The gallery has celebrated the acquisition with the following announcement:
“For too long, the work of British Pop artist Pauline Boty has been notably absent from our collection. This acquisition fills a significant gap in our collection and supports our ongoing mission to increase our representation of women artists.
With support from the Art Fund, we are delighted to have acquired Untitled (Seascape with Boats and Island) (c.1960 – 61) from the Dr Jeffrey Sherwin Collection. It becomes the latest addition to our growing permanent collection of British and international modern art.
Pauline Boty (1938 – 1966) was at the centre of the emerging British Pop Art movement alongside fellow artists Sir Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and David Hockney. Her work epitomised Pop – they were colourful, gaudy and littered with references to popular culture – but also explored the artist’s perspective on the relationship between women and mass culture.
A key figure of 1960s swinging London, she fully embraced the decade’s explosion of sexual and creative liberty, and her works were often sexually and politically charged. Dubbed the ‘Wimbledon Bardot’, her striking good looks and sexuality prevented her being taken seriously as an artist. Her artistic career was tragically brief owing to her death from cancer aged only 28. Whilst her glamorous persona endured, much of her work was lost or buried and her artistic contribution to Pop reduced to a footnote in the love lives of her male counterparts.
Thankfully, a relatively recent reappraisal has placed her firmly back in the narrative of Pop art where she belongs. In 2014 we held the exhibition Pauline Boty: Pop Artist and Woman, the first survey of her career as a whole. The exhibition featured works that hadn’t been exhibited for over 40 years.
Collage was a popular technique for many Pop artists. Untitled (Seascape with Boats and Island) is one of Boty’s earlier collages and has been assembled from Victorian engravings. These old engravings were a key pictorial resource for the artist. The exotic landscape watched over by a towering white European woman is a reference to British colonialism. The monumental scale of the ‘feminine’ crochet structure and the woman on top represent Boty’s interest in exploring ideas around gender and identity, especially in historical narrative. This piece is reminiscent of much earlier works by artists such as Max Ernst and Paul Nash.”
Further information is available here: [link]
The gallery will be opening on Wednesday 5 August. Further information available here: [link]