Stephen Finer : Paintings that capture

12 October - 14 November 2020
  • STEPHEN FINER (B. 1949) IS A LONDON-BASED ARTIST, exhibiting SINCE THE 1980S. 
     
    FINER PARTICIPATED IN BRITISH ART FROM THE ARTS COUNCIL COLLECTION 1940–80 AT THE HAYWARD GALLERY IN 1980 AND COLAZIONE INGLESE II AT THE VENICE BIENNALE IN 1984. FINER ALSO EXHIBITED IN THE PORTRAIT NOW (1993-94) AND PAINTING THE CENTURY: 101 PORTRAIT MASTERPIECES 1900–2000 (2000), BOTH AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, WHERE HIS PORTRAIT OF DAVID BOWIE RESIDES IN THE PERMANENT COLLECTION.
     
    FINER’S PAINTINGS ARE LIKEWISE IN THE PUBLIC COLLECTIONS OF ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND, ATKINSON ART GALLERY, BRITISH COUNCIL, CONTEMPORARY ART SOCIETY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA), MAGDALENE COLLEGE AND PALLANT HOUSE GALLERY, AMONG MANY OTHERS. 
  • VIRTUAL EXHIBITION

  • Stephen Finer

    Seated woman naked, 2006 oil on canvas
    36 1/8 x 36 1/8 in
    91.6 x 91.5 cm
  • Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Stephen Finer, Julia Auerbach, Kitaj , Max Kitaj, © R.B. Kitaj Estate

    Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Stephen Finer, Julia Auerbach, Kitaj

    Max Kitaj, © R.B. Kitaj Estate
  • "Finer...is as distinguished as any painter of his generation"

    William Packer, Financial Times, Thursday 5 June 1986

  • WATERCOLOURS

  • DAVID BOWIE & THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

    FINER AND DAVID BOWIE (1947-2016) HAVE THE SAME ORIGINS. THEY BOTH SPENT THEIR CHILDHOOD IN BROMLEY'S NEIGHBOURHOOD where david bowie was involved in THE BECKENHAM ARTS LAB. CURIOUSLY HOWEVER, THEY NEVER MEt at that time. THE FIRST ENCOUNTER WAS IN FACT VERY CASUAL: IN 1994, THEY BUMPED INTO EACH OTHER IN AN ART GALLERY IN CORK STREET, WHERE BOWIE WOULD GO ON TO HAVE HIS FIRST SOLO ART EXHIBiTION THE FOLLOWING YEAR, BOWIE WAS ALREADY A SUPERSTAR AND FINER A WELL-ESTABLISHED ARTIST, HAVING HELD many EXHIBITIONS BY THIS POINT.  "I LIKE YOUR PAINTINGS VERY MUCH, STEPHEN. I’LL CERTAINLY BE IN TOUCH. SHALL WE GO SOMEWHERE AND HAVE COFFEE?", BOWIE ASKED. HE KNEW FINER’S ART, HAVING SEEN his painting of MARLENE DIETRICH AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY WHILE IT WAS ON LOAN AT THE PORTRAIT NOW (1993-94). finer and bowie did not DISCUSS ANY ART TOPICS DURING THAT FIRST UNEXPECTED MEETING.
    "I IMAGINE THAT HE WAS TOO SOPHISTICATED TO INTERFERE WITH WHAT AN ARTIST MIGHT DO OR WHAT THE RESULT MIGHT LOOK LIKE, OR INDEED CRAMP MY STYLE. I GUESS HE FELT THAT IF AN ARTIST INTERESTED HIM HE WOULD JUST LET THEM RIP, IF THAT IS THE RIGHT WORD. BUT CERTAINLY WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT ART IN GENERAL, WHICH CAN BE QUITE A RELIEF". (STEPHEN FINER IN "a portrait of bowie - brian hiatt). 
  • FINER ENDED UP PAINTING BOTH DAVID BOWIE AND HIS WIFE IMAN SEVERAL TIMES. 
    HE PERFECTLY CAPTURED BOWIE'S ESSENCE AND PERSONALITY, TRANSLATING HIS EXPERIENCE AND FEELINGS THROUGH ACCUMULATING LAYERS OF PAINT, RE-WORKING IT UNTIL HE COULD EVOKE BOTH THE PRESENCE AND THE IMAGE OF BOWIE’S PERSON. IN 1995, FINER’S PORTRAIT OF BOWIE (BELOW) WAS bought by THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY and CELEBRATED BY BOWIE HIMSELF AS A ‘WONDERFUL PAINTING’.
     
    ROLLING STONE CRITIC BRIAN HIATT NOTED IN HIS BOOK, A PORTRAIT OF BOWIE, THAT: ‘…THE IMAGE THAT MIGHT COME CLOSEST TO CAPTURING BOWIE IN HIS WORLD-CHANGING TOTALITY IS AN ABSTRACT PAINTING BY STEPHEN FINER, BUILT UPON THE VERY IMPOSSIBILITY OF NAILING HIM DOWN. IN THE PORTRAIT, BOWIE’S FACE SPLAYS KALEIDOSCOPICALLY OUTWARD, AS IF CAUGHT BETWEEN PHASES, AS IF HE’S THE SIXTIES FOLKIE, THE SEVENTIES GLAM ALIEN, THE CLEAN-CUT EIGHTIES HITMAKER AND MORE, ALL AT ONCE’. 
     
    THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY ALSO DISPLAYED IMAN AND DAVID BOWIE (1995) IN PAINTING THE CENTURY: 101 PORTRAIT MASTERPIECES 1900–2000 (2000). 
  • "What I learned about him was how easy he was to be with. And also there was quite a lot of laughter. He had a very good sense of humour".  Stephen Finer 
  • MARLENE DIETRICH 

  • MARIA MAGDALENE DIETRICH (1901-1992), KNOWN AS MARLENE DIETRICH, WAS A GERMAN-AMERICAN ACTRESS AND SINGER WHO DOMINATED THE 1930S AND THE 1940S WITH HER EXPLOSIVE SEX APPEAL, UNIQUE VOICE, AND DISTINCTIVE PERSONAL STYLE. 
     
    DIETRICH AND FINER MET BY ACCIDENT IN LONDON, MANY YEARS BEFORE HE DECIDED TO PAINT HER. 
    FINER saw DIETRICH PERFORM TWICE AT THE QUEEN’S THEATRE AND THE GOLDERS GREEN HIPPODROME IN LONDON. "WHEN WE MET SHE WAS WEARING A BROWN SUEDE COAT WITH A BELT TIED AT THE WAIST, BROWN SUEDE BOOTS THAT HAD TESSELLATED TOPS AND A MINK HAT. SHE GAVE ME HER AUTOGRAPH USING MY PARKER FOUNTAIN PEN". 
     
    DIETRICH AND BOWIE FEATURE IN HER FINAL 1978 FILM 'JUST A GIGOLO’, IN WHICH BOWIE PLAYS THE ROLE OF AN EX-PRUSSIAN OFFICER BACK TO BERLIN AT THE END OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR WHO REINVENTS HIMSELF AS A GIGOLO WORKING AT BARONESS VON SEMERING'S (DIETRICH) BROTHEL. 
    MARLENE DIETRICH (1988) WAS ON LOAN TO THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY FOR THE PORTRAIT NOW EXHIBITION (1993-1994). 
     
  • "I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men" - Marlene Dietrich 

  • MERLYN DRIVER 

  • MERLYN DRIVER from orkney IS A singer song writer WITH PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE CONNECTION BETWEEN MUSIC AND NATURE. 
     
    FINER MET DRIVER IN 2013 WHILE HE WAS WORKING ON THE KING'S ROAD. 
    THEY TALKED AND HAD GOOD SYNERGY. GIVEN HIS APPETITE FOR ALL FORMS OF ART, FINER STARTED FOLLOWING HIS MUSIC, BROADCASTS AND GIGS, GOING TO PAINT MERLYN MULTIPLE TIMES.
     
    THEY ARE NOW GOOD FRIENDS. 

     

    www.merlyndriver.com

  • Merlyn Driver and Stephen Finer before Merlyn’s gig at The Bedford, © Gill Bastedo

    Merlyn Driver and Stephen Finer before Merlyn’s gig at The Bedford

    © Gill Bastedo
  • Stephen Finer, Merlyn Driver playing his guitar , 2014

    Stephen Finer

    Merlyn Driver playing his guitar , 2014 oil on canvas
    121.5x 91.3cm
    48x36in
  • Stephen Finer, Head of Merlyn Driver, 2013-2014

    Stephen Finer

    Head of Merlyn Driver, 2013-2014 oil on canvas
    14 x 12 1/8 in
    35.5 x 30.5 cm
  • Stephen Finer

    Untitled, 2012 oil on canvas
    48 x 36 in
    121.9 x 91.4 cm
  • Stephen Finer, Woman on a stool, 1981-82

    Stephen Finer

    Woman on a stool, 1981-82 oil on canvas
    60 x 40 in
    152.4 x 101.6 cm
  • Stephen Finer, Untitled, 1981-82

    Stephen Finer

    Untitled, 1981-82 oil on canvas
    60 x 40 in
    152.4 x 101.6 cm
  • ARTWORKS IN IMPORTANT COLLECTIONS

  • SELECTED MIXED AND SOLO EXHIBITIONS

    MIXED:

    1980          British Art 1940-80 from the Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London
    1984          Colazione Inglese ll, Venice Biennale, Italy

    1993-94     The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery London

    1996          The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London - Finer invited by Martin Gayford 

    2000-01     Painting the Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900 to 2000, National Portrait Gallery London

    2003         The National Portrait Gallery Collects, Bodelwyddan Castle, Wales
    2006         ‘An American Abroad Sandra Fisher and her School of London Friends’, New York Studio School, NY 

    2014-16    'In the Frame: Plymouth's Portraits Revealed', Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

    SOLO:

    1981    Four Vine Lane, London

    1982    Four Vine Lane, London

    1985    Four Vine Lane, London

    1986    Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London

    1988    Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London

    1989    Berkeley Square Gallery, London

    1992    Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London                 

    1994    Woodlands Art Gallery

    1995    Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

    1998    'Heads', Agnew's, London

    1999    'Sir Morris Finer' & other paintings, Agnew's, London

    2001    Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, Sussex

    2004    Art Space Gallery, London

    2010    'Paintings and Watercolours', Art Space Gallery, London

    2012    'Duncan Hume Dancing and Other People', Art Space Gallery, London

    2015    'Merlyn Driver recording and other paintings', Art Space Gallery, London

  • FOR SALE ENQUIRIES AND INFO PLEASE CONTACT ALEX@MASTERPIECEART.CO.UK ARIANNA@MASTERPIECEART.CO.UK