R. B. Kitaj, Arcades (After Walter Benjamin), 1972–74, oil on canvas, 60 × 60".

R. B. Kitaj

Marlborough Contemporary | New York

R. B. Kitaj, Arcades (After Walter Benjamin), 1972–74, oil on canvas, 60 × 60".

In 1994, the Tate Gallery in London mounted an immense survey of R. B. Kitaj’s work. Intended to be the American-born painter’s English apotheosis, it resulted instead in the brutal rejection of his achievement. And then Kitaj’s wife, the American painter Sandra Fisher, died. For Kitaj, she incarnated the indwelling Shekinah, the Kabbalistic personification of the female nature of God. In the current exhibition, titled “The Exile at Home,” she was present in works such as I Married an Angel, 1990, and Los Angeles No. 16 (Bed), 2001–2002. These works also reveal a folkloric mode found, say, in Judaica such as the Haggadah (the Passover book that sets the order of the service) or the decoration (rainbow-tipped angel wings, geometrical ornaments derived from six-pointed stars, and the like) on ketubot, or marriage contracts. After the Tate show, Kitaj returned home a somewhat broken

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