Floundering Vessel with Blue Whales and Viking Ships

Malcolm Morley (British, born 1931)

1998. Oil on canvas, 102 x 81 1/4". 2000.005

A quintessential postmodern artist, Malcolm Morley is credited with founding two contemporary art movements: Photorealism in the 1960s and neo-Expressionism in the 1980s. He traces his career-long fascination with boats to the loss of a favorite model ship when his childhood home was bombed in London in World War II. To create this enigmatic and playful work, Morley subjected a model boat to a two-hour soaking in the shower so he could pull it into the shape painted here. Many of Morley’s works, like this one, exude a sense of fun and irrepressible vitality.

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