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Artist’s recollection of the painting (July 2014): 'The portrait of Desmond was made in London, which I painted from life in the summer of 1997 in one two hour session. For me, it was the most complete portrait I have ever painted in a single sitting. At the time I was painting many full-length black portraits and nudes from life, which were paintings that involved numerous sittings and the often taken up to one year to complete. I saw each of the 50 or so 5 hours sessions as a revelation of the act of seeing. I was investigating in oil paint all the nuances of colour that there are in all different types of black skin, not dissimilar to the way Lucien Freud or Euan Uglow both explored white skin. It may surprise people that when I painted black portraits I never used black of brown oil paint in my palette, in fact, I have always used the same colours in my palette to paint both white and black people.
The sitter in the portrait is of the artist and very old friend of mine, Desmond Haughton. Desmond Haughton has painted a modern portrait of Olaudah Equiano for the Liverpool Museum. Haughton had to use the engraving from Equiano own book because as yet we are still not sure if the beautiful RAMM images really a portrait of him.'
Des (Desmond Haughton, b.1968)
oil on canvas
H 57.5 x W 50 cm