Studio International

Published 05/11/2001

Sadly this is not Kitaj’s 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…’ Kitaj’s 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 Kitaj’s 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.