West Indian Porters
description A three-quarter length double portrait of two West Indian porters at Lyons Corner House, Piccadilly. The painting is one of only a handful of surviving oils on canvas - Frankfurther having destroyed the majority and also working predominantly in oil on paper. The composition is reminiscent of Rembrandt's study of 'Two Moors', a study of two heads, which Frankfurther knew and admired. The canvas shows signs of changes within the composition, particularly behind the porter on the left. The background is painted in Frankfurther's characteristic style of the period with layers of paint built up from short, diagonal brushstrokes. Her focus is almost entirely upon the two men's faces and expressions and the relationship between their two heads. The lower part of their bodies is sketchily painted with thinly applied paint (with white showing through in some places). Although the work makes an apposite pairing with Frankfurther's 'West Indian Waitresses', the latter is a far more complex and finished work, in this picture the paint handling is closer to that of 'Waitress Resting'.
date c. 1955
location Lyons Corner House
dimensions 76 x 55 cm
medium oil on canvas
exhibition history 'Eva Frankfurther 1930-1959: Memorial Exhibition', Boundary Gallery, London, 15 June-18 July 2001, as (42) 'West Indian Porters, Lyons Corner House', c. 1955, NFS; 'Refiguring the 50s: Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman and L S Lowry', Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London, 2014.
literature ed., B. Planskoy, 'Eva Frankfurther 1930-1959: Paintings, lithographs and drawings (London: Peter Halban, 2001), p. 25; ed., S. MacDougall, 'Refiguring the 50s: Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman and L S Lowry' (London: Ben Uri, 2014), illus., p. 21 (cat. 1).
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