My favourite painting: Aurore Ankarcrona Hennessey

The director of art at The Arts Club in London chooses a picture from The Arts Club in London.

Aurore Ankarcrona Hennessey chooses Untitled by Albert Oehlen

‘I’ve chosen this work because it was acquired for The Arts Club’s permanent collection at a moment of total regeneration for the club, which was founded in 1863 by Charles Dickens and reimagined by new owners in 2011.

‘This painting presides over the brasserie, one of the best-loved areas. The ebb and flow of the room is mirrored in the painting’s beautiful sweeping arcs of colour. To me, it symbolises the inherently human desire for meaningful connection and interaction, something I know happens daily in the space it overlooks.’

Aurore Ankarcrona Hennessey is the director of art at The Arts Club, London W1.

Charlotte Mullins on Untitled by Albert Oehlen

In 1954, Albert Oehlen was born in Krefeld, Germany. At this time, across the Atlantic, the Abstract Expressionists were in full flow, whereas, at home, 22-year-old Gerhard Richter was set to revolutionise European painting by questioning the truth of imagery. Mr Oehlen continued their explorations by wrestling with the history of abstract painting and is now considered one of the most significant painters of his generation.

In his late sixties today, the artist continues to explore how marks are made and what, if anything, they signify. This Untitled painting from 2011 comes from his series ‘Fingermalerei’, literally ‘Finger Painting’. Begun in 2008, by 2011, the series stretched to nearly 50 canvases. Early examples had paint smeared and stroked over collaged and printed elements, but, in later works, such as this example, the paint was allowed to whirl and loop across the raw canvas.

In this work, flares of white paint seem to float behind skeins of purple and wisps of yellow. The painting seems to move in and out of focus, as if some is painted on glass and some behind, an illusion of depth despite the resolute abstract nature of the brushstrokes. Black lines whip across the surface, as energetic flurries of orange and magenta reach out to blue edges. The marks — applied directly with fingers — have a lyricism to them that makes the whole work flow like music, reminiscent of the late works of Cy Twombly and the jazz-infused canvases of Jack the Dripper.

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