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C O U R S E 
Sexing the Canvas: Art and Gender
Jeanette Hoorn, The University of Melbourne
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Myth and Sexuality: Glyn Philpot's Oedipus
Notes taken on November 16, 2019 by Edward Tanguay
Glyn Philpot (1884-1937)
made a name for himself in Great Britain in 1910s and 1920s
fasionable society portrait painter
as art student became fascinated with painting by Italian Renaissance painters
Titian (1488-1576)
Paolo Veronese (1538-1588)
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506)
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543)
depth of contstruction and subtle palette
somber authority
subtleties of applying glazes over underpainting to build up richness and texture
1906, "we shouldn't strike out methods of our own"
1909, public reputation cemented with The Manuelito
1910 exhibition of the Modern Society of Portrait Painters
entered the world of London society
a dozen major portrait commissions per year
leading figures within British royalty and society
Sir Banister Flight Fletcher, architect
Sir Oswald Mosley, found of British Union of Fascists
John Henry Whitley, Speaker of the House of Commons
dubbed the Beau Brummell of painting
1778-1840, iconic figure in Regency England and for many years the arbiter of men's fashion
personal category of portraiture
found constant relaxation from the rigueur and forced politesse of portrait painting
devoted almost exclusively to male subjects
youthful optimism of callow young men
callow, adj. inexperienced and immature
jaded charm of broken-nose boxers
male African and African American sitters
only his sister Daisy were privy to his private artworks
maintained an extensive network of homosexual friends and acquaintances
Robert Ross (1869-1918) Canadian journalist, art critic and art dealer
early lover of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
open homosexuality
Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) and Charles Shannon (1863-1937)
one of the great gay couples of British art
Sir Philip Sassoon (1888-1939)
homosexual art collector
late 1920s
friends were worried that Philpot's art was becoming too indiscreet for comfort
forced to confront many contradictions his art presents
politically dangerous and sexually charged world
traveling to Berlin affected him profoundly
decadent nightlife
grimly satiric art
George Grosz (1893-1959)
Otto Dix (1891-1969)
glass studio apartment
reinvent himself
engaged with Picasso, surrealism
explored the erotically heightened milieus of the modern metropolis
his art was changing as much as his personal life
lilacs and blues
Leicester Galleries in London
decadent Berlin night life
intimations of a sexual fluidity
flaunted his hitherto unspoken homosexuality
new modes of expression are continually necessary
Scotsman Newspaper: "Glyn Philpot Goes Picasso"
portrait commissions dried up
increasingly beset financial problems
Thomas Craven (1888-1969)
American art critic from Kansas
anti-modernist and homophobe
1934 Modern Art, railed against the perceived decorative nature of modern art
the artist is losing his masculinity
two sexes are being merged into an androgynous third
Picasso is the most offensive element in modern art
Oedipus, 1932
today: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
strangely nubile and scantily clad Oedipus figure
nubile, adj. (of a girl or woman) sexually attractive
primative looking features
strong echoes of Oscar Wilde's tomb in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, 20th arrondissement
powerful grip on the painting's Oedipus figure
encapsulates the artist's struggle at this time with his sexuality
this was the artistic equivalent of coming out
suddenly Philpott's art no longer looked masculine or reassuringly old-masterish
it seemed feminized, or emasculated, to use Craven's term