The internationally recognised American artist Leon Golub (1922 – 2004) is best known for his large-scale paintings of Mercenaries, Interrogations and Riots in which the depiction of power is a central concern. This display focuses on Golub’s Political Portraits from the 1970s. Comprising portraits of heads of state, corporate, military and religious leaders, it explores the evolution of the ‘gaze’ in the artist’s pictorial language, in particular the way facial expression conveys an impression of power and the psychology of the sitter. Often depicting an individual at various stages of his public life, these images are documents of arrogance and venality traced across the features of powerful men.
Display curated by Professor Jon Bird, Middlesex University in association with Paul Moorhouse, Senior Curator of Twentieth-Century Collections, National Portrait Gallery.
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