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Glyn Philpot: Flesh and Spirit

[ Exhibition )

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Become a Friend – Gallery Friends get the first chance to see the exhibition between 9:30am and 12pm on 14 May

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A black man standing in profile facing right, wearing a mustard yellow top against a red and yellow background.

Glyn Philpot, Jamaican Man in Profile (Henry Thomas), 1934-5, oil on canvas, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

Discover the work of Glyn Philpot, the sought-after society portraitist who shook off convention to embrace modernism.

The first major exhibition of British artist Glyn Philpot R.A. (1884-1937) in almost 40 years. Bringing together over 80 paintings, drawings and sculptures, many unseen in public for decades, the exhibition charts the artist’s development from Edwardian society portraits to his shift to a radically modernist style in the 1930s.

The exhibition will include his portraits of actors, dancers, poets, society hostesses, male lovers and friends, examining his important contribution to the sensitive representation of Black sitters from the 1910s to 1930s, and his exploration of both queer and religious subjects.

Philpot’s sitters included a Who’s Who of British society, from glamorous duchesses a such as Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, to actors, poets and writers including Siegfried Sassoon. Alongside these portraits, Philpot gained a reputation for his paintings, sculptures and drawings of unknown Black sitters. Central to the exhibition will be an exploration of how these relate to wider dialogues about identity and representation in modern art.

★★★★★ “Decades of devotion are writ large in this exhibition, which allows us to rediscover Philpot in all his magpie complexity, and to afford his treatment of homoerotic subjects the honest appreciation they could not have received in his lifetime”.

Hettie Judah, The Guardian

★★★★☆ “Philpot, at his best, presents a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his period. This show sets out to re-establish a reputation that more than deserves to be reclaimed.”

Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

★★★★☆ “It’s that fundamental sense of mystery that gives this intriguing exhibition its particular piquant flavour.”

Mark Hudson, Independent

Highlights from the exhibition

Portrait of man staring ahead in robes

Glyn Philpot, Balthazar

Portrait side on of black man with hibiscus pink flower in ear wearing a yellow shirt

Glyn Philpot, Profile of a Man with Hibiscus Flower (Félix)

Two male acrobats sitting next to each other on bench with curtain draped to left

Glyn Philpot, Acrobats Waiting to Rehearse

Portrait of white man looking to right in a blue shirt and navy blazer

Glyn Philpot, Siegfried Sassoon

Portrait of woman in purple shoulderless dress with long purple gloves, matching hat and pearls

Glyn Philpot, Mrs Gwendolen Cleaver

A black man in red underpants sitting on a block against a greenish background with a blue strip to the left. His head and eyes appear downcast.

Glyn Philpot, Melancholy Man (Henry Thomas)

A black man standing in profile facing right, wearing a mustard yellow top against a red and yellow background.

Glyn Philpot, Jamaican Man in Profile (Henry Thomas)

Portrait of woman wearing black and white furred edged shawl with right arm bare, white glove and long fringe

Glyn Philpot, Mrs. Clement Cross

Kindly supported by Dreweatts.