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The Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2018: Figurative Art Today

"Orsi Cowell-Lehoczky SWA has been selected from almost 2,000 artists from across Europe and the UK to have their work shown in the 2018 Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today.


The Columbia Threadneedle Prize is Europe’s leading open competition for figurative and representational art and it is one of the most valuable art prizes in the United Kingdom.

The exhibited work, 'Juggling Queen'

or ‘This Tableau of Celebrities is Missing it’s Maecenas’ is Orsi's reinterpretation of the tableau paintings, where the 'rich and famous' are arranged in a posed way, a commissioned work by a patron of arts. Her intention was to raise questions around the ‘institution of patronage’ and the status of being a 'celebrity'. Are patrons making artists more reliant on populist themes for the sake of their attention? Integrity and a patronising patron. How to deal with a patron? Or perhaps sacrificing one’s lifestyle for ethical principles by turning down support, is the only way. The intention is to further mock the ‘group celebrity portrait’ genre with the artist's choice of ‘rich and famous’ being Queen Elizabeth I, a woman who is admired for her achievements and as a charismatic player in a very male dominated world. The other celebrity here is Picasso, who is thought to be the greatest and most successful avant-garde artist, but who had a very peculiar relationship with women and also with the art world. The non-present character is the Roman politician Gaius Maecenas, who is most famous for his support of young poets, his name becoming the eponym for a “patron of arts”. None of these celebrities are able to reimburse the artist's efforts, of course, nor she is able to answer the questions posed in this work.

(The painting is now sold)

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