30 September 2021
Although Leon Kossoff is recognised as one of the leading painters of his generation, there have been few books on his work. This publication, the catalogue raisonné of Kossoff’s oil paintings, will help to correct the imbalance between his reputation and the public’s knowledge of his work by providing a complete record of the oil paintings, a record that will serve as the foundation for future research and writing. As such, it is an important book for those interested in the artist’s oeuvre and the study of post-war British art.
Having curated exhibitions and written about his work from the 1980s onwards, Andrea Rose, the author, and Andrew Dempsey, who led the research, both knew the artist and his work for many years before embarking on the project in 2013. Consequently, they were given unprecedented access to him, his archives and his studio, and since his death have had the full support of his family. Kossoff was an intensely private man and their research greatly benefited from his cooperation.
The entry for each work records the painting’s title, date, medium, dimensions, provenance, exhibition history, literature, and in many cases includes a brief commentary in which the subject of the painting is discussed, published criticism quoted, and previously published factual errors corrected. Almost all entries are accompanied by a high-quality colour reproduction of the catalogued work.
Beyond the entries, the book comprises an introduction by Andrea Rose, an essay on Kossoff’s relationship with the Old Masters by Dr Barnaby Wright, an extensive chronology, and a further short essay by Rose on Kossoff’s materials, technique and studio practice. The backmatter includes a list of all works in public collections, a comprehensive list of solo and group exhibitions, an extensive selected bibliography, an appendix of destroyed works, an index of titles and a general index.
From 1994-2014 Andrea Rose was Director of Visual Arts and Strategic Programmes at the British Council. During this period she was responsible for Britain’s representation at Venice Biennale, including Leon Kossoff’s 1995 Biennale exhibition. As Curator of the British Council Collection (1990-94), she produced a number of catalogues of the Collection (eg. ‘For a Wider World’ 1991) and organised the digitisation of the Collection. As Exhibition Curator (1980-1990) she negotiated, and organised, the major series ‘Masters of British Painting’ in partnership with the Musee du Louvre. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Burlington Magazine, a Trustee of Pallant House Gallery and the Koestler Trust, and Deputy Chair of the Royal Drawing School. Andrea has written widely on British art.