R.B. Kitaj’s painting “The Autumn of Central Paris” is a figurative piece that portrays the philosopher Walter Benjamin as both the orchestrator and victim of historical madness. The setting is under the canopy of a Parisian café, and it depicts other cultural figures in the background. The artist used expressive techniques, art historical references, and sexuality to depict contemporary life.
In this artwork, Kitaj considered Benjamin as the ultimate diasporist or one who understands hybridity and exile, which can be seen in his footnotes appended to the painting. This work showcases Kitaj’s meticulous research on subject matter besides employing paint expressively while alluding to different visual sources. Notably, Kitaj’s approach fuses American Pop art with European sensibilities by combining vibrant colors with intricate lines to weave together fragmented images.
The painting resides in Mrs.Susan Lloyd’s private collection located in New York City. Lovers of art can appreciate this thought-provoking yet playful piece for its elements of social critique grounded in cultural history that are dispersed throughout its composition’s numerous layers.