This text forms part of a series which presents a critical appraisal of the most innovative and controversial contemporary artists in the world. Each book contains an art historical appreciation of the artist's work and an interview wtih each artist, focusing on such themes as technique and working practice. Ronald Brooks Kitaj was born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1n 1932. His early education culminated in a period of travel as a merchant seaman, after which time he served in Europe in the United States Army (1956-1958). As a mature student Kitaj enrolled at the Ruskin School of Art, at Oxford University, before transferring in 1959 to the Royal College of Art in London. There he assumed the informal leadership of an exceptionally talented group of students, which was to become the Pop generation and included David Hockney, Allen Jones and Patrick Caufield. Kitaj's first solo exhibition was in London at Marlborough Fine Art in 1963, the gallery he continues to show with.
From student days he made his home in London, until the public fracas surrounding his Tate Gallery retrospective in 1994 and the sudden tragic death of his second wife, the painter Sandra Fisher, persuaded him to abandon England. In 1997 he moved to Los Angeles, where he continues to live and work. Now known simply as Kitaj, even to family and friends - he is an internationally acclaimed artist working at the height of his powers to give visual embodiment to a lifetime's observations and perceptions about the human condition. As the eminent critic John Russell has written in the "New York Times": "Kitaj is by a long way the most inventive of living representational painters". This monograph contains a wide-ranging interview with the artist, a selection of 60 of Kitaj's finest paintings, drawings and prints and previously unpublished documentary images from his personal archive.
Andrew Lambirth reviews art exhibitions and art books for The Royal Academy Magazine, The Spectator, Modern Painters and national newspapers. He has also curated exhibitions for many artists such as Peter Blake and Maggie Hambling.