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Indepth Arts News:

"The School of London and Their Friends: The Mel and Elaine Merians Collection"
2001-01-28 until 2001-05-27
Neuberger Museum of Art
Purchase, NY, USA

The School of London is a twentieth-century art movement that evolved over a period of some forty years. Those constituting the School concentrated their attention and their artistic efforts on the human figure and the environment in which they depicted it -- the associated cityscape, landscape or studio setting. Today, School of London artists are considered among the world's most important active painter groups.

The movement emerged in the 1940s when Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud rebelled against generally accepted art world norms by centering their interest on the human body. R. B. Kitaj, one of the movement's adherents, coined the name School of London in 1976. He intended the title as an affectionate tribute to the many artists with such different emotional awarenesses who shared the almost obsessive fixation with the human form.

Freud and Bacon, the School's 'founding fathers,' fashioned a profound influence on many of the era's younger, art-school trained visual artists. In the following decade Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, and Leon Kossoff began to exhibit regularly. The 1960s introduced three of the School's most gifted members: Peter Blake, David Hockey, and R. B. Kitaj. Euan Uglow and John Wonnacott became London School voices in the 1970s. Tony Bevan and Paula Rego assumed prominence in the 1980s. The School of London evolution continued in the century's final decade with the advent of such artists as Peter Doig and Antony Williams.

During the past decade, important exhibitions in Britain and Continental Europe have been devoted to the School of London; however, this is the first major United States exhibition to focus on School of London developments. It is a timely reminder that Europe continues to be a seat of quality, significant art and influences even during periods of American dominance in painting and sculpture.

The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT organized the exhibition that features over seventy works from the Merians' collection. Elaine and Melvin Merians share a deep-seated belief in the significance of the School of London artists and consider it their responsibility to make these artists better known throughout the United States by promoting their accomplishments and credentials. Patrick McCaughey, Director of the Yale Center for British Art, states, To my knowledge, no other private collection of its kind exists on either side of the Atlantic, and no public art museum besides Tate Britain could muster comparable holdings.

Lucian Freud
Redheaded Man No. 2, 1962

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