Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of John Minton (1917 - 57) 1950s

Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-80)

Portrait of John Minton (1917 - 57), Sir Cecil Beaton
Oil on canvas
20th Century
This remarkable portrait shows that Beaton was capable of intensity and perception as well as superficiality and glitz, and he captures the deep melancholy that underlay Mintonís gregariousness and charm.

The subject, John Minton was one of the foremost artists of the nineteen forties but his figurative style, often concentrated on virile depictions of the male figure in exertion or repose such as The Horseguards in the their dressing rooms, Whitehall (Tate Britain) was swept out of fashion by the advent of Abstract Expressionism from America in the fifties. This sudden professional eclipse, combined with unhappiness in his private life led to depression and a preoccupation with death, particularly the death of James Dean with whom he identified. His last, unfinished work is dominated by this theme, begun as a study of a car crash he witnessed in Spain but today in the collection of the Tate under the title Composition: Death of James Dean.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.