David Royle
1992 - Beardsmore Gallery

   "Le  Déjeuner sur L'Herbe" Series
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe I 1990  214 x 152cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe II 1990 183 x 137cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe III 1990  137 x 183cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe V 1991  81 x 168cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe IV 1990 183 x 137cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe VI 1991 168 x 132cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe VII 1991 130 x 214cm
Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe VIII 1991 214 x 152cm
Note on the "Déjeuner" series
Early in 1990, in a sketchbook, I made some exploratory drawings based on Manet's “Le  Déjeuner sur L'Herbe". At the time I had other paintings in progress and I did not return to these notes until the early spring when I developed them into larger coloured drawings. The first canvas was started in April and was later reworked, in June, after I had completed nos. II, III and IV of what had now clearly become a series. In the summer I switched medium and made a set of four etchings which accompany and augment the canvasses. The final four paintings followed on continuously, ending with no. VIII in June 1991.

The initial sketchbook drawings had no grand plan and no deliberate sense of consequence, nor had the Manet painting been an obsession: I had recently, by chance, bought a book which contained a particularly good reproduction of the work, that is all. Looking back, thinking about the eight paintings, the etchings and all the drawings and watercolours, the Manet seems to have worked as a catalyst, exciting and fusing ideas about picture structure, scale, colour and imagery that had been unconnectedly at the back of my visual mind for some time. It is as though working from "found" imagery invited an increased sense of visual play into the inventive mixture, allowing new combinations to form.

David Royle, January 1992