Portrait of an Unknown Beauty
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Portrait of an Unknown Beauty

Whitford Fine Art

Date 1973

Period 20th century

Dimension 39.4 cm (15¹/₂ inches)

During the early 1970s Clive Barker worked on the theme of classical Greek sculpture. Having met Man Ray in 1969 at the Hannover Gallery, Barker started thinking about the surrealist's handling of Venus de Milo, wrapped in rope. 
'Portrait of an Unknown Beauty', with the head of Venus de Milo still recognisable by its characteristic tilt, is being mysteriously shrouded like the drowned or suffocated figures pictured in paintings by Magritte, whom Barker knew personally.  
The sculpture is the ultimate in disguised reality which the Surrealists played on. By wrapping a head in cloth, the very sense of 'portrait' and identity is taken away. The juxtaposition of the imagined softness of human skin and the hard chrome plating questions the inherited notions of beauty. 

Date: 1973

Period: 20th century

Dimension: 39.4 cm (15¹/₂ inches)

Provenance: Acquired directly from the Artist.

Literature: Clive Barker: Portraits, catalogue exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London and tour, 1987-88, cat. no. 55, ill.; FERMON, An Jo and Marco LIVINGSTONE. Clive Barker. Sculpture. Catalogue raisonnĂ© 1958- 2000. Milan, 2002, cat. no. 142, p. 110, ill.
Clive Barker Pop Art Sculpture 1961 - 1982: An Individual Story, exhibition catalogue with texts by An Jo FERMON and NUGENT Marguerite, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, cat. no. cat. no. 35, ill. p. 69.

Exhibition: 1987-88, Clive Barker: Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London and tour.
2017, Clive Barker Pop Art Sculpture 1961 - 1982: An Individual Story, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.

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Whitford Fine Art

European and British 20th Century painting and sculpture, with an emphasis on Post-War Abstraction and British Pop Art.

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