One of today's most celebrated British artists. Acclaimed as a painter of people, her expressive work engages profoundly with the human condition in images of tough but lyrical figuration.
Maggi Hambling OBE, born in Suffolk in 1945, is a distinguished painter and sculptor who has become a household name in British art, most notably for her expressive portraits of cultural icons.
A graduate of the Slade School in1980, Hambling was the First Artist In Residence at the National Gallery and her portraits of George Melly and Max Wall are among her paintings that hang in the National Portrait Gallery.
In rave reviews for her 2006 sell-out exhibition Portraits of People and the Sea at Marlborough Fine Art and the monograph MAGGI HAMBLING THE WORKS and Conversations with Andrew Lambirth, Hambling was said to have “succeeded where Leonardo failed” (Brian Sewell, Evening Standard) and was referred to as “the female Bacon” (The Art Newspaper).
Hambling is a BACS artist with Bridgeman managing copyright clearance for reproduction on her behalf.
"Portraiture has always been central to her work... and she identifies not just the physical appearance of her sitter but what lies beneath it" George Melly
Though not painted from life, Hambling responded to this tragic star's predicament as he was hounded in the press, expressing not only his loneliness and vulnerability, but also his genius as a dancer with the surreal juxtaposition of the leaping legs.
"The scallop shell is the ancient symbol of pilgrimage, the sea and the cradle of Venus. In my sculpture, I have destroyed and re-created its form in an attempt to reflect the original and explosive power of Britten’s music."
‘Scallop’ is a 4 metre high steel sculpture of two interlocking scallop shells dedicated to the musician-composer Benjamin Britten for which Hambling was awarded the first Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture.
Maggi Hambling's series of North Sea Paintings began at the end of November 2002 during the period between the conception of Scallop and its execution. The work continues: "I draw the sea early each morning in much the same way as a pianist practises scales. Then I return to the studio and work with colour, trying to re-create the action of the waves as they break."
Hambling has recently made a film for the BBC's 'Made In England' project recording, diary-style, her relationship with the North Sea in Suffolk. You can watch it here.