The Estate of Ken Kiff

The Hill of Dreams

Mar 4 — Apr 17, 2015

Marlborough is delighted to announce an exhibition of paintings, drawings and graphics by British artist Ken Kiff, RA (1935 – 2001).

The exhibition, the first by the artist in London since 2008, will comprise some 40 works with major paintings and acrylics including the National Gallery Triptych, a large-scale painting made during his residency at the National Gallery between November 1991 and October 1993. It will also include some previously unseen paintings from the Estate, demonstrating the artist’s extraordinary range and versatility, together with a number of works from The Sequence series, a project started in 1971 and eventually numbering some 200 works in all.

This exhibition will provide viewers with the opportunity to re-evaluate the work of the artist who produced an abiding and much admired body of work, invoking fantasy and myth in exploring the realities of humanity.

From the 1980s printmaking became increasingly important to Kiff. The variety of techniques allowed him to explore his own visual language through the different media. Kiff relished the collaboration with technicians and master-printers producing a rich array of woodcuts, lithographs, etching, monotypes and encaustics. A selection of approximately 15 works will be included in the show, a modest group but a testament to his skill and originality as an artist and as a printmaker.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with a new essay by Andrew Lambirth, author of a major Thames & Hudson monograph on the artist. He writes:

“It is now 14 years since Ken Kiff died at the comparatively early age of 65. As more time passes and we look afresh at his work, it becomes increasingly clear that he was one of the most original painters of the joys and travails of the human condition. He chose to conduct his investigations through a potent and highly personal combination of figurative and abstract elements, deploying a range of media from drawing to painting and printmaking. Kiff was in pursuit of an elusive whole – perhaps as elusive as the perfectibility of the species itself. But the fact that he pursued such wholeness, despite the odds against achieving it, was heroic. And the quality of the images he made during his quest was remarkable.”


Kiff, white tree, large face, 1990 91, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 27 in., 121.9 x 68.6 cm, 304855
White Tree, Large Face, 1990 - 1991, acrylic on canvas, 48 × 27 in., 121.9 × 68.6 cm
Kiff, woman standing in sea with crimson, flowers and pale yellow bird, 1991, oil on board
Woman Standing in Sea with Crimson Flowers and Pale Yellow Bird, 1991, oil on board, 60 × 27 in., 152.4 × 68.6 cm
Kiff, yellow head, night, 1989, oil on board, 25 1 2 x 21 1 4 in., 65 x 54 cm
Yellow Head, Night, 1989, oil on board, 25 1/2 × 21 1/4 in., 64.8 × 54 cm
Kiff, violinist, 1975, oil on board, 39 3 4 x 32 in., 101 x 81 cm
Violinist, 1975, oil on board, 39 3/4 × 32 in., 101 × 81.3 cm
Kiff, (woman with) protruding tongue (sequence no. 165), 1982, acrylic on paper, 26 5 8 x 34 in., 67.5 x 86.5 cm, 306545
(Woman with) Protruding tongue (Sequence no. 165), 1982, acrylic on paper, 36 × 48 in., 91.4 × 121.9 cm
Kiff, rainbow, 1999, oil, pastel and acrylic on paper, 57 1 8 x 33 1 8 in., 145 x 84 cm.
Rainbow, 1999, oil, pastel and acrylic on paper, 57 1/8 × 33 1/8 in., 145.1 × 84.2 cm


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