Candid portraits of the artist Kitaj at work

Marco Livingstone, art historian and friend of Kitaj, recorded these personal moments at the artist's studio in California
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Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

1 / 6 Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

2 / 6 Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

3 / 6 Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

4 / 6 Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

5 / 6 Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA

6 / 6 Marco Livingstone, Kitaj in his studio (2001), Los Angeles, USA


This series of previously unpublished candid portraits of the artist R.B. Kitaj, taken by his long-term friend, the art historian and independent curator Marco Livingstone in 2001, shows the artist at work in his studio in California.

'Around Kitaj it was difficult to ever let one's guard down completely, you were instructed to arrive for tea at, say 4 on the dot, and it was always obvious when your audience with him had come to a close,' explains Livingstone of his structured visits to Kitaj's home. 'Only on my last visit to him in Los Angeles, did I find him in a more relaxed mood that dispensed with the clock-watching.'

Livingstone and Kitaj first met in April 1976, and their friendship went on to span over 20 years, until the artist's suicide in 2007 - just short of his 75th birthday. Livingstone is the author of the final edition monograph, Kitaj (Phaidon Press), based on an extraordinary series of interviews and letters between the artist and author.

Not fond of spontaneous recorded conversation, Kitaj preferred the art of letter writing; 'the ability to consider his replies in his own time allowed him to be more precise in expressing his meaning', reveals Livingstone.

As Kitaj explained to Livingstone: 'Even if you wrote down exactly the words that I said, they might not have been exactly what I meant.'

 

Read the full article: Knowing Kitaj: Marco Livingstone on his close friendship with the artist.


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