This exciting new collaboration is launched to mark the reopening of the National Portrait Gallery on 22nd June 2023 and celebrate Peyton’s close connection with the Gallery.
On 19th June 2023 at 14:00 (BST), Avant Arte will release two time-limited silkscreen print editions, Mai (Afterlife) after Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai), 1776 and Frederick Douglass, 1850. The editions will be available to all on avantarte.com for 1 week only until 14:00 (BST) on 26 June 2023, with proceeds from all sales being donated to support the work of the Gallery.
Mai (Afterlife) after Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai), 1776 was created in response to the Gallery’s recent and successful campaign to save Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai) for work for the nation. Peyton’s work will now enter the Gallery’s permanent collection as Reynolds’ spectacular Portrait of Mai (Omai) goes on display when the Gallery reopens on 22nd June 2023. Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai) holds a pivotal place in global art history, depicting the first Polynesian to visit Britain, and is widely regarded as the finest portrait by one of Britain’s greatest artists. Known as “Omai” in England, Mai (ca. 1753-1779) was a native of Raiatea, an island now part of French Polynesia, who travelled from Tahiti to England with Captain James Cook. He spent the years 1774-76 in London, where he was received by royalty and the intellectual elite, and indeed became something of a celebrity. Mai returned to his homeland in 1777 and died there two years later.
Anna Starling, Director of Commercial at the National Portrait Gallery, said:
Elizabeth Peyton is one of the great artists working with portraiture today, which is why I’m delighted to have partnered with Avant Arte to launch these limited edition screen prints, signed by the artist herself. Responding to historic portraits of both Mai and Frederick Douglass, these new editions enable the Gallery to engage with a contemporary art-loving audience ahead of our reopening on 22nd June, making outstanding works of art more accessible.
Frederick Douglass, 1850 by Elizabeth Peyton will also go on display when the Gallery reopens. The work depicts Frederick Douglass (1817/18-1895), an African American abolitionist who was born into slavery and went on to become a leader of the abolitionist movement and the most photographed American man of the 19th Century. Inspired by one of these photographs, Peyton’s portrait will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery when it reopens to the public.
Mai (Afterlife) after Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai), 1776 and Frederick Douglass, 1850 are released as part of Avant Arte’s time-limited edition series that aims to help people start collecting high-quality art editions by today’s leading contemporary artists.
Each silkscreen print is made by master printmakers in London, signed by the artist and will cost €1,000.00 with free international shipping. Proceeds from the sale will go to the National Portrait Gallery.
Mazdak Sanii, CEO, Avant Arte said:
We are delighted to be working with Elizabeth Peyton to support the National Portrait Gallery in London as it reopens to the public — bringing the incredible stories of Mai and Frederick Douglass to our global audience with these two exceptional print editions. Avant Arte was founded on the belief that access to art can transform our perspectives and enrich our lives but that its potential is much greater than its impact today. Partnering with institutions that ensure public access to art and the stories it can share is an incredibly important part of our mission.
19th June 2023 at 14:00 (BST), Avant Arte will release two time-limited silkscreen print
editions, Mai (Afterlife) after Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Portrait of Mai (Omai), 1776 and Frederick
Douglass, 1850. The editions will be available to all on avantarte.com
For 1 week only until 14:00 (BST) on 26th June 2023, with proceeds from all sales being donated to National Portrait Gallery.
The partnership marks Avant Arte’s third time supporting institutions that enable public access to art – a core tenet of the company’s mission to make art more accessible to more people around the globe. Most recently, Avant Arte has created exclusive editions to raise funds for the Design Museum and LACMA.
Elizabeth Peyton (she/her) was born 1965 in Connecticut, United States. Today, she lives and works in New York. Elizabeth Peyton creates gestural, atmospheric paintings and works on paper that attest to the psychical and emotional depths of her chosen subjects and map out delicate negotiations between beauty, desire, and the pictorial image. Portraying figures from her own milieu, as well as those from history, literature, music, film, and nature, Peyton finds feeling in all that she depicts, always rendering each scene with the intensity of her particular humanism: a close looking akin to love. In each subject’s specificity, she reveals the universal emotions that connect us to each other and to art, and which stretch from our present moment back through time.
Throughout her career, Peyton has been fascinated by artists and cultural luminaries from historical and contemporary eras alike, and her artmaking is driven by an openness and curiosity that seeks to approach and understand her subjects and their creative practices.
As Peyton describes her process:
I am listening to that person’s music, or I am seeing that person’s art, or just thinking about somebody a lot, or want to know more…. Like with a piece of music, I will just keep following it, listening to it. And then I want to make a picture of that person.