Lilith is the name of a figure from Hebrew folklore to whom Kiefer referred in many of his works of the 1980s and 1990s. Several different stories are attached to Lilith, but she has been represented most commonly as the first wife of Adam who refused to join him in the Garden of Eden and instead went to live on the edge of the Red Sea. Lilith has been depicted as a demon and also as a siren-like figure who leads men into dangerous situations with her beauty and especially her long, flowing hair. Kiefer has explained his choice of title with reference to Lilith’s association with destruction, stating in 2011 that as he painted this work he ‘thought of … Lilith, who lives in the abandoned ruins. And I asked myself: what does this city say to me? And I thought of the end of the city, its dispersal into ashes, on the circular movement of all time’. This idea of destruction is also evoked by Kiefer’s violent reworking and burning of his canvases.
Alice Ernestine Prin (2 October 1901 – 29 April 1953), nicknamed the Queen of Montparnasse, and often known as Kiki de Montparnasse, was a French artist's model, literary muse, nightclub singer, actress, memoirist, and painter. She flourished in, and helped define, the liberated culture of Paris in the 1920s.
On a Civil Aviation Christmas card in 1983 Emett described the flying-machine illustrated in T03940 , which he called, ‘The Featherstone-Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark II Gentleman's Flying Machine':
'The machine is constructed of cane windbreaks from little-known French vineyards and the wings are supported upon willowy saplings; all major control surfaces are covered with wild silk, suitably tamed. Power is provided by a Wandering Hot-Air Brazier and a swarm of underslung silver butterflies provide a trivial lift to the nose section. There is a full-time Auto-Pilot FRED (Freehand Remembering Empirical Doodling system) and the co-pilot Rover in a combined pet-pod and windsock. The rudder provides a First Class dickey-seat for Cirro Cumulus II, the pilot's personal pleasure cat. Main wheels retract into semi-buoyant shrimplike nacelles and ‘Eiffle' Altimeter gives those three heights every well-found pilot should know - Canal Level, OUR CHIMNEY and Milky Way.'
This painting was originally part of a larger work entitled The Gutter. It formed the right side of the canvas, which was divided after the Second World War, having been exhibited in the USA and damaged. Roberts explained that he had made the unusually large picture after hearing that artists were being commissioned to produce work for a new **** or P&O ocean liner, and hoping to be considered for the project. The subject is characteristic of Roberts’s depictions of city life, especially working-class protagonists.
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