- Museum number
- Object: Vernissage-Cocktail
Cropped reproduction of photograph of group of American abstract artists, including Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollock on semi-abstract background, with blobs of paint framing the composition; proof. 1967
Colour screenprint, photo-screenprint
- Production date
Height: 1030 millimetres
Width: 708 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Edition of 70. Printed at Kelpra Studio, London. Illustrated Kinsman p.35
The original photograph by Nina Leen appeared in 'Life' magazine January 15, 1951, 'American abstract artists, The Irascibles'.
Label text from: 2013, May - Sept, BM, 'Recent Acquisitions'
Kitaj had an ambivalent attitude towards his prints and dismissed most of his output of the 1960s because by the mid-1970s he had embraced drawing as his true mode of expression. Consequently he considered these photo-mechanical prints were not by the 'hand' of the artist but produced through an intermediary, ie a printer.
Yet Kitaj kept virtually every artist's proof that he made in his studio until his death and this is the core of the gift to the British Museum. When asked by Jane Kinsman in 1994 when she was compiling her catalogue raisonné of his prints, he ruefully referred to this work as 'a hack print' and continues: 'What could I have been thinking when I cobbled such pot-boilers.'
He goes on to explain that the blobs framing the work refers to the paint drips used by the abstract expressionists who are the subject of the photograph by Nina Leen which originally appeared in 'Life' magazine in 1951. Dubbed 'The Irascibles' in the original photograph, the group of artists who included Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, were protesting against the exclusion of abstract expressionist art in the exhibition 'American Painting Today', 1950 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013, May - Sept, BM, 'Recent Acquisitions'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number