Alfred Brendel

1 portrait

Alfred Brendel, by Tony Bevan, 2005 - NPG 6720 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Alfred Brendel

by Tony Bevan
acrylic on canvas, 2005
29 3/4 in. x 26 3/8 in. (756 mm x 670 mm)
Commissioned, 2005
Primary Collection
NPG 6720


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  • Tony Bevan (1951-), Painter. Artist of 4 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

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From the beginning of the commissioning consultation process it was clear that Alfred Brendel was not going to be satisfied with a conventional portrait and indeed he was reticent about sitting at all. However, he was taken with the raw strength and authenticity of Bevan's vision. Although many of Bevan's paintings are based on direct observation, both of himself, his family and friends, this is the first time that the artist has ventured into the realm of the portrait commission. Uncertain about whether he would produce something that pleased both the sitter and himself this was a challenge pushing the boundaries of his normal concerns with painting the head. Pictorial and stylistic precursors for the work can be cited such as the sharp diagonal line of pigment cutting across the bottom of the canvas which is a reference to Goya's A Drowning Dog (1820-23) also present in Bevan's earlier Horizon series. The finished portrait is a result of an intense period of work over a year during which he produced a series of preparatory sketches from life followed by drawings and paintings based on the sketches.

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