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Tue Sep 26, 2017
Sir Oswald Birley MC (1880-1952) was an iconographer of power to the first half of the twentieth-century - the 'go-to' artist for international statesmen, royalty, scientists, artists, society beauties - whose oeuvre is ripe for re-appraisal. However, most of his portraits have never left the walls they were intended to adorn.
Our curators, Dr Jonathan Black and Josephine Fitzalan Howard, have sleuthed many of Birley's most iconic works from the walls of country houses, palaces, and major public institutions for the first exhibition of the artist's work since the retrospective that followed his death in 1954. Power & Beauty therefore provides a rare opportunity to restore one of the most sought-after artists of his day to his rightful position within the canon of twentieth-century British figurative art.
This exhibition has been initiated by the artist’s grandson, Robin Birley, who is keen for his grandfather’s work to be more widely known and for his remarkable talent to be reappraised. Robin has been an avid collector of Birley’s work and several portraits can be seen on the walls of 5 Hertford Street, the club he established.
Press clipping from the Mayfair Times: The Green Masque , 1922, by Sir Oswald Birley, photographed by Simon Bevan.
Recent press for the exhibition includes coverage in The Times, Mayfair Times (above), Mayfair Magazine, The World of Interiors, and Spear's Magazine.
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