Mitchell-Innes & Nash will open their doors to Leon Kossoff: A Life in Painting, a major touring exhibition of paintings by the British artist Leon Kossoff (1926-2019), curated by Andrea Rose. The exhibition, which includes sixteen paintings that span the breadth of the artist’s career and represent his most celebrated subjects, has been organized in concert with the publication of Leon Kossoff: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash has represented Leon Kossoff since 2000. A Life in Painting is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery, and the first posthumous solo exhibition. The exhibition travels to New York from Annedy Juda Fine Art, London, and is presented concurrently at L.A. Louver, Los Angeles (January 26 – March 26, 2022); it marks the third collaborative exhibition of Kossoff’s work shared by this trio of galleries, following Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes and Leon Kossoff: Recent Works (2013-2014 and 2010-2011, respectively).
Leon Kossoff is recognized as one of the world’s greatest Post-War figurative painters with an appreciation of life’s everyday activities, finding poignancy and beauty in seemingly mundane urban settings. Having lived his lifetime in London (from which he rarely traveled), his paintings of his native city are rendered with the familiarity of a close friend. Complicated, sometimes bleak, but always vital and teeming with activity, Kossoff’s paintings reflected London’s transformation, stretching from post-war desolation to international affluence towards the end of the 20th century.
“Kossoff’s singularity ~ his ability to turn the ordinary circumstances of life into grand and momentous experiences ~ animates his work throughout… It is as if he were fashioning a new sort of painting from earth and clay, and in a reversal of usual norms, turning abstraction into form rather than form into abstraction” ~ Andrea Rose, former Director of Visual Art at the British Council.
In addition to London landscapes, the exhibition includes portraits of the painter’s father, his wife Peggy (also known as Rosalind), his painter friend John Lessore,, and several self-portraits. In all these works, Kossoff searches for a way to bring myriad experiences together in a single image, every brushstroke telling the story of doubt and opportunity that went into their making, all of them threatening to dissolve into fleeting abstraction at any given moment.
The exhibitions coincide with the publication of Leon Kossoff: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings just released by Modern Art Press.
In the YouTube video below, the artist gives a rare television interview in 2010 with two journalists from UK’s Channel 4 News program. The interview takes place at the National Gallery, where he takes the journalists on a very special tour of his work.
Leon Kossoff: A Life in Painting will be on view to March 5, 2022 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 West 26th Street, NYC.