Painting a Portrait to Life: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's Kingfisher

London | 7 March 2024

Presented in partnership with United Kingdom Sotheby's International Realty, we delve into Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's enrapturing portrait, Kingfisher, with Sotheby's Contemporary specialists Lisa Stevenson and Aleksandra Ziemiszewska.

Her portraits are instilled with an unparalleled auratic and mesmerising sensibility, radiating the unique magic of her artistry. The present work, executed in 2011, is one such triumphant example, exemplary of the artist's exceptional painterly skill. Kingfisher offers a striking depiction of a woman whose gaze, as though captured mid-thought, captures the viewer and draws them in. Plumes of bird feathers around her neck are punctuated by accents of green and blue, all set against a mahogany backdrop heightened with glowing golden hues. In Polynesia, where the bird is considered sacred, the Kingfisher signifies control over the seas. Yiadom-Boakye’s Kingfisher similarly demands control over the canvas; a glorious example of the artist’s principal practices, the present work oscillates between modern and traditional influences, inviting the viewer to engage with the long standing legacy of portraiture within the canon of Western art history.

This spellbinding portrait is a star lot of the Modern & Contemporary Day Auction taking place at Sotheby's London on 7 March as part of The London Sales.

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