Flora's Pics and Clips

From intriguing abstract prints to a mystifying Velazquez painting, discover Account Manager Flora's favourites from the archive 

1. What is your role at Bridgeman?

As Account Manager for non-editorial and product design clients in the UK, I look after all homeware and fashion agencies, plus stationery, greetings cards, interiors and print-on-demand business. I provide my clients with bespoke picture research for their design requirements, advise them on suitable images for product design briefs, and manage rights and copyright clearances. I draw up contracts, permission letters to museums and create licences. I attend trade shows and art events all over the UK, and also write about design trends. All that I do enables me to showcase the beautiful images in the archive which I’m surrounded by every day.

 

2. What do you love most about the job?

Working at a global fine art and cultural images library means there are always new artists to discover. Having studied Archaeology, Anthropology and Art History at Cambridge University, it is a pleasure to be able to use my design skill and knowledge for picture research. I enjoy working on design briefs for clients. The process has many layers, from curating a bespoke lightbox of images, advising clients on copyright issues, negotiating reproduction fees and contacting museums, to liaising with designers and studio managers on their plans, organising commissions, and it’s always fun to receive samples at the end of the process.

 

3. What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?

Many clients are not aware of the amazing breadth of the collections that we represent, from Christies, the Ashmolean Museum, Lucian Freud estate, the Royal Collection, to the British Library, the Smithsonian Institute, the Israel Museum, and Rue des Archives, the French photo library. Many clients in the product design sector wrongly assume that Bridgeman focusses on traditional fine art and have overlooked the vast range of social history photography, footage and contemporary images. I try to focus on Bridgeman Studio to showcase the remarkable contemporary artists that we represent.

 

Flora Spens, Account Manager
Flora Spens, Account Manager

 

 

In the Bay of Naples, 1980-82, Howard Hodgkin / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images
In the Bay of Naples, 1980-82, Howard Hodgkin / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images

 

 

The Bay of Naples

I find Howard Hodgkins’s In the Bay of Naples aesthetically beautiful. I love the vibrant, relaxing colours which remind me of a fabulous holiday in Naples a few years ago. The abstract Italian landscape appeals to my senses, it evokes music and eclectic sounds. The dynamic paintwork appears wonderfully free and explosive and has an ordered simplicity.

I find it interesting that Hodgkin always sought to make the picture an object and from 1970 onwards he moved away from canvas and used wooden supports such as drawing boards or door-frames. I adore the magical range of movements, simple shapes, and bold marks that contrast with complex fluid patterning in this painting. There’s something soothing and somewhat liberating about it.

 

 

Gerhard Richter

In this intriguing image, Gerhard Richter takes oil paint, layers it by hand onto an offset print, mounts it onto a white plastic board, and creates a beautiful abstract composition. I studied the work of Gerhard Richter as an undergraduate and have always found his minimal, photo-based artworks incredibly striking.

In particular these ‘memento mori’ subjects that explore illumination and colour saturation, are thought provoking. Richter’s unique interpretation of the Northern Baroque vanitas still life tradition highlights the fleeting nature of life. The tiny flicker of the candle’s flame is symbolic of life’s brevity.

 

Kerze II (B. 66), 1989 (colour litho with oil paint), Gerhard Richter / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images
Kerze II (B. 66), 1989 (colour litho with oil paint), Gerhard Richter / Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) 1891, Henri J.F. Rousseau (Le Douanier) / National Gallery, London, UK / Bridgeman Images
Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) 1891, Henri J.F. Rousseau (Le Douanier) / National Gallery, London, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Henri Rousseau

French painter Henri Rousseau’s art has always appealed to my interest in Post-Impressionism. The combination of colours in this jungle scene are amazing. It truly captures the imagination. The movement of the leaves in the tropical storm gives it a wonderful sense of drama. I like the way the canopy of trees curved over from the left side of the frame to the right gives the painting structure and balance. The bold red leaves on the right contrast perfectly and evenly with the tiger on the left, giving the artwork a sense of harmony. The deep dark green plant at the bottom conveys the underlying mood with lightning and drops of rain. I enjoy allowing my imagination to escape in this image as I search for the story.

Picasso and Stein

This is a fantastic piece of footage from the 1960s. Probably one of the most fascinating relationships in history, this film provides real insight into Picasso’s astonishing life and the influential Gertrude Stein, a true innovator. This clip sheds light on Picasso’s style, influences, Spain, the origins of Cubism, and pays tribute to Gertrude Stein’s importance at a turning point in his career. It was a great discovery, when I first started at Bridgeman, having always found the Cubist art movement to be a source of inspiration. I first studied Picasso’s work when my mother took me to exhibitions as a child, and his work has had a powerful impact on my perception of art.

 

Picasso and Gertrude Stein / Creative Arts Television / Bridgeman Footage
Picasso and Gertrude Stein / Creative Arts Television / Bridgeman Footage

 

 

Bash, 1971, Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (1924-2005) / © The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, UK / Bridgeman Images
Bash, 1971, Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (1924-2005) / © The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, UK / Bridgeman Images

 

 

 

 

Eduardo Paolozzi

I grew up with Eduardo Paolozzi prints and books at home, and greatly admired some sculptures that my father had commissioned by this talented Pop artist. When I left home and moved to London, my father gave me a stunning Paolozzi print like Bash for my new flat and ever since I have loved his work.

This graphic screenprint is full of fun. Diverse elements including an astronaut, a television, a robot, rockets, and Marilyn Monroe, remind me of my childhood. There are more clues pointing to Paolozzi’s interest in Surrealism, which I find fascinating. The repeated geometric patterns, ultra-vibrant colours and layers of compositions are amazing. I could stare at this for ages!

 

 

A Spanish Gentleman

The man’s identity and date of this work are often debated. It was thought to be Jose Nieto, Queen Mariana of Austria’s chamberlain. He also appears in Velazquez’s work Las Meninas. Painted around 1635-45 by Velazquez, this intelligent-looking individual peers out at us from the dark shadows, dressed in black apart from the white, crisp dash of his collar. He is very still, real and serious while the space in the great gallery around him is taken up by royal portraiture and the hustle and bustle of Flemish life. He gazes at the viewer with his mystifying stare, which I find especially compelling.

 

A Spanish Gentleman, Probably Jos Nieto, Chamberlain To Queen Mariana of Austria, Wife of Philip IV, mid 1640s, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez (1599-1660) / Apsley House, The Wellington Museum, London, UK / © Historic England / Bridgeman Images
A Spanish Gentleman, Probably Jos Nieto, Chamberlain To Queen Mariana of Austria, Wife of Philip IV, mid 1640s, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez (1599-1660) / Apsley House, The Wellington Museum, London, UK / © Historic England / Bridgeman Images

 

 

Find out more

On the blog: Jungle Fever: Design Trends for 2016

Contact Flora at flora.spens@bridgemanimages.com


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