The Modern Olympiad (Olympia Anniversary Picture), 1963 signed, dated and inscribed 'The Modern / Olympiad / R. Larter / 1863.......1963' lower centre; inscribed 'RC Larter / Olympia Anniversary Picture' verso enamel on hardboard 122 x 183cm (48 1/16 x 72 1/16in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne in August 1990
EXHIBITED: Richard Larter - Paintings, Watters Gallery, Sydney, 9-26 July 1969, cat. no. 2 An Exhibition At Two Venues To Celebrate Richard Larter's Seventieth Birthday, Watters Gallery, Sydney, 4-22 May 1999, cat. no. 8 Stripperama - Richard Larter, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 18 May - 28 July 2002; New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, 16 August - 6 October 2002 The Colin and Elizabeth Laverty collection - a selection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous art works, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 18 February - 15 April 2012
LITERATURE: 'The earlier paintings of Richard Larter', Art and Australia, 1973, vol. 11, no. 1 (illus.) Gary Catalano, 'The Absence of Pop', The Years of Hope, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1981, p.145 Anne Loxley, 'The Laverty Collection', Art and Australia, Spring 1996, vol. 34, no. 1, p.72 (illus.) Stripperama - Richard Larter, exh. cat., Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2002, p.9 (illus.) Linda Sproul 'Stripperama - Richard Larter', Art Monthly Australia, August 2002, no. 152, pp.28-29
In the 1960s Larter worked often in series, including companion Modern Olympia paintings in 1963, homages to Manet's Olympia, which precisely a century before had shocked the French Salon audience with its subject's cool provocative sexuality. Larter's Olympia is similarly knowing and un-idealised... rich in colour and texture and deft in the placement of the ﬁgure within each frame, tightly cropped against bedclothes, bed-head and wall. The turning bodies are brilliantly foreshortened and the stockinged thighs, bare buttocks and angled limbs form dynamic abstract ﬁelds of colour. The effect is one of joyful display that draws on the intimate and expressive realism of Manet, Degas and Bonnard as well as modes of pornography. What sets the work apart from pornography is the scribbled un-glossy surfaces, the intrusion of the ordinary the solid wooden bed-head and homely poses and the artist's clear empathy with the humanity of his subject.
Deborah Clark, "Richard Larter: eros and civilisation", in Deborah Hart, Richard Larter, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008, p.111 (published on the occasion of the exhibition Richard Larter: a retrospective 20 June 14 September 2008, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra).
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