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To Tell Them Where It's Got To (2013)

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

oil on canvas

The Box, Plymouth

To Tell Them Where It's Got To (2013)





Oil, Canvas

Physical Object Description:

Portrait of woman turned away from the viewer (profile perdu).


60 x 55 cm

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society with the additional support of Corvi-Mora, London, 2013

Ownership history:

Purchased from the Corvi-Mora Gallery, London by the Contemporary Art Society, with the additional support from Corvi-Mora, London, 2013; presented to Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, now The Box, 2013
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye figurative paintings are drawn from her own fictitious set of characters and allude to traditions of European portraiture. Her painting has been suggested as ‘a portrait of portraiture itself’, at once referencing and entirely evading the traditions of canonical portraiture as seen in the work of Reynolds, Northcote and Julian Opie. To Tell Them Where It’s Got To, 2013, shown at The Arsenale, Venice Biennale (2013) is a key work in showing the transition in Yiadom-Boakye’s from the confrontational pose to the figure turned away from the viewer.

The majority of the collection at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery is works by English artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. As the birthplace of Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘traditional’ portraiture forms a rich seam running through their collection. The gallery also holds paintings by the Camden Town Group and Walter Sickert, a key member of the group, is a particular influence for Yiadom-Boakye. She has said she admires his ability to describe a lot with very little, that ‘his markmaking often appears sparse and rough, graduating the tone from dark to light, working from the darkness at the back of the painting forwards into the light. Dark brown staining and dull dirty pinks become radiant.’

Contemporary Art Society, Acquisitions & Art Consultancy, London, 2014

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