A New York financier friend suggested I create a large painting of a gallery. We discussed it together. We are both fond of Goya and Goya's royal family portraits and wanted to include them in one space with other Goya's. All viewed with one point perspective as if standing in the middle of a gallery room. Empty of people but full of Art.
We decided on the Prado in Madrid.
In the summer of 2020 I visited the Prado.
I hired the gallery and had it to myself for an hour. An intense experience that I hope has become part of the fabric of the final painting that I created. In one image, I included Goya paintings that were in different rooms and put them all in one room - Room 64. I took photographs to get the reference I needed which was then compiled and edited later digitally in the studio to become the final digital sketch that I work from, I took out all the light fittings and just left the light pools on the surfaces instead.
The Commissioning Process
Many major works of art from history are commissions. From Titian right up to Warhol. Andy Warhol's final 'Last Supper' series was commissioned by gallerist Alexandre Lolas. Commissioned paintings not only reflect the wishes of the commissioner but also what is happening in the artists life at the time. It might be ideas, colours or techniques that I'm looking at but I am always visiting galleries and viewing past works and appreciating them. I research thoroughly and always work with whoever is commissioning the work. It's a collaboration to some extent. In the preparation and discussion of ideas for sure but ultimately I am then left alone in the studio to realize it and make those ideas flesh.
I always think spending time in a gallery is like having a conversation with artists from the past. This painting would be about what I do for a living and what I love to do, when I am not painting - spending time in great galleries. Painting is sometimes like an illusion that tells the truth. Only the best make it to those gallery walls.
Like my Straubenzee portrait, I thought this painting could be a celebration of art itself.