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Angus McBean - Christmas Card 1961 - Self Portrait on Beach with Wooden Numbers
Angus McBean
Christmas Card 1961 - Self Portrait on Beach with Wooden Numbers
$1,500
Angus McBean - Christmas Card 1984 - Self Portrait Against Garden Wall with Steel Rings
Angus McBean
Christmas Card 1984 - Self Portrait Against Garden Wall with Steel Rings
$1,500
Angus McBean - Christmas Card 1962 - Self Portrait with Flag in the Water
Angus McBean
Christmas Card 1962 - Self Portrait with Flag in the Water
$1,000
Angus McBean - Christmas Card 1984 - Self Portrait, Reading His Own Book in a Garden
Angus McBean
Christmas Card 1984 - Self Portrait, Reading His Own Book in a Garden
$1,500
Angus McBean - Portrait of David Ball with Silhouette
Angus McBean
Portrait of David Ball with Silhouette
$1,500

Christmas Card 1951- Self Portrait with "Dollies".

Angus McBean (1904–1990) was a singular talent whose work straddled fine art and popular culture. His oeuvre has remained something of a best-kept secret, only recently coming to public attention in the form of a biography by Adrian Woodhouse (Alma Books, 2006) and a stunning exhibit by the National Portrait Gallery in London (curated by Terrence Pepper, 2006). Perhaps his homosexuality or his genre-defying style kept him from enjoying a greater public awareness, though a generation of photographers, including Robert Mapplethorpe, have found great inspiration in his work.

McBean had a penchant for surreal, over-the-top studio set-ups that often incorporated plaster casts (the making of which was a McBean specialty), masks, elaborate stages with weird shifts of scale, as well as double-exposure, dramatic lighting and collage. He particularly enjoyed putting his skills to use in the annual Christmas greetings he sent out to his own social circle, each year yielding a new, surprising result. In one of these (now-rare) images, we see the artist cast himself (pardon the pun) as the Greek god Zeus; in another, he fits his seemingly disembodied head into a scene that includes his own charlady’s wash bucket. With their whimsy and strong sense of artistic freedom, these photographs probably represent the best and truest expression of McBean’s wacky, yet highly exacting, aesthetic sensibility. Good examples of his work are hard to come by, and some choice and highly personal examples are represented here.

Harvard University is in possession of McBean’s entire archive (legend has it, weighing in at more than 4 tons of glass-plate negatives) and is planning a major show of his work.

Angus McBean: The Uncanny "I"
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Charles Schwartz Ltd.

21 East 90th Street
New York, New York   10128   USA

Contact Charles Schwartz

Email cms@cs-photo.com

Phone 1-212-534-4496

By appointment

 

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