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I Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race

Derek Boshier

I Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race

© Derek Boshier
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ArtistDerek Boshier (Born 1937)
TitleI Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race
Date1962
MediumOil on canvas
ProvenanceSold through Sotheby's, London, on 2 December 1976 (Lot 368); from which sale purchased by the Department of the Environment
Exhibition"Pop Art & Politics in the 1960s", Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 18/8/2007 - 25/2/2008; "Government Art Collection: At Work", Whitechapel Gallery, London, 3/6 - 4/9/201; "Revealed: Government Art Collection", Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 17/11/2012-24/2/2013 & Ulster Museum, Belfast 15/3-9/6/2013.
Dimensionsheight: 241.00 cm, width: 174.00 cm
InscriptionSigned verso
AcquisitionPurchased from Sotheby's, 2 December 1976
LocationUK, London, Government Art Collection
GAC number12661
 

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A perfectly spherical moon provides the central focus of Derek Boshier's classic British Pop Art painting of the 1960s. Intersected below is the Earth, its land masses dripping ominously like blood. Amid the clouds are Boshier's 'heroes', all of whom died tragically, either by assassination or accident.

A half portrait of Lord Horatio Nelson in military dress and eye patch surveys the scene. Nearby, is the bearded figure of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, who was in office during the American Civil War. The spectacled face of Buddy Holly, the American rock and roll singer, stares out from the clouds. Floating below, inside a white space is Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut and national hero who was the first human to enter space and to orbit the Earth in 1961. Boshier was enthralled by the imagery of the American-Soviet 'space race' - the ideological battle for space exploration that dominated American and Soviet politics for two decades. Painted in 1962, 'I Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race' captures the spirit of the race to get humans to the moon.

Derek Boshier was born in Portsmouth and studied at Yeovil School of Art and in the early 1960s, at the Royal College of Art, where he was one of a younger generation of British Pop artists. He has exhibited widely and is well represented in British public collections. Major group exhibitions of his work were held at Tate Britain in 2004 and at the National Portrait Gallery in 2007. Today Boshier lives and works in Los Angeles.

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