William Nelson Copley
Star and Garter
Acrylic on canvas. 81.5 x 65 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'cply 64'. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.
With his reduced, comic-like style, William Nelson Copley pertains to the early representatives of Pop Art, which had its prime in the 1960s. In a clear design, with regard to contour and colour, the artist designs motifs, some of which are humourous and often of anecdotal character.
After the artist returned to New York in 1963, American symbols such as Western saloons, cowboys or pin-up girls begin to occur in his oeuvre. In 'Star and Garter', it is the American stars and stripes flag that is skilfully staged and, at the same time, forms the basis for the title's play on words.
'The vocabulary used in Copley's paintings is obvious; stories of man and woman are recounted with a wink and in a sexy way. Naughtiness is introduced to the canvas with a light motion and using more or less innocent, bright colours. The generous, almost naive brush stroke retraces the silhouette of the figures and draws patterns with inexhaustible imagination. Interiors with heart-patterned wallpaper, abstract patterns on clothes and hats - and lace underwear! […] The prominent characteristic of his art is that it is free of any moralism in its subject matter and in its depiction. Copley also claims to have ‚dirty' phantasies which he implements in his paintings with disrespectful and cryptical humour.' (Ilona Lindenberg, in: Reinhard Onasch (ed.), Post-Raphaeliten Paintings by William N. Copley, exhib.cat. Onnasch Galerie, Berlin 1983 n.pag.
Galerie Kurt Schäfer, Berlin (label verso); private collection, Berlin
Amsterdam 1966 (Stedelijk Museum), Copley, exhib.cat.no.34, p.15 with illus.; Paris 1980/1981 (Centre Georges Pompidou), William N. Copley, exhib.cat.no.57 (label verso); Hanover 1995 (Kestner-Gesellschaft), William N. Copley, Bilder, Paintings 1951-1995, exhib.cat.no.24, n.pag. with colour illus.