Fall, pictured above, is typical of the works British artist Gerald Laing produced from 1963-65, a period during which he used magazine and newspaper photographs as his exclusive source material.
Now remembered as one of Britain’s leading Pop artists, Laing (1936-2011) started studying at Saint Martin’s School of Art in the 1960s after training at Sandhurst and completing a stint in the military during the previous decade.
“I was interested only in what I considered to be contemporary ‘heroic’ themes,” Laing wrote of his work in the early ‘60s. “The themes were skydivers, astronauts, drag racers and, I’m afraid, starlets. (I claim absolution on the grounds of youth!).”
Pop painting from the early ‘60s remain key works in Laing’s oeuvre and attractive collectors' pieces thanks in part to the fact that he spent some of 1963 living in Robert Indiana’s loft.
Skydiver VI, a similar work from the same period, recalling Fall in colour and theme, has been part of the Tate collection for more than 30 years and his Brigitte Bardot (1963) painting, still an iconic image of the era, became the highest price achieved for one of his works at auction in 2014 (£902,500 at Christie’s London).
It is these canvases that helped cement his reputation in the narrative of 20th century British art.
Works for sale
The Fine Art Society’s upcoming retrospective of Laing’s works is the first major retrospective of the artist’s oeuvre to be held since his death, and runs in conjunction with the publication by his estate of his catalogue raisonné.
Available for a six-figure sum, Fall is one of the works at the higher end of the exhibition’s price range, which includes anything from prints priced at £1500 to some of Laing’s most recognisable paintings for over £1m.
The screen print of the Brigitte Bardot work also shown above is available at the Fine Art Society for a five-figure sum.
The exhibition will show more than 70 of the artist’s works, most for sale, but some, such as his well-known Lincoln Convertible, are on loan.
Also included are some of the sculptures he created after he lost faith with what he felt was an increasingly capitalistic Pop movement. After starting with abstract bronzes, he began working on figurative bronzes from Kinkell Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Laing’s return to Pop and military themes took place with a series of works produced in 2004 that criticised the Iraq War.
The exhibition runs at the FAS in New Bond Street, London, from September 19-October 13.
More information from thefineartsociety.com