Perfect Picture Gallery


To mark Frieze week, I’ve put together a list of what would be in my perfect picture gallery. It started off as a list of seven, but I kept adding to it.

1 Any drawing by David Hockney – a preference for a pencil drawing from the 1970s, but I’m not fussy; I could live with pretty much anything.

2 Sean Scully pastel – I know the one I’d choose, but it’s in a private collection and I don’t want to out the owner or the work. All the same, it’s a very special piece from an artist who produces lyrical abstract works.

3 The Cardsharps by Caravaggio in Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth – skipping on and in a very different vein, I’m in the room with those naughty cardsharps and very conscious that I’ll need to count my fingers when I slip away.

4 Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange) by Mark Rothko – I saw this just before it was auctioned at Christie’s, New York, in 2007 and I carry an image of it in my head to escape to when life gets tough. The blue and the orange glow and, if this entry were the picture equivalent of Desert Island Discs, this would be the one work I’d save from the waves. The owner is a very lucky person indeed.

5 Peter Doig watercolour – I don’t even know the name of this work, but I’ve carried the image in my head since I saw it at Frieze New York in May. A person is in a canoe, face hidden, hand dangling in the water as the canoe glides along. And that’s all reflected in the water. It’s exquisite.

6 Girl in Field ‘68 by Richard Forster – he produces fabulous, highly-detailed pencil drawings and I have no idea how he has the patience, skill and attention to detail the works demand. This particular drawing is from 2007 and it evokes memories of summer days in teenage years. Truly beautiful.

7 Any video installation by Elizabeth Price – I didn’t like video works until I saw the magic she conjures. I’m still ambivalent about video work – except anything by Elizabeth.

8 Self-portrait in a Fur Cap by Joseph Wright of Derby – this one’s from left field. I saw it at the Art Institute of Chicago in August and it stopped me in my tracks. It dates from the 1760s, but it looks as though it could have been painted last week.

9 The photograph – I wondered about a Mapplethorpe, but I’ve opted for the Warhol-esque filling station photograph from The New Cars, the series US Harper’s Bazaar commissioned from Lee Friedlander in 1964.

10 Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein, the Younger – because, if you’ve seen it, how could you not want it in your own perfect picture gallery?

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