News

“Amazons of Pop!” exhibition in Kiel includes Pauline Boty’s “Colour Her Gone”

Installation shot 2021 © Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Photo: Helmut Kunde

From 2 October 2021 to 6 March 2022, “Amazons of Pop! Women artists, superheroines, icons 1961-1973” at Kunsthalle zu Kiel aims to address the diverse Pop art of a generation of women from Europe and North America who constitute the less-well-known side of the movement.

“Amazons of Pop! shows women who fight for their own emancipation with determination and actively champion political and social issues. They transgress boundaries in the art of their time, which was dominated by men, and test new and unusual materials such as plastic. Play with fictive characters, personalities and heroines from the big screen pervades the work of these artists, who demonstrate a great passion for experimentation, fantasy, intrepidness and a sense of strategy, conscious of the tense geopolitical and social circumstances of their time all the while. Amazons of Pop! features approximately 100 pieces from the fields of painting, installation, performance, sculpture and film and invites visitors to delve into the world of pop and a period of awakening: the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.” [from the Kunsthalle zu Kiel website]

The exhibition features: Evelyne Axell, Barbarella, Brigitte Bardot, Marion Baruch, Pauline Boty, Martine Canneel, Lourdes Castro, Judy Chicago, Chryssa, France Cristini, Christa Dichgans, Jane Fonda, Ruth Francken, Ángela García, Jann Haworth, Dorothy Iannone, Jodelle, Sister Corita Kent, Kiki Kogelnik, Kay Kurt, Nicola L., Ketty La Rocca, Milvia Maglione, Lucia Marcucci, Marie Menken, Marilyn Monroe, Isabel Oliver Cuevas, Yoko Ono, Ulrike Ottinger, Emma Peel, Pravda La Survireuse, Martha Rosler, Niki de Saint Phalle, Carolee Schneemann, Marjorie Strider, Sturtevant, Valentina Terechkova and May Wilson.

Organized by the MAMAC Nice in collaboration with Kunsthalle zu Kiel and Kunsthaus Graz, as well as support from Manifesto Expo.

Kunsthalle zu Kiel,
Christian-Albrechts-Universität,
Düsternbrooker Weg 1,
24105 Kiel,
Germany
Tel: +49 431 88057-56;
Link to exhibition website: [link]


“Bright Stars: Great Artists Who Died Too Young” with chapter on Pauline Boty is out now

Pauline Boty illustration by Anna Higgie

“Bright Stars: Great Artists Who Died Too Young” by Kate Bryan examines the lives and legacies of 30 great artists who died too young. Illustrations by Anna Higgie.

In the book’s concluding “Unfinished Stories” section a chapter entitled “Grand Dame of Pop art” is devoted to Pauline Boty, who is also referenced elsewhere throughout its pages.

From the Quarto Group website: “Some of the world’s greatest and most-loved artists died under the age of forty. But how did they turn relatively short careers into such long legacies? What drove them to create, against all the odds? And how can we use these stories to re-evaluate artists lost to the shadows, or whose legacies are not yet secured?
Most artists have decades to hone their craft, win over the critics and forge their reputation, but that’s not the case for the artists in this book. Art heavyweights Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Michel Basquiat have been mythologised by their early deaths, playing a key role in their posthumous fame. Others, such as Aubrey Beardsley and Noah Davis, were driven to create knowing their time was limited.
For some, premature death, compounded by gender and racial injustice, meant being left out of the history books – as was the case with Amrita Sher-Gil, Charlotte Salomon and Pauline Boty, now championed by Kate Bryan in this important re-appraisal. And, as Caravaggio and Vermeer’s stories show us, it can take centuries for forgotten artists to be given the recognition they truly deserve.
With each artist comes a unique and often surprising story about how lives full of talent and tragedy were turned into brilliant legacies that still influence and inspire us today. This is a celebration of talent so great it shines on.”

“Bright Stars: Great Artists Who Died Too Young” by Kate Bryan

Publisher: Frances Lincoln 
Format: Hardback 
ISBN: 9780711251731
Dimensions: 138 mm x 216 mm
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 60
Price: £16.99 / $22.99

Can you help locate Boty’s great lost work, “Scandal ’63”?

Pauline Boty by Michael Ward, 13 January 1964, on display at the National Portrait Gallery in 2020. © Michael Ward Archives / National Portrait Gallery, London

Friday’s Daily Telegraph included a piece by Jake Kerridge about how writer Tom Glover is asking its readers for their help in tracking down Boty’s great lost work Scandal ’63 which has remained unseen at large since its creation and only survives currently courtesy of photographs taken by Michael Ward. The large painting’s focus is Christine Keeler astride a chair against a vivid red background in a variation of the iconic shot taken by Boty’s friend Lewis Morley. Across the top are four of the male protagonists of the Profumo Affair: Aloysius ‘Lucky’ Gordon, John Profumo, Stephen Ward and Johnny Edgecombe.

As the work was commissioned Glover deems it unlikely to have been burned, thrown away or lost at the time and through the correspondence of gallerist Mateusz Grabowski (who featured Boty in exhibitions in 1963 and again in 1965) has ascertained that the surname of the individual who commissioned the work is Wright, but other than that has reached a dead end with his search.

The work can also be seen here in portraits of Boty by Michael Ward [link] and in an earlier incarnation by Lewis Morley [link]

The Daily Telegraph article is here [paywall] [link]

Should anyone reading this have any further information that they might like to share please contact info@paulineboty.org

New page – Sources: “It’s a Man’s Word I” – identifies ancient Greek sculpture and source for the first time

Key for “It’s a Man’s World I”, 1964.

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]

Pauline Boty features in two episodes of “The Great Women Artists Podcast” by Katy Hessel

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] 

The podcast is available here:

Apple Podcasts: [link]
SoundCloud: [link]
Spotify: [link]

Episode 55: Dr Sue Tate on Pauline Boty

“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] 

The podcast is available here:

Apple Podcasts: [link]
SoundCloud: [link]
Spotify: [link]

Katy Hessel’s Instagram account is at: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by Winnie Simon
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield

The Great Women Artists website is available here: [link]

New book and exhibition dedicated to Peter Blake’s collages

“Peter Blake: Collage” published by Waddington Custot in partnership with Thames & Hudson

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].

Works from “Joseph Cornell’s Holiday” at Waddington Custot in the exhibition “Peter Blake: Time Traveller”

Boty makes an appearance in both the book and the exhibition, including within Blake’s recent collage series Joseph Cornell’s Holiday.

EXHIBITION DETAILS

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]

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS

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

The book is available to buy here: [link]

Pauline Boty features in a new poster on view at Van Gogh House London

“Join a Union (Boty/Boots)” by Madeleine Pledge on display at Van Gogh House London. Image courtesy of Van Gogh House London

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]

Join a Union (Boty / boots), 2021 by Madeleine Pledge, poster design by Ben Greehy. Image courtesy of Van Gogh House London

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]

Geoffrey Reeve’s photo of Pauline Boty shown for the first time

Pauline Boty in the Junior Common Room at the RCA, late 1960 or early 1961. © Geoffrey Raymond Reeve

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]

Early Boty study for stained glass sold at Christie’s

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:

Pauline Boty (1938-1966). Designs for stained glass window. Price realised GBP 20,000. Estimate GBP 7,000 – GBP 10,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2021

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

New page on Pauline Boty’s collaged wall added to the site

Pauline Boty: collaged wall key for 1964 Roger Mayne photo, v2, March 2021

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]