Moeller Fine Art Berlin is pleased to announce the exhibition "R.B. Kitaj," on view from November 3, 2012 to January 25, 2013. The exhibition will run concurrently with the retrospective "R.B. Kitaj: Obsessions" at the nearby Jewish Museum Berlin, through 27 January, 2013. Moeller Fine Art's exhibition presents 15 important paintings created during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. All works are for sale.
R. B. (Ronald Brooks) Kitaj (1932-2007) is among the best-known of the figurative painters of the “The London School,” a name Kitaj coined in a catalog essay for his 1976 retrospective at the Arts Council of Great Britain, London. Kitaj's honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1982. In 1985, he became the first American since John Singer Sargent to be elected to the Royal Academy. Numerous retrospective exhibitions of his work have been held, including those at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, the Tate Gallery, London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
For Kitaj, art was a medium of intellectual exploration, which he mined using references from history, art, literature, pop culture, and his own life. These complex compositions of disorienting landscapes and impossible three dimensional constructions are built up using a montage of images, which he called 'agitational usage'. This juxtaposition is not only one of space but also of time; The Room (Rue St. Denis), 1982-83, exhibited at the Tate retrospective in 1994 and included in the gallery’s exhibition, refers to Kitaj's life and its connection to that of Pablo Picasso: "the year that I lived in Paris, I painted this room which is in the mile-long street which I have haunted since I was eighteen, a street Picasso also loved but I don't know if he ever painted it or its small rooms."
Kitaj was also a voracious reader and sought to communicate both through form and text. He accompanied many of his works with explanatory “prefaces” and identified with the “painter-scribbler” Vincent van Gogh, to whom he paid homage with After Vincent (2nd Transaction), 2006. For the “preface” of the painting My First Time (Havana, 1949), 1990, also included in the exhibition, Kitaj wrote:
I’ve been possessed by a very occasional semi-secret life, not at all uncommon to judge only by erotic art and literature of many cultures, and its bittersweet addictions have fascinated me since my First Time in Havana forty-five years ago (Flaubert says ‘He has not lived’ who has not been drawn into and shamed by this ill-famed addiction), but when I think that a rare beauty has transpired in my secret life, not unlike any other experience of nature which one tries to commit to canvas, I feel it may belong to painting, even when I suspect that the bitter undertaste of the sensual port and its streets of shame may be unknowable to many people, and so it seems to me that if I can recall some sense of sexual drama, as in this bildungsroman about my lost youth, the singular tense in art may be faintly heard and one’s youth may even seem regained.