US painter R.B. Kitaj, 1932-2007

Kitaj, Marynka smoking

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

Provocative figurative painter

October 24, 2007

R.B. Kitaj, a figurative American painter who became a significant contributor to the British pop art movement during his nearly four decades of expatriate life in London, has died. He was 74. …

John Russell credited him with bringing “the subject back into painting” and “history-painting back to life.” Two works in the exhibition, “The Murder of Rosa Luxembourg [sic; Luxemburg. See also here.]” and “Isaac Babel Riding With Budenny,” offer what Russell called “an element of straightforward left-wing pamphleteering.” That tendency would surface time and again in Mr. Kitaj’s work.

His first museum exhibition came in 1965 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Critic William Wilson noted that much of the work appeared “autobiographical” and that the reigning pop art style “was visible in the poster-like punch of Kitaj‘s compositions.”

In 1991 Mr. Kitaj was elected to the Royal Academy, the first American to join the [British] Academy since John Singer Sargent nearly 100 years before him.

See also here.

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