The key above showing the different individuals and objects assembled by Pauline Boty for one of her most important works, her 1964 painting “It’s a Man’s Word I”, has now been added to the site. Among the figures newly-identified are the 4th century BC Greek statue of Hermes and also Thelonius Monk as a likely contender for another of those represented. As stated on the page, it is greatly hoped that in time the sources of all the items chosen by Boty to make up the work will be identified and the list on this page completed. All comments, corrections, clarifications and suggestions on this item would be greatly appreciated, via the Contact form here: [link] The new page can be accessed here: [link]
Presented by art historian and curator, Katy Hessel, The Great Women Artists Podcast interviews artists on their career, or curators, writers, or general art lovers, on the female artist who means the most to them.
Episode 64: Ali Smith on Barbara Hepworth, Pauline Boty, Tacita Dean, and Lorenza Mazzetti
The current and final episode of the series features Katy Hessel speaking to author Ali Smith about the artists who act as the ‘spine’ for her recently-completed series of four stand-alone novels, grouped as the Seasonal Quartet:
“PAULINE BOTY – AUTUMN One of the most important artists to change the face of British Pop Art (as well as being an Actress, TV star, radio commentator, who read Proust) Pauline Boty EPITOMISED the possibilities of the modern Pop woman. She captured the glamour and vivacity of the 1960s, including those of music stars to film icons, think Marylin to Elvis, Boty worshipped the proliferation of imagery available in the post-War era.
BARBARA HEPWORTH – WINTER The Titan of British sculpture, Hepworth set up a studio in St Ives during World War II, and is hailed for her small-to-colossal hand-carved wooden sculptures. Cast in stone and bronze, sometimes embedded with strings or flashes of colour, and fluctuating between hard and soft, light and dark, round and straight, solid and hollow, the spirit of Hepworth’s work is at the spine of Spring and through Ali’s incredible writing makes us SEE differently.
TACITA DEAN – SPRING Filmmaker and artist, Dean, seven-metre-wide work The Montafon Letter is a vast chalk drawing on nine blackboards joined together, looms in Spring (and is also an exhibition visited by the protagonist Richard at the Royal Academy). Dean says in some ways the work about Brexit and about hope; “hope that the last avalanche will uncover us”. Much like Smith’s post-Brexit novels.
LORENZA MAZZETTI – SUMMER A new artist for me, this story of the Italian-born filmmaker who came of age in the 1960s is one of the most profound in the history of art. I am not going to tell you anything else other than listen to Ali tell her story.” [From The Great Women Artists Podcast website]
“One of the most important artists to change the face of British Pop Art (as well as being an Actress, TV star, radio commentator, a blonde who read Proust) Boty EPITOMISED the possibilities of the modern Pop woman. Known for capturing the glamour and vivacity of the 1960s, including those of music stars to film icons, think Marylin to Elvis, Boty worshipped the proliferation of imagery available in the post-War era.
“It’s almost like painting mythology, a present-day mythology – film stars, etc. The 20th-century gods and goddesses. People need them, and the myths that surround them, because their own lives are enriched by them. Pop art colours those myths.”
Dr Sue Tate is THE leading expert in Boty’s life and work. Without Sue’s work, conducting important primary research starting in the early 90s when Boty was barely known, in 1998 co-curating, for two London Galleries, the first solo show of Boty’s work in the UK for 35 years, In 2013 curating a major retrospective of Boty’s work at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, that toured to Pallant House Chichester and to Lodz, Poland, and authored the brilliant accompanying book Pauline Boty Pop Artist and Woman, we would not know about this brilliant, important and formative artist.” [From The Great Women Artists Podcast website]
This first complete overview of collage by Peter Blake, from his early assemblages to his most recent work has been published by Waddington Custot in partnership with Thames & Hudson.
The publication coincides with the opening of “Peter Blake: Time Traveller”, a new exhibition at Waddington Custot [until 13 August] charting the development of Blake’s approach to collage-making, beginning with his layering of subject matter in early painted compositions and experiments with collaged paper after encountering work by Kurt Schwitters in the 1950s. From here, the exhibition travels via Blake’s rise to prominence as the ‘Godfather of British Pop art’ to his current, self-proclaimed Late Period. From his found object constructions to his most recent digital print photo-collages, Blake has broadened the scope of what collage can comprise and what it can communicate. Peter Blake: Time Traveller includes works from Blake’s Alphabet and Museum of Black and White series, as well as pieces made in homage to fellow artists Sonia Delaunay, Kurt Schwitters and Robert Rauschenberg. Clowns, wrestlers and Icons are shown alongside work around souvenirs and holiday postcards. [from the Waddington Custot website].
Boty makes an appearance in both the book and the exhibition, including within Blake’s recent collage series Joseph Cornell’s Holiday.
