The Gallery at Windsor presented Christopher Le Brun: Composer, a major two-part exhibition of renowned British painter and President of the Royal Academy Christopher Le Brun PRA. Part of a concurrent show exhibiting at Albertz Benda’s New York gallery, the exhibition displayed a body of work drawing from the connection between painting and music. Together, the works encompassed a complete new cycle of Le Brun’s paintings.
Le Brun’s exhibition at The Gallery at Windsor featured 16 works in total, including new large-scale paintings and important private loans. The second part of the exhibition, opened a week later in New York, featured 12 new paintings, demonstrating the breadth of scale that characterizes the artist’s most recent work.
Music and its relationship to composition have always been central to Le Brun’s creative process, and the importance of this dialogue became more explicit in 2015 when British composer Richard Birchall produced a new piano piece inspired by one of Le Brun’s paintings, Cloud, which debuted in a solo exhibition of his work in London 2015. Chords, texture, tone, rhythm, layering: much of this language speaks equally to painting and music.
The title of these exhibitions, Composer, deliberately highlights the aesthetic and essential qualities of painting – shape, scale, texture and color – and the artists’ role in their arrangement. Under the hand of the painter and composer the raw material of noise becomes sound and visual chaos becomes form. Whether Wassily Kandinsky and Arnold Schoenberg, or Philip Guston and Morton Feldman, historically there have always been strong relationships and critical exchanges between composers of paintings and of music.
This cohesive group of paintings are not only alive with possibility and sensuality, but are also very much composed. Classical composers of music, right through to the present day, are defined by the extensive and refined structure of their compositions, where complex auditory space enables fine distinctions of emotion, imagination and meaning. These are the connections between painting and music that Le Brun values most.
A fully illustrated publication accompanied the exhibitions, with a foreword by the Hon. Hilary M. Weston, an introduction by curator Emile Bruner, an essay by the acclaimed curator and scholar Barbara Rose and a conversation with Christopher Le Brun PRA and the architect David Chipperfield RA, moderated by Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy London.
Christopher Le Brun was elected President of the Royal Academy in December 2011. He is the 26th President since Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1768, and the youngest to be elected since Lord Leighton in 1878.
Composer opened to the public by appointment on Monday, February 27, 2017 and was held-over by popular demand closing on May 12, 2017.