A recurrent myth in art history is that of the painting which looks so real that it fools its onlookers into thinking it is the real thing. Since the development of photography, realistic painted images are often described as "photographic". This painting by Andrew Grassie is so faithful to perceived reality that it can be mistaken for one of the photographs from which he works.
This work shows the Pillared Room at 10 Downing Street. The paintings hanging on the walls were painted to commemorate the Coronation in 1953 and were displayed in Downing Street to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002. Lying on the floor is a dismantled table, suggesting this view was captured at a moment just before or after a reception. Another of Grassie's works in the Collection is his view of the Government Art Collection sculpture store. Taken together, both paintings contrast the display of art in grand settings with the banality of their storage when not displayed.
Andrew Grassie was born in Edinburgh. He studied painting in London at St Martin’s School of Art (1984-1988) and then at the Royal College of Art (1988-1990). In the late 1990s and early 2000s he made paintings that resembled photographs, including tempera on paper studies of the gallery interiors in which they were exhibited. He won the Special Merit Award at the John Moores Painting Prize in 2004 and had a solo exhibition at Tate Britain, part of the Art Now series, in 2005. He has shown his work in numerous group exhibitions across Britain and Europe; in addition to recent solo exhibitions in London, Edinburgh, Cologne, Berlin and New York. He currently lives and works in London.
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