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Glyn Philpot: His Life and Art

£50.00

ISBN: 9781859283554
Artist(s): Glyn Philpot
Author(s): J. G. P. Delaney
Format: Hardback
Edition: First
Year published: 1999
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 228
Illustrations: 16 colour, 24 b&w images

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Glyn Philpot (1884–1937) was a portrait, figure and still-life painter and a sculptor. One of the most financially successful portrait painters of his generation, he achieved early prominence in both Britain and America. Philpot was a senior public figure who embodied deep personal contradictions. In 1933 at the age of 49, he submitted The Great Pan to the Royal Academy. The painting made explicit what had for so long been a coded language within homosexual writing and art and the artist suffered the ignominy of public rejection. The young Glyn Philpot circulated in the close company of the Edwardian aesthetes. Portraits financed his more committed work on subject pictures. In the Symbolist tradition, they reflect his deepest concerns: religious themes reveal a profound knowledge of his adopted Catholicism, while an increasing interest in the male nude and a series of superb portraits of young men, his black servants, models, friends and lovers, show the gradual public expression of his homosexuality. The tensions between his public and personal lives led Philpot to spend long periods outside Britain. In 1931, he visited Berlin. His encounter with that city’s homosexual underworld had a profound spiritual and emotional effect and Philpot adopted a new style which owed much to international modernism. Philpot’s new style was greeted with overt hostility. The scandal led to a period of acute financial hardship which undoubtedly contributed to the artist’s early death at 53. Tragically, Philpot did not live long enough to see what he regarded as his most ambitious work accepted or approved. His reputation as a portraitist never faltered, but his subject pictures remain controversial. In 1985, the National Portrait Gallery, London staged a major retrospective of his work. In this fascinating account of an artist whose career bridged the transition between Edwardian aestheticism and international modernism, Paul Delaney has skilfully brought together disparate elements to reveal the personal, social and artistic crises that transformed Glyn Philpot’s work.

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