seated woman in profile from PL in LRQ, with long reddish brown hair wearing a blue, purple and green scarf on her head and a short sleeves blouse with blue, olive, green and rust blocks of color; radiator, LLC; large window with view of blocky, simplified buildings in shades of pink, green, dark red, blue, grey and tan; blue-green walls

%C2%A9 Elizabeth Osborne

Woman in Belgravia Hotel, 1969

In several figural works of the 1960s and beyond Osborne used architectural space to highlight states of being and relationships between figures. These pictures are among her most accomplished and sensitive observations of the human form against abstract space. They reveal her close scrutiny of modernist styles during the 1960s, including minimalism and color field painting but integrate the figure seamlessly into rigorously designed, interlocking spaces. Woman in Belgravia Hotel poses a model before Osborne’s open studio window. She wears an outfit composed of flat, unmodulated blocks of color that pick up the rectangular rhythms distributed throughout the view–from the open window itself to rooftops, distant windows, negative space formed by the bright urban opening to the sky, and radiator grill within the room. The woman rests in quiet contemplation, her serene internal state possibly projected in the balance of forms beyond her seat.

In a 1967 article, Osborne acknowledged that “an awareness of the field of architecture helped her as a painter,” particularly its “rationality”. Osborne’s eye for the order and open, liberating qualities of modernist architecture bears an uncommon sensitivity. This also characterized the photographs of architectural modernism’s most perceptive interpreters of the language of building, Ezra Stoller. A comparison between Stoller’s view from the inside of Marcel Breuer’s Gilbert Tompkins House (1945-46) and Osborne’s Woman in Belgravia Hotel emphasizes this affinity and ability to integrate the body and architecture in harmonious wholes. This sense of purposeful aesthetic control plays out in Osborne’s paintings, especially the most emphatically abstract, which make architectural elements the motif, subject, structure and framing devices.

Details
Title
Woman in Belgravia Hotel
Artist Life
born 1936
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2017.51
Curator Approved

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seated woman in profile from PL in LRQ, with long reddish brown hair wearing a blue, purple and green scarf on her head and a short sleeves blouse with blue, olive, green and rust blocks of color; radiator, LLC; large window with view of blocky, simplified buildings in shades of pink, green, dark red, blue, grey and tan; blue-green walls

© Elizabeth Osborne

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