Peter Blake: Portraits and People

Waddington Custot Galleries, 11 Cork Street, London
Peter Blake: Portraits and People image
Event has ended
This event ended on Saturday 30th of January 2016


Venue Information

Waddington Galleries
Cork Street, W1S 3LT

Nearest Stations

Green Park 0.23 miles


Please note: as you will no doubt be aware COVID-19 is leading to many events being cancelled or postponed. Please check with the organisers of any event listed here to confirm it is going ahead as planned.

Peter Blake: Portraits and People is the first exhibition to focus on the artist’s portraiture. The exhibition will feature new works alongside earlier paintings which have never been previously exhibited, such as the Wrestlers and Circus Acts series and past portrait commissions of notable friends and patrons. Selected by Blake, a leading figure of British Pop Art, the choices reveal his enduring fascination with people, their personalities and eccentricities.

On show for the first time is a portrait of one of Blake’s closest friends, and his dealer since the sixties, Leslie Waddington, as well as the fashion designer Paul Smith and two portraits of actor Helen Mirren, who sat for Blake in the early eighties whilst starring in Cleopatra. Other works include a portrait of the musician Ian Dury, who was taught by the artist in the sixties and a double portrait of the late British art collector Simon Sainsbury and his partner Stewart Grimshaw.

Portraiture has been prevalent in Blake’s work since the late 1940s. From his images of pop culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and Elvis Presley to his imagined characters, the artist has always explored a diverse array of individuals. An extension of Blake’s fascination with America and all things Rock ‘n’ Roll, the centrepiece of this exhibition will be the three-panelled Elvis Shrine: Portraits, Landscapes or Still Lifes? that Blake has been working on for over twenty years. Iconic in scale, the work pushes portraiture into a format associated with religious altarpieces. Featuring Elvis busts, portraits and memorabilia, the work was inspired by the common question asked by taxi drivers on discovering Blake is an artist – “What do you paint? Landscapes, portraits or still lifes?” Blake has given each panel one of these themes; the images surrounding the Elvis paraphernalia falling into its ascribed category. As well as portraiture, the work extends into Blake’s obsession with collecting and fandom.


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