This work is from the Chapman brothers’ Family Portrait series, an ongoing project where the artists use interesting 19th century portraits they find in auctions or flea markets as the basis for exploring contemporary attitudes to family and ancestry.

In contrast to their previous Goya etchings where the work of a famous artist is altered, works by unknown artists of unknown subjects have been selected and altered highlighting society’s attitude to the past as irrelevant and not worth remembering. The work is disturbing both because of the sitters decaying face and because an apparent old master has been defaced. The work reflects the brothers continuing concern with the human preoccupation with mortality and is the first work by the Chapmans to enter the Cheltenham collection.


The artists via White Cube.

The Wilson: Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

Clarence Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3JT
01242 387492

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