Butterflies are recurrent motifs in Charles Blackman’s work. They flutter through his gardens, streets and Wonderland, winking at the idea of transformation. Indeed, butterflies - evolving from lowly caterpillars into flight - are a utopian ideal made real. It is true that our identity is in constant movement, and our hope that it will follow the butterfly.
In this exceptionally rare work, Charles Blackman uses the butterfly to “express the general by the particular… [and make] the particular express the general”. It comes from a series of etchings, perhaps created in preparation for his series ‘Alice’s Book of Butterflies’. Each imagining of the butterfly is different. In the idiosyncrasies of their wings, Blackman finds the dualities of the universe – something can be fragile and adaptable, mundane and magical, real and make-believe. In Butterfly and Flowers, he crafts a butterfly from a spider's web, overhung by two wicked eyes. The insect becomes the spider's web.
The butterfly has many symbolic connotations: hope, transformation, purity, life and death. The seventeenth-century Dutch naturalist Jan Swannerdam argued that their life stages were emblematic of life, purgatory and resurrection. In their beauty, is the nascent threat of death. Here, turned into an eternal form, we can contend with this idea before it flutters into the night.
For collectors of Modern art and Blackman collect this butterfly before it flutters away. It is rare and hand-signed by the artist himself, offering a peripheral view into his famed Alice in Wonderland series. We suggest catching a few, there’s only one of each in this menagerie.
Charles BLACKMAN (1928 - 2018)
'Butterfly and Flowers' c. 1985
Etching and aquatint on paper
Image Size: 13 x 17 cm
Dimensions: 56 x 38 cm
Signed: Signed Blackman lower right. Bears Blackman insignia bottom margin.
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Availability: in stock
Condition:Very Good: Describes a work of art’s image As New, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to paint surface. Image is in Fine condition.
© Charles Blackman / Copyright Agency 2022
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