"The act of drawing is what locates, suggests, discovers... On a lucky day, a surprising balance of forms and spaces will appear and I feel the drawing making itself, the image taking hold."


23 Nov 2019–8 Mar 2020

A drawing of a man in a window smoking a cigar

The first solo exhibition of internationally acclaimed American artist Philip Guston (1913–80) in Oxford. The exhibition highlighted the importance of working on paper for Guston’s artistic practice, and explored the inspiration he drew from historical art and literature.

American artist Philip Guston is known as one of the abstract expressionist painters who rocked the art world in the 1950s. He is also well known for making a dramatic break with abstract painting and developing a new style and figurative language that was uniquely Guston’s own. While there is enormous variety in his work, his drawings in particular reveal fascinating continuities that have been somewhat overlooked.

Focusing on 35 works on paper and including books and ephemera that belonged to him, the exhibition explored Guston’s enduring sensitivity to the world around him and the tumultuous events that he lived through in the 20th century. It also showed his life-long interests in the art and literature of the past that encompassed everything from Chinese Song Dynasty paintings, the European surrealists, to the writings of Franz Kafka and T.S. Eliot.

This first solo exhibition of Guston's work in Oxford accompanied Prof. Karen Lang's Slade Lectures at the University of Oxford. To find out more about this series of lectures, that ran between 22 Jan – 11 Mar 2020, visit the following link: 2020 Slade Lectures


To contact the Press Office please click here