An autodidact, and a crucial connecting figure between Surrealism and Pop art, William N. Copley (b. 1919, New York; d. 1996 Key West, Florida) developed a unique style and iconography that made use of cartoonlike motifs––reduced, simple figures depicted with thick black brushstrokes and flat colouring, most often men in bowler hats and female nudes––to critically and humorously explore topics including nationalism, eroticism, and art history. The show brings together paintings created between 1956 and 1958: cutout and silhouetted paintings in bold colors that demonstrate his interests in history, art history, and the expatriate experience of France. Motifs include the guillotine, Édouard Manet’s 1863 painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass), and the Dachshund, in styles that meld French Surrealism and American Pop art.
- William N. Copley, Longpont, 1957 Collection of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Gift of Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection.