Michael Andrews


The Artist's Estate


2019, London, Piano Nobile, Craigie Aitchison and the Beaux Arts Generation, 14 Nov. 2019 - 29 Jan. 2020, cat. no. 41


Susan Campbell, Craigie Aitchison and the Beaux Arts Generation, 2019, Piano Nobile Publications, cat. no. 41, pp. 122-123 (col. illus.)
Like many of Helen Lessore’s artists after the Beaux Arts Gallery’s closure, Andrews was signed by Marlborough Fine Art. Aitchison, Auerbach and Kossoff all joined the gallery after Lessore stopped trading. Andrews was represented by Marlborough from 1966 until 1972, when he and his liaison James Kirkman both left the gallery and formed an independent working relationship. It was also at this time that Andrews met Anthony d’Offay.

Andrews held three exhibitions with d’Offay in 1974, 1978 and 1986 and was represented by d’Offay until immediately before his death in 1995. The pair formed a good relationship, as is suggested by the large amount of correspondence – mostly by eccentric postcards – that the two exchanged.

This painting belongs to a small group of portraits that Andrews made between 1989 and 1995. Departing from his normal practice of mixing photographs and studies from life, they were all painted with the sitter present. He explained to William Feaver, ‘I had this terrific urge to be among people again, painting them: people with whom I feel no generation gap.’ His sitters came from a close circle of friends and included his wife June, Serena Rothschild, the photographer Bruce Bernard, Jane Willoughby and her uncle David Astor, and the architect Colin St John Wilson.

These works were executed by Andrews in oil paint, having ceased to use acrylic paint after completing the Ayers Rock paintings in 1989. The medium has been thinned, however, and Portrait of Anthony retains the same surface tension as his acrylic works. Both Andrews and Craigie Aitchison exploited the effect of thin paint surfaces, each of them drawing attention to the flat, constructed nature of the picture.