The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
This is one of the 158 prints which the Van Abbemuseum owns by the British artist Barry Flanagan. These prints (etches and linoleum cuts) give a good idea of Flanagan’s versatility. The subjects are very diverse. In a number of prints Flanagan confronts the viewer with something or someone from his direct environment such as portraits of artists who are friends, household objects or landscapes he has seen. In other prints, he returns to the old masters such as Rembrandt, refers to the process of drawing itself or makes studies of animals.
A number of prints contain references to people or events in literature or the history of art. Flanagan studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London from 1964 to 1966. He reacted to the traditional views on sculpture which were being taught at the time with a number of his fellow students including Long, Fulton and Gilbert & George, a new generation of artists who were looking for new possibilities for sculpture. Flanagan did this in a playful, investigative way. He used unconventional materials such as jute and sand. The process of making a work was central for him and he allowed himself to be guided by the specific character of a material or technique. This applies to his graphic work as well as his sculptures. In his graphic work the emphasis is on the line; the line as a boundary or defining element.
Flanagan usually made little use of shape. A landscape, animal or situation was portrayed with a few accurate lines. The attention and sensitivity with which he did this give the work a poetic strength. In fact, Flanagan’s source is life itself, rich and inexhaustible. He made use of whatever was available. His work is at the same time serious and light-hearted. His drawings and graphic work often have the character of sketches and look like notes rather than considered works of art. Even when he used heavy and “serious” materials such as bronze or stone, his sculptures have the same light-hearted vitality. The theme of the hare, a symbol of the lively and unexpected aspects of life, regularly occurs in Flanagan’s work.
Does this page contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.