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Unseen works by modern British artist John Virtue displayed in iconic Fortnum & Mason
John Virtue, Landscape No.43 (1986-87), black ink, shellac, gouache on paper, laid on board, 147 x 220 cm, Courtesy of Albion Barn.


LONDON.- This September, Fortnum & Mason will be continuing their annual artistic collaboration Fortnum’s X Frank 2018 (FXF18), 10th September – 20th October, with eminent art collector, Frank Cohen, presenting a rich body of work by British landscape artist, John Virtue.

John Virtue is one of the most distinguished painters working today in the United Kingdom. He was awarded the post of Associate Artist at the National Gallery and this will be the first time since his 2005 National Gallery show that such an extensive oeuvre of works has been seen in London.

Fortnum’s X Frank 2018 (FXF18) will see over 60 large-scale monochromatic works by Virtue placed across the floors of the luxury London store, in the heart of Piccadilly.

Having trained at the Slade School of Fine Art and now residing in North Norfolk, Virtue’s practice is continually informed by natural environments and his geographical moving from Lancashire to Devon, to London, and now to Norfolk. The artist’s idiosyncratic black and white canvases, created using a mix of white acrylic paint, black ink and shellac, will provide a provocative juxtaposition among the iconic Fortnum’s colours and gilt. The works chosen include abstract landscapes that challenge the viewer to see beyond the paint to make out landmark sites, such as London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye and The Gherkin.

Fortnum’s X Frank 2018 (FXF18) is curated by Robert Upstone, former Director at the Fine Art Society, which he joined in 2010 from Tate Britain where he was Head of Modern British Art.

This month-long collaboration takes place as the global art world descends on London for the prestigious Frieze Art Fair. Fortnum’s has a long-standing commitment to the arts, supporting generations of artists and designers through its connections with the Royal Academy, the Royal College of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art and the Bloomsbury Group, alongside Fortnum’s own distinguished collection.

Fortnum’s X Frank 2018 (FXF18) will coincide with London Design Festival, culminating in a diverse programme of cultural celebrations and content moments in-store throughout September.

“Fortnum & Mason is about creating a sense of pleasure, and while we focus on things that taste amazing, art enhances the sensory pleasure of the store and creates an intellectual pleasure for those that enjoy it. With Frank's astute collectors eye and Robert's impeccable curation, we are able to challenge and inspire our customers as they move throughout the store. As a British, family business, it seems a perfect fit to have John Virtue's incredible landscapes and seascapes exhibited in our home throughout one of the busiest months in London's art calendar.” Ewan Venters, CEO Fortnum & Mason

“Virtue was taught by Frank Auerbach in the late 1960’s before leaving painting entirely for many years. It was only in his early thirties that he returned to drawing and painting, producing masterpieces over the past four decades that have continually been underappreciated. I am a collector of his work and always admired the energy and power of his expansive landscapes and surging seascapes. In a time when the whole world has gone Contemporary mad, I was keen to steady the boat and bring these works to the foreground.” Frank Cohen, Art Collector.





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