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The Ivy: The Professionals

The Professionals

acrylic on panel
1990 
collection The Ivy

On the right hand side of The Ivy's main interior door is a wall in which are set ten painted panels, The Professionals. Each represents one of those pillars of modernism who, as well as blazing an artistic trail, had careers in medicine, banking, insurance etc., in many cases for the whole of their lives. This conjunction of a poetic and creative world with the well known illusion called 'real life' seems to epitomise The Ivy's special place among London restaurants.

The long vertical format of the panels is intended to evoke the cigarette cards that I collected as a child, which often showed sets of such worthies with similar iconographic trappings together with texts and numbers etc.

Two or three of them may well have visited The Ivy in its previous heyday. Each portrait contains a food reference (Eliot's daunting peach, Neruda's tomato etc.) and other enigmas. The castlist of ten consists of Henri Rousseau, Charles Ives, Joseph Conrad, Anton Chechov (if that is this year's spelling), T.S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Franz Kafka and Paul Gauguin.

Works & Texts (1992) page 169 

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