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Sir Richard Rogers

Photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir Richard Rogers

by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
bronze bust, 1988
20 1/4 in. (514 mm) high
Commissioned, 1988
Primary Collection
NPG 6021

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This portraitback to top

Paolozzi made several naturalistic plaster heads, which he cut up and reconstructed, producing two further plasters with a split facial appearance of which this is one. The Gallery chose to have this bust cast into bronze. Explore this portrait from all angles.

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Linked publicationsback to top

  • Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 35 Read entry

    In this portrait of Sir Richard Rogers (b. 1933), architect of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Eduardo Paolozzi applied the principles of collage to the medium of sculpture to create a work of suitably architectural quality.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 529
  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 246 Read entry

    Widely acknowledged as one of the founders of pop art in Britain, Eduardo Paolozzi (1924–2005) was commissioned by the Gallery to create a portrait of Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the late twentieth century. Beyond their shared stature as significant figures in the visual arts and architecture respectively, both men had Italian parents and, in a wider creative sense, the work of both was rooted in collage. Whether employing two or three dimensions, Paolozzi used from the outset disparate, found images and materials that he combined to form new visual entities. Similarly, Rogers’ celebrated buildings, notably the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Lloyd’s Building, London, exposed functional and structural elements on the exterior. In creating this bust, Paolozzi began by creating a naturalistic likeness, which was then deconstructed by cutting up the whole into smaller parts. The resulting fragments were then recombined, creating a new, constructed image. Accompanying this process, Paolozzi’s working notes contained the injunction: ‘Juggle with proportions a little and recast the plasters to keep making minute changes which finally describe that bizarre harmony that suggests the sitter.’

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Events of 1988back to top

Current affairs

A Pan Am jumbo jet is brought down by a bomb over Lockerbie in Scotland, killing 259 passengers and 11 people on the ground. The Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary launched Britain's largest criminal investigation before convicting a Libyan intelligence officer of planting the bomb.

Art and science

Professor Stephen Hawking publishes his popular book on cosmology, A Brief History Of Time.
Damien Hirst and his fellow Goldsmiths students organise the exhibition Freeze in a disused block in the Docklands. The exhibition launched the careers of many of the young British artists (YBAs) associated with Brit Art including Gary Hume, Michael Landy, Sarah Lucas, Angus Fairhurst, and Anya Gallaccio.


Iraq drops poison gas on the Iraqi Kurdish city of Halabja, killing thousands of civilians. The city was held at the time by Iranian forces and Iraqi Kurdish rebels, although there was initially some debate over which side was responsible for the atrocity. It was the largest-scale chemical attack on civilians in modern times.

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