American-born artist R.B.Kitaj (1932-2007) was one of the most controversial artists of the second-half of the twentieth century. His distinctive, highly personal and often challenging works drew on many influences ranging from literature to politics and film. The British Museum holds a near complete set of the artists proofs, the best representation of the artists graphic works in the UK. Kitaj worked in England for almost forty years until 1994 when his ill-fated retrospective exhibition at the Tate was savaged by the critics. Hurt by the hostile reception of his works in his adopted homeland and grieving for the sudden death of his young wife, the painter Sandra Fisher, Kitaj left England for good, returning to America, declaring, London is dead to me now. It was in London that he developed his early style and influenced many of his close circle of friends, including David Hockney, who he met at the RCA, and Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach. This led him to coin the term School of London, later associated with this group of purely figurative artists. This exciting and beautifully produced book amounts to the definitive collection of the artists graphic works, and is the first to examine in detail Kitajs prints for almost twenty years.
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