornell
The Human Thermostat, circa 1960
 
Collage Study for Brushstroke Sculpture
Roy Lichtenstein
Collage Study for Brushstroke Sculpture, 1981
 
Untitled
Bruce McLean
Untitled, 2012
 
The Brown Stripe
Robert Motherwell
The Brown Stripe, 1967
 
Xylol
Robert Motherwell
Xylol, 1977
 
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"Collage was a major turning point in the evolution of Cubism, and therefore a major turning point in the whole evolution of modernist art in this century." -Clement Greenberg, 1959

Bernard Jacobson Gallery is delighted to announce its latest exhibition A Century of Collage, showing at the London gallery from 8 April - 24 May 2013. Part of our season of collage, the exhibition presents a survey of collage from its modern inception in the early twentieth century, to present-day explorations of the form.

Our season started earlier this year with an exhibition of collages and assemblages by German artist Kurt Schwitters and will continue with American abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell in June and July, coinciding with a major show of his collages at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum opening in time for the Venice Biennale at the end of May and travelling to New York in the autumn.

The origins of collage are attributed to the early work of Picasso and Braque, beginning in 1912. Picasso's The Letter and Still-Life with Chair Caning and Braque's Fruit Dish with Glass (all 1912) are widely considered the very first instances of collage or papier collé. Throughout the twentieth century, collage was used to aesthetic and political ends to explore the disruption and discontinuity of the modern world.

Highlights of our current show include works by Giacomo Balla, Roy Lichtenstein, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, Mimmo Rotella, Conrad Marca-Relli, Robert Motherwell and Tom Wesselmann. Balla's Attenti Alle Spie... from 1915 is the exhibition's earliest work, followed by the great collagist Kurt Schwitters here represented by two of his merz works, Mz 26, 45 Sch (1925-6) and Last Birds and Flowers (1946). A significant figure in European Dada, Schwitters is most famous for his abstract collages, which he began in 1918 using found and everyday objects such as labels, bus tickets, fabric and bits of broken wood. Schwitters in Britain is showing at Tate Britain in London until 12 May 2013.

Moving into later examples of collage, British artists represented include Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi; and American artists include Conrad Marca-Relli, Robert Motherwell, Joseph Cornell, Tom Wesselmann, and Roy Lichtenstein. Joseph Cornell is represented by three collages: The Human Thermostat (c. 1960), Penny Arcade (1960), and Carrousel-Lanner Waltzes (1971). Following on from Schwitters' early explorations with found objects, Cornell is most famous for his box assemblages and collages, exploring surprising juxtapositions of materials and ideas that are usually associated with Surrealism.

Motherwell's The Brown Stripe from 1967 and Xylol, completed a decade later in 1977, are exemplary of his dedication to the form. His explorations with collage began in the 1940s when he was introduced to Peggy Guggenheim, who urged both he and Jackson Pollock to contribute a work to a collage exhibition she was hosting at her gallery in New York. Unlike Pollock, Motherwell discovered a passion and aptitude for the medium, and continued to make collages throughout his career.

Tom Wesselmann's Bedroom Collage Edition is a recognizable offshoot of his famous Bedroom Painting series. At the forefront of the American pop art movement, Wesselmann's iconic images of everyday popular culture are here explored in collage form. A major retrospective of his work, including some of the Bedroom Painting series, has just opened at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, travelling from Montreal's Musée des Beaux Arts where it ran from May - October 2012.

Roy Lichtenstein's Collage for Brushstroke Sculpture (1981) is a later example of Lichtenstein's important contribution to American modernism. His Brushstroke series began in 1965, and was meant to parody Abstract Expressionism and the importance of gesture in this style. A tongue-in-cheek retort to some of pop art's biggest critics, the Brushstroke theme was explored in Lichtenstein's paintings, collages, and later sculptures. Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is showing at the Tate Modern in London until 27 May 2013.

Contemporary gallery artists exhibited include William Tillyer, whose Montparnasse Collage No. 14 was completed in 1998-99, the same year he was shortlisted for the Jerwood prize; Marc Vaux, whose Untitled works from 2004-05 explore geometric abstraction in collage form; and Bruce McLean, whose Waiter Curator collages (2012) were exhibited in his recent solo exhibition The Shapes of Sculpture at Bernard Jacobson Gallery London in October 2012.

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