Malcolm Morley, Aircraft on a Yellow Plane, 2014, oil on linen, 50 × 40".

Malcolm Morley

Sperone Westwater

Malcolm Morley, Aircraft on a Yellow Plane, 2014, oil on linen, 50 × 40".

The fifteen paintings in Malcolm Morley’s latest show at Sperone Westwater, like all of his finest works, snap, crackle, and pop. In this instance, the British-born, American-based artist activates these sensations from a mix of bold, vivid colors, rambunctious compositions, and themes that refer to aerial dogfights during World War II, cannon fire during the Battle of Waterloo, medieval warfare, and even Viking exploration. All told, Morley, at age eighty-four, has become one of our preeminent history painters.

Though he had a brief period when he painted abstract pictures—they were in his solo exhibition at the Kornblee Gallery in 1964—Morley has, for the most part, remained a representational artist. Lately, his subjects relate to his boyhood in wartime London. In addition to hearing bombs bursting and feeling walls quaking, he and his family became homeless after an

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