Provenance: Lefevre Gallery/The Artist's Estate Archive number X6771
Exhibitions: Edward Burra: Real and Surreal, James Hyman Gallery, London, 28 April - 27 May 2005.
Literature: Edward Burra: Real and Surreal, James Hyman Gallery, London, 2005, (cat. 8), illustrated (un-numbered).
The subject of this drawing may well have been a decadent fancy dress or toga party attended by the artist, although in Burra's hands an observed event becomes transformed into something even more fantastic. Burra playfully mocks the Three Graces of classical mythology, subverting their idealised beauty. Shown as three elegantly draped figures in togas, the subjects are nonetheless rendered absurd by the way their faces are composed from fruit and flowers as in a painting by Archimboldo. The drawing suggests, too, the parallels that may be drawn at this moment between Burra's work and that of the Surrealists as well as possessing echoes of Picasso's neo-Classicism and of his celebrated anatomy drawings.