Peter de Francia Paintings: A 90th Birthday Retrospective

6 January - 5 February 2011

James Hyman Fine Art is proud to present our fourth solo exhibition of the work of one of Britain's most powerful painters and draftsmen. This major exhibition of paintings is timed to coincide with Peter de Francia's 90th birthday this January. 

This is the first large-scale exhibition of de Francia's work since his solo show at Tate Britain in 2006; The Ship of Fools: Peter de Francia in Focus at Pallant House in 2007-08, and his drawing retrospective, Modern Myths, which toured the United States in 2008.

The inclusion in 2008 of de Francia's early masterpiece, The Execution of Beloyannis (1953) in the publication 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die has also reinforced de Francia's international stature and this remarkable painting is the starting point of the exhibition at James Hyman Fine Art. 

James Hyman Fine Art will present paintings from the early 1950s onwards, many of which have never been shown before. It includes oil studies of de Francia's most famous painting, The Bombing of Sakiet (1958), which was until recently on show at Tate Modern, as well as a range of later works. 

At the centre of the exhibition is a huge recently rediscovered first version of The Bombing of Sakiet.

The exhibition suggests not only de Francia's allegiance to painters such as Goya Guttuso, Beckmann and Picasso but also something more gentle. Political statements coexist with scenes of domestic life, leisure and conviviality, often set in rural France.

Whether de Francia's subjects are real or imagined, whether he uses the language of myth or allegory, what always comes through is the artist's engagement with people, above all his intense humanity. Yes, there is horror at man's treatment of man, but there are also intimations of something better - a world of friendship and camaraderie, of humour and simple pleasures. 

De Francia is represented by James Hyman Fine Art, London