Sir Peter Blake (British, born 1932) I Ebony 34.3 x 23.1 cm. (13 1/2 x 9 1/8 in.)

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Lot 2AR
Sir Peter Blake
(British, born 1932)
I Ebony 34.3 x 23.1 cm. (13 1/2 x 9 1/8 in.)

£ 35,000 - 55,000
US$ 44,000 - 69,000
Sir Peter Blake (British, born 1932)
I Ebony
signed, inscribed and dated 'A Fictitious Lady Wrestler/'I EBONY' (Jamaica)/with her manager/'M/C KOOL KARL K KURLL'/The 2nd flag is the/old flag for Ethiopia/Peter Blake 2002' (on the backboard)
oil and collage on board with attached ornaments
34.3 x 23.1 cm. (13 1/2 x 9 1/8 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    With Waddington Galleries, London, 19 February 2007, where acquired by the present owner

    Exhibited
    New York, Paul Morris Gallery, Sir Peter Blake: And Now We Are 70, 16 November-21 December 2002
    Brussels, Artiscope, The Use of Speech II, April-May 2003
    Stockholm, Wetterling Gallery, Peter Blake: 1975-2005, 9 March-13 April 2006

    'I probably started going to the wrestling in 1947. There was a place in Bexley Heath near to where I lived called the Drill Hall, and my mother used to go every week with my aunt and her mother, and I would go with them.... I loved the theatre, the fantasy and the idea of good versus evil' (Peter Blake quoted in Natalie Rudd, Peter Blake, 2003, Tate Publishing, London, p.88).

    Fourteen years later Peter Blake would draw on these teenage memories beginning a series of wrestler pictures which Marco Livingstone has described as being as central to his artistic identity as Pop Art. Commencing in 1961 and continuing for more than forty years, with many memorable characters including 'Irish Lord X' (1963), 'Doktor K Tortur' (1965), 'Little Lady Luck' (1965) and 'Babe Rainbow' (1967).

    Blake's cast of characters form a richly diverse universe. As with the world of stage wrestling, where the narrative behind each character is as enthralling as the performance itself, so too is Blake's series. Not only do we have the look of each wrestler, but through titling and inclusion of mementos and symbols such as flags – we have insight into their origin. This approach distinguishes Blake from his contemporaries as Marco Livingston surmises:

    'Modernist conventions deemed proper for advance of art at the time, when abstract painting was in the ascendancy and even to be a figurative artist was to break the rules. Like his friends R.B. Kitaj and David Hockney, and like a few other renegades of the period such as Paula Rego, Blake took a delight in suggesting narrative possibilities. The idea of using a painting to tell a story was considered by many of his fellow artists – not least by Francis Bacon, author of the most imposing figure paintings made in Britain in the late 20th century – to have become totally unacceptable, even taboo, suggesting as this was of the literary inclinations of the Victorians. Blake had a natural affinity with much Victorian art and went on his merry way, well aware of such charges but heedless of them.' (Marco Livingstone, Peter Blake, One Man Show, Lund Humphries, Farnham, 2009, p.99).
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