In the flesh

This exhibition offers ‘in the flesh’ encounters with six remarkable paintings. It also offers an intimate encounter with six paintings about flesh and the human figure. Produced by four of the most audacious figurative painters of the past century, these works explore the strangeness, power and vulnerability of the human face and body.

Art Exhibition previously on at Art Gallery of New South Wales in New South Wales, Australia.
From Saturday 12 April 2014 to Sunday 22 June 2014

In the flesh  image

Published by Art Gallery of New South Wales on Monday 26 May 2014.
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In their paintings from the 1920s and 1930s, Chaïm Soutine and Pablo Picasso charge the art of portraiture with volatile new energy, rendering their subjects in fluid and fiercely coloured brushstrokes (Soutine) or jagged and flattened fragments (Picasso).

Francis Bacon, who admired Picasso and Soutine, pushes portraiture to a postwar extreme, evoking the trials of the flesh with terribly beautiful brushwork. Meanwhile Bacon’s friend Lucian Freud, likewise a Soutine admirer, treats paint as a kind of flesh, using dragged, scumbled and clotted oil paint to dramatise the life of the body.

The Lewis Collection loan

These paintings come from a group of 11 recently placed on long-term loan with the Art Gallery of NSW. Created by British businessman Joe Lewis and his daughter Vivienne Lewis, the collection includes the work of European modern masters as well as contemporary Chinese artists. Other works from the loan will be displayed in forthcoming exhibitions. A David Hockney painting will be seen in November as part of a major international exhibition, while four Chinese works, by Zhang Xiaogang, Yan Pei-Ming and Fang Lijun, will go on show in new displays in early 2015.