Leon Kossoff

Anthony D'Offay

Leon Kossoff’s first solo show in London since 1984 trod some familiar territory: there were images of friends sitting, resting, and sleeping, and observations of the Kilburn area of northwest London, where Kossoff lives. Familiarity, though, was no cause for disappointment, since it is precisely this insistent reworking of subject matter that marks the vitality of Kossoff’s art.

Included in the show were a number of studies of Christchurch, Nicholas Hawks-moor’s impressive Baroque structure opposite Spitalfields market in East London. Kossoff grew up in this area, and although he has been aware of the church’s powerful presence since his youth, this is the first time that he has painted it. It is seen in close view and in three-quarter profile, the all-but-monochromatic rendering of the building’s mass broken chiefly by the leaves of a nearby tree which crowd up into the sky behind. The

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