Sadly this is not Kitajs personal re-entry into London as a working base, since he is now based in California. The collective guilt of the London art world has not yet made amends for the incredibly misplaced critical onslaught that occurred at the time of his 1994 Tate Gallery Retrospective. Last seen at the unveiling in 1997 of the superb tapestry based upon his important painting If Not, Not Kitajs historical and catalytic role in London still stands. The emergence of the so-defined School of London (a loose assembly of himself, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Freud and Andrews) was largely moved by Kitaj.
However, once again the National Gallery has taken the lead, this time in persuading Kitaj to exhibit in London. Kitaj: In the Aura of Cezanne and Other Masters opens on 7 November and will be reviewed by Janet McKenzie. The Tate Gallery Retrospective of 1994 was, contrary to local myth, a considerable draw, remarkable among other things for Kitajs superb technical skill. The new exhibition is likely to be a cause for further celebration, this time by critics as well, if early details are anything to go by.