Artists

1960-1969

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Provenance

Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
Waddington Galleries, London
Alex Bernstein
Granada Television, UK

Exhibitions

London, Arthur Tooth and Sons, Allen Jones, Recent Paintings, 12 February- 2 March 1963, cat no.9
Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Allen Jones, 17th March - 20th April 1979, cat no.8, illus col, touring to:
London, Serpentine Gallery, 11th May - 8th June 1979
Sunderland, Museum and Art Gallery, 25 June - 22nd July 1979
Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 1st September - 14th October 1979
Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 11th November - 30th December 1979
London, Royal Academy of Arts, British Art in 20th Century-The Modern Movement, 15th January- 5th April 1987, cat no.259
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Pop Art, 13th September - 15th December 1991, cat no.120 illus col, touring to:
Cologne, Museum Ludwig, 23 January - 19th April 1992
Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina sofia, 16th June - 14th September 1992
Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes, British Pop Art, October 2005, cat no.51, colour illus, p.181

Literature

Christopher Finch, Image as Language Aspects of British Art 1950-68, Pelican, London, 1969, cat no.48, illus b/w
Marco Livingstone, Sheer Magic, Congreve Publishing Inc, 1979, p106-7 illus col
Frances Spalding, British Art Since 1900, Thames and hudson , 1986, p197 illus col
Richard Lloyd, Marco Livingstone, Allen Jones Prints, Prestel, New York, 1995, p 18 fig.6 illus b/w
Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes, British Pop Art, October 2005
Victor Arwas, Charles Jencks, Bryan Robertson, Allen Jones, Academy Editions, 1993, p34 illus colour
Andrew Lambirth, Allen Jones, Brockhampton Press, London, 1997, fig.42, p.49, illus colour
Marco Livingstone, Pop Art a Continuing History, Thames and Hudson, 2002, cat no.139 p.100 illus col
David E Brauer, Pop Art U.S./U.K. Connections 1956-1966, Hatje Cantz, 2001, p29 illus b/w

Description

In 1959 Allen Jones studied alongside David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj and Derek Boshier at the Royal College of Art. At this time, many British painters were experimenting with extending the traditional rectangular canvas by introducing text, creating reliefs, adding objects and, as in 2nd Bus, using shaped canvases to mimic their subject matter. The series of bus paintings made by Jones in 1962 is his own response to a problem he posed to his students, asking that they relate the subject of the canvas to its identity as an object. In a letter from the artist to the curator Uwe Schneede in 1975, he describes his intentions: “... 3rd Big Red Bus, 1962 (Birmingham City Art Gallery) contains elements important to my development and to art of that period... It was an attempt to identify the subject (Bus) with the object (canvas/picture). It was therefore not a picture of a bus, but it was a bus. The object quality of the painting is asserted within a figurative context not abstract... ” Jones’ use of colour at this time, is more painterly than that of other more graphic pop artists such as Hockney and Blake, and he drew heavily from the ideas of Kandinsky and Klee in his own art and teaching. In the early sixties British artists were very conscious of developments in America following the highly influential 1956 Tate Gallery exhibition, Modern Art in The United States. In 2nd Bus Jones employs the large canvas and flat areas of colour seen in Abstract Expressionism but for his own ends, creating a delicate balance between abstract and figurative elements. These early paintings often began as purely formal experiments; first areas of pure colour were applied to create a sense of depth and movement; as the painting progressed, representational elements were then allowed to emerge from the composition. Jones derived these images less from pop culture, than from his everyday life, such as people observed while travelling around London on the bus. Nevertheless, the target-style wheels place 2nd bus firmly within the zeitgeist, as do the layered composition and the bus windows, which subtly imitate the layout of a comic strip. In 2nd Bus Jones uses flat areas of contrasting colour and the literal tilting of the canvas to evoke the energy of a bus in motion. He made a number of versions of this subject over a period of six months, which taken as a whole can be seen as a sustained and ongoing inquiry into the depiction of movement in painting, a compositional problem first posed by Futurists such as Robert Delaunay. The Fututirst technique of using multiple images to evoke movement, however, did not appeal to Jones who felt that ultimately, '...the picture itself must be visually still...' In this sense, Jones admired the work of Poussin whose violent subject in Bacchanalian Revel was tempered by a balanced composition. Such a neutralization of movement found its articulation, in Jones' Bus series, through the construct of the canvas. Whilst the very shape of the canvas as a bus describes movement and motion, its artificiality as a constructed shape reasserts the canvas as ultimately, a static object. Jones often painted these canvases in a single day, and his imagery became increasingly abstract, anchored in the figurative, and to the ground, only by the motif of the two spinning wheels.