Artists and sitters



R.B. Kitaj (

R.B. Kitaj ('Self-Portrait: Hockney Pillow')
by R.B. Kitaj
1993-1994
NPG 6791

From 21 April 2007
Balcony Gallery
Free admission

As a variation in its traditional policy of giving primacy to the sitter, the National Portrait Gallery will be focusing on the artist in its dramatic re-hang of the late 20th century Collection. Covering the period from 1960-1990, the new hang will take a fresh look at the period by grouping portraits by artist, allowing visitors a clearer sense of particular styles while also showing the great variety of approaches to portraiture of the late 20th Century.

The new display will include British sculptor, Anthony Caro's bust of Lord Goodman, on show to the public for the first time, and the Gallery's latest acquisition, an outstanding self-portrait by the American Pop artist, R.B. Kitaj.

To demonstrate the varying approaches in sculpture of the period, works by masters such as Frink, Moore and Paolozzi will go on show. Likewise, showing differing approaches to the royal portrait, Bryan Organ's separate portraits of Prince Charles and Princess Diana will be shown in sharp juxtaposition to Warhol's Pop portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Illustrating the development of our leading artists over the course of the creative careers - among them Graham Sutherland, Ruskin Spear and Roger de Grey - the new display also paints a compelling portrait of Britain in the course of great change, from the optimism of the 1960s through the tensions and disillusionments of the 1970s and 1980s.

During the period 1960-1990, shifts in values and politics were matched by changing artistic movements. Pop art, Op art, Conceptual art, and the revival of interest in figurative painting in the 1980s created a dizzying profusion of styles. A real sense of these cultural and artistic changes can be gleaned from the selected portraits.