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Sir John Soane’s Museum is showing ‘Face to Face: British Portraits from the Clifford Chance Art Collection’ (10 October 2014– 24 January 2015), an exploration of the development of portraiture by British printmakers from the mid-20th and the first decade of the 21st century.
Featuring works by Patrick Caulfield, David Hockney, William Hogarth, Peter Howson and Gary Hume, among others, ‘Face to Face’ offers a rare opportunity to see engravings, etchings, screenprints and lithographs from the award-winning Clifford Chance art collection. Some 40 prints from a collection rarely seen by the public will be displayed in the Soane Gallery at Sir John Soane’s Museum, exploring the themes of realism, abstraction, process, caricature and social commentary through the medium of portraiture and self-portraiture.
The exhibition includes works such as David Hockney’s 1976 Henry at Table; Leon Kossoff’s Going Home; Paula Rego’s homage to Jane Eyre in her lithographs of Mr Rochester; an early Patrick Caulfield screenprint – Portrait of a Frenchman, 1971; Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s Double Double Vision Vision (a lithographic portrait drawn whilst the artists were blindfolded); Turner Prize 2013 nominee Lynette Yiadom Boakye’s first etching Siskin; and Gary Hume’s The Cleric, from 2000.
The exhibition will also be an opportunity to see the work of younger print makers such as Nicola Thomas, whose etchings play on the themes of visibility and Hollywood film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, and the starkly objective and minimal lithographs of Simon by Alessandro Raho.
William Hogarth’s Character and Caricaturas, from 1743, will also feature in the exhibition and will be on show during the 250th anniversary of Hogarth’s death on 26 October, alongside other Hogarth works in the Soane collection including masterpieces such as A Rake’s Progress and the An Election series.
The one-time home of Sir John Soane at No. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London has portraiture displayed throughout. Portraits of Napoleon, William Pitt the Younger, Sir William Chambers and portraits of Soane and his family form an important aspect of the collection of the Museum. ‘Face to Face’ extends this investigation into portraiture past Soane’s compilation of work and into the 21st century.
Dr Jerzy J. Kierkuć-Bieliński, Exhibitions Curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum commented:
‘Portraiture formed an important area of patronage, collecting and creative enquiry for Sir John Soane. The Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait of Soane from 1828, one of Lawrence’s last paintings, is one of the great paintings in our collection. Soane extended his passion for collecting to include prints. We have one of the most significant, historic collections of etchings by the Italian printmaker G B Piranesi. Soane also had passion for the work of that great British printmaker William Hogarth. One of the treasures of our library is a presentation volume containing seventy-four first impressions of Hogarth’s work (which will be on display during the exhibition).
This exhibition will be an opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity of approaches to both the tradition of the portrait and to printmaking through the work of established artists and the new, upcoming generation of British printmakers.’
Sonia Gilbert, Clifford Chance partner and member of the firm's art committee, told us:
'Bringing art into our building exposes our people to the best and most original thoughts of artists across the decades. We are honoured to be invited to show highlights of our collection at the Museum and to present an opportunity for others to see what delights and inspires us at work. As Sir John Soane's collection laid the framework for future national art galleries, we hope that our collection might serve as an example of what can be achieved by corporate support for the arts.'
Sir John Soane’s Museum: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10a.m.–5p.m. Last entry 4.30p.m.
For a free, no-strings trial week’s access to the whole of Cassone, see details here