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‘Historical Baggage’: Glenn Brown and his Sources at the British Museum

A display in the Department of Prints & Drawings at The British Museum features graphic works by Glenn Brown alongside the sources that inspired them. Brown’s early series of layered portraits based on prints by Rembrandt (1606-1669) and Lucian Freud (1922-2011) is contrasted with his new series Half-Life (2016), a fresh engagement with Rembrandt’s graphic oeuvre. The centrepiece, a major new drawing generously donated by the artist, will be shown alongside the Rembrandt print to which it responds. The display illustrates Brown’s stylistic development; moving from appropriating found lines to transforming them as the basis of his unique visual language.

The recent acquisition of works by this contemporary artist allows for new perspectives on the Museum’s historical collection, and simultaneously illuminates our understanding of Brown’s process, situating him in a rich tradition of printmaking.

Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Baroque, Contemporary, Etching

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