Peter Blake: Time Traveller 18 June–13 August 2021 Waddington Custot, 11 Cork Street, London W1S 3LT
Time slots for the exhibition can be booked here: [link]
Title: Peter Blake: Collage Publisher: Waddington Custot in partnership with Thames & Hudson Format: Hardback without Jacket Dimensions: 300 x 250mm Pages: 316 pp ISBN: 9780500971123 Price: £50
Artist Madeleine Pledge has created a poster entitled “Join a Union (Boty/Boots)” featuring an image of Pauline Boty which will be on display at Van Gogh House London until 31st May. Unveiled on 1st May 2021 (International Workers’ Day), it forms part of “On the Western Window Pane”, a year long project presenting 12 artist designed, limited edition posters in its front, West facing window. The poster is also available to buy in separate yellow and pink colourways – more information available here: [link]
Madeleine Pledge describes the inspiration behind her work as follows:
“The image of the artist Pauline Boty hanging a painting at the headquarters of the Trades Union Congress has been on my mind and on the walls of my studio for the last year. I like Boty’s glamorous nonchalance (cigarette in hand, handbag on arm), and her striped suit against the striped canvas. Mostly, though, I like the image for the way it positions the (supposedly isolated, individualised) figure of the artist within this context of collective action and organised labour.
From within the atomising effects of the last year, ‘Join a Union’ felt like the best thing I could say within the space of an A2 page. Boty’s image sits alongside a couple of pairs of unfired clay boots, positioned together in my studio while thinking about the photograph. These things are gathered together within a format reconstituted from the layouts of fashion adverts from 2020 editions of Vogue.”
Van Gogh House London is located at 87 Hackford Rd, Vassal, London SW9 0RE and is available to visit on pre-booked tours. More information here: [link]
Paulineboty.org is honoured to show the photo above for the first time. It was taken by Boty’s friend and fellow Royal College of Art student Geoffrey Reeve in the college’s Junior Common Room, which was originally on the first floor on the corner of Cromwell Place and Cromwell Road opposite the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Behind Boty can be seen John Watson and Alan Cooper of The Temperance Seven rehearsing. The 1920s-style jazz band, formed at the RCA during 1957, had a UK #1 hit single in 1961 with “You’re Driving Me Crazy” produced by George Martin followed by “Pasadena”, which reached #4. More information on them can be found here [link]
Earlier this month the gouache on card work, created by Boty when a student at the Royal College of Art, sold for double its high estimate. The following image and details are all courtesy of Christie’s:
Produced in the first year of her studies at the RCA, this design already demonstrates Boty’s breadth of interests and talent for creative juxtapositions. The proportions and diptych arrangement seem made for church windows, but the content is far from ecclesiastical. Instead, the design features a dreamlike mix of architectural elements and a large letter ‘L’ framing figural elements including heads (painted frontally and in profile), and two lovers locked in an embrace. The assembly of disparate elements into a cohesive whole foreshadows Boty’s later Pop Art paintings and collages. It also reflects the influence of Charles Carey, who first taught Boty stained glass design at the Wimbledon Art School, and who encouraged students to use collage during the design process as a means of adding contemporary elements to an ancient artform.
Pauline Boty was a polymath who entered the Royal College of Art in 1958 to study stained glass design but became a leading light in the nascent Pop Art scene alongside contemporaries including Peter Blake and Derek Boshier. In this guise she produced paintings and collages which blended abstract elements with a profusion of imagery poached from pop culture, with surreal and often satirical results. She was also heavily involved with film and literature societies and agitated against some of the more egregious examples of contemporary architecture in London as a key organiser for the ‘Anti Uglies’.
Provenance The artist’s family. Private collection, London. Purchased by the present owner at the 2016 exhibition
PAULINE BOTY (1938-1966) Designs for stained glass window gouache on card 9 ¼ x 3 in. (23.5 x 7.6 cm.) each Executed circa 1958
Literature Exhibition catalogue, Pop Art Heroes Britain, London, Whitford Fine Art, 2016, pp. 26–27, no. 13, illustrated
Exhibited London, Whitford Fine Art, Pop Art Heroes Britain, May – July 2016, no. 13
The collaged wall created by Pauline Boty and photographed by Roger Mayne in 1964 has now been added to the site together with the numbered key shown above identifying some 60 items so far. As stated on the page, it is greatly hoped that this will provide a starting point for identifying the array of items chosen by Boty to adorn the wall, and that in time more of them will be identified and the list expanded further. All comments, corrections, clarifications and suggestions from visitors to the site in this regard would be greatly appreciated, via the Contact form here: [link] The new page can be accessed here: [link]
The first of a number of new images of Pauline Boty has been added to the website thanks to the generosity of one of her friends and fellow RCA students, Geoffrey Reeve, who also co-exhibited his paintings in the pioneering exhibition Blake, Boty, Porter, Reeve at the AIA Gallery in 1961. Pictured below is Boty with fellow students from the stained glass department, photographed by Reeve for an article entitled “It’s Magic” in ARK 33 magazine, Autumn 1962. Further of his portraits of Boty and her contemporaries will be shown in due course on the site via In Focus>Photos, changing on a regular basis. Over 30 of Reeve’s photos are available to license from Bridgeman Images for personal, presentation and editorial use here: [link]
The screen grab below is of a new map added to the website showing the locations of Pauline Boty’s works in galleries and museums around the world. The map itself is available here [link] NB: not all are permanently on display however, so please be sure to check with the institution in question before making a trip specifically to see a work.
The slideshow above of Pauline Boty’s collages shown in Ken Russell’s 1962 documentary Pop Goes the Easel has now also been added to the Collages section of the site [link] as detailed in a previous News item here [link]. In addition a new page has been added giving information on the sources of titles for a number of collages here [link].