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Babylon (1984)

Gillian Ayres

oil on canvas

Leeds Art Gallery


Image is currently unavailable





Oil, Canvas

Physical Object Description:

Signed in red Gillian Ayres 84, bottom front


45.72 x 45.72 cm


Gifted by Dasha Shenkman through the Contemporary Art Society, 2013



Ownership history:

Purchased from the Knoedler Gallery by Dasha Shenkman, 1986; by whom gifted to the Contemporary Art Society, 2013; presented to Leeds Art Gallery, 2013
Since it was established in 1888, Leeds Art Gallery has concentrated on collecting contemporary art, in particular 19th and 20th century British painting as well as a renowned collection of modern British sculpture. Leeds Art Gallery continues to collect contemporary art and recent acquisitions include works by Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Mark Wallinger, Alison Wilding, Stephen Willats and Bill Woodrow.

Gillian Ayres is one of the leading British abstract painters of her generation. She studied at Camberwell School of Art from 1946-50 where she met her future husband Henry Mundy, and established friendships with artists Roger Hilton, Robyn Denny and Howard Hodgkin. As well as the vibrant, heavily worked abstract canvases for which she is best known, Ayres is also a dedicated printmaker. Leeds Art Gallery already own the major work Helios (1990) so were delighted to receive Babylon (1984) to strengthen and enhance their collection in this area. Ayres had her first solo exhibition at Gallery One, London (1956), and was included in the Whitechapel Gallery’s British Painting exhibition (1965). By the mid-1960s, Ayres began to use acrylic paints to produce works using a limited colour range and simpler forms. From 1979 Ayres was regularly exhibiting in both London and New York and her paintings of this period had become more colourful and were painted in thick oil paint to build textured, impasto surfaces. Ayres has exhibited internationally and held a retrospective exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London (1983). Ayres was made an OBE in 1986, nominated for the Turner Prize (1989) and became an RA in 1991. Solo shows have included the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1981), Tate Gallery, London (1995) and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (1997).

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The collection that owns this artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

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