Face to Face: A Celebration of Portraiture

June 09 - July 14, 2023

Marlborough London is pleased to present Face to Face: A Celebration of Portraiture, opening on the 8th of June 2023, to coincide with the re-opening of the National Portrait Gallery. Unfolding in thematic sections across two floors, the exhibition will explore how artists have pushed the limits of this genre from the early 20th century to the present day.

Portraits are one of the richest veins of Marlborough’s history as a result of the gallery’s eight-decade long commitment to the figurative tradition, championed by its founders through seminal exhibitions of works by Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lynn Chadwick, Lucian Freud, Maggi Hambling, Alex Katz, Henry Moore and Celia Paul, among many others. These vanguards of modern figuration will be shown on the ground floor alongside iconic photographic portraits by Berenice Abbott, Richard Avedon, Bill Brandt and Brassaï, paying tribute to the critical role Marlborough played at the forefront of exhibiting photography during the 1970s and 80s.

The display on the second floor will explore contemporary perspectives on portraiture, showcasing works by Roxana Halls, Hugo Hamper-Potts, Naila Hazell, Alexander James, Lorena Levi, Darren Lynde Mann, Christian Quin Newell, Liorah Tchiprout, Georg Wilson, Vicky Wright, Deanio X and Ki Yoong. Exploring themes of identity, intimacy, and status, these works synthesise different elements of the portraiture tradition, not just through figuration but with conceptual, indexical, or object-based modes of representation.

Face to Face seeks to contextualise portraiture beyond the pursuit of external likeness; some revel in the genre’s glamorous allure, while others critique its elitist associations and instead call attention to the banal or even the grotesque. This exhibition proposes diverse, highly personal, and often unconventional ways of evoking the sitter, forging geographical, historical, and visual links between works that engage with Marlborough’s past and present.

Alexander James Studio Visit.

Alexander James | Face to Face: A Celebration of Portraiture | Marlborough London

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) Self Portrait Distortion, c. 1948

© Berenice Abbott/Getty Images, Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.