This week, Mitchell-Innes and Nash brings us face-to-face with a dialogue between historical works and contemporary artists, with a cast of characters ranging from Alberto Giacometti’s iconic portrait of James Lord to Henri Matisse’s Tete de Femme, Umberto Boccioni’s pen-and-pencil self-portrait to Catherine Opie’s enduring, unflinching sitters. The following are a few of our favorite faces among the group:
Lord Goodman in his Yellow Pyjamas by Lucian Freud
From the grandson of Sigmund Freud and one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th and 21st centuries, we’re offered a rare glimpse at the powerful British lawyer, Lord Goodman—famously monikered “Two Dinners Goodman”—wearing only his pajamas. Though Freud notoriously rejected commissions and had all of his sitters report to his home, Goodman would only allot time to be sketched while reading his morning newspaper, thus breaking Freud’s rule. In another exception, this portrait of Goodman is the only etching by Freud to incorporate color—all the rest were strictly black and white.
The Rheingold Golds by Allan D’Arcangelo
Remember the Rheingold Beer girls? From 1940 through 1965, the famous New York beer company held an annual pageant to elect “Miss Rheingold”, who would be featured prominently in their advertisements throughout the year. “The selection of Miss Rheingold was as highly anticipated as the race for the White House,” the company maintains. It couldn’t have taken long, then, for Pop artist Allan D’Arcangelo—forever on the pulse of American cultural myths—to incorporate the girls’ likeness into his simplified, flat paintings. Along with his faceless Madonna and Child or paper doll portrait of Marilyn Monroe, “These paintings show Mr. D’Arcangelo running neck-and-neck with Andy Warhol,” as the New York Times wrote in 2009.
Pig Pen by Catherine Opie
She’s one of Catherine Opie’s most memorable sitters. You may recall her face from Crown of Thorns (or rather crown of needles) the portrait photographed backstage at a characteristically bloody Ron Athey performance in Mexico City in ’95. Or more recently, mid-kiss with performance artist Julie Tolentino, as blood drips from their lips. As a long-time subject of Opie, Pig Pen is among the lovers and friends the artist has documented for years—and this ’94 studio portrait looks back at beginnings for both the artist and subject, friends since their early days in the San Francisco lesbian community.
James Lord by Alberto Giacometti
For 18 days, the American writer James Lord sat for his friend Alberto Giacometti, who painstakingly painted his portrait in oil—and this drawing represents the preparatory sketch. The year was 1964, though the pair had first met in Paris in 1952, and since then Lord had kept journals around Giacometti—including recordings made during these sittings that would later become an artist biography, A Giacometti Portrait. Describing the sittings, Lord quoted Giacometti: “You look like a real thug. If I could paint you as I see you and a policeman saw the picture he’d arrest you immediately!” and quickly followed with, “Don’t laugh. I’m not supposed to make my models laugh.”
Also of interest: The gallery is showing an extremely rare marble sculpture by Jean Arp, seldom seen at such scale; a George Minne sculpture (one of only two wooden versions of the subject—the other belongs to the collection of the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels); a Malcolm Morley landscape, executed after the artist’s first trip back to his native England in over 15 years; and works by Jay DeFeo, proudly announcing the gallery’s new representation of the DeFeo estate.
On view at Mitchell-Innes and Nash, Frieze Masters 2013, Booth D3, October 17th – 20th.