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Media Release

-For Immediate Distribution-




15 Thackeray Street, Kensington

For more information:

Wende Elliott Barbara Djebali, S&D Gallery 15 Thackeray St.

0754-3816 976 Kensington, London W8 5ET 0044-2079377020

“Rose has in fact achieved something far more

impressive than the Hirsts and Emins by

demonstrating that something genuinely new can

still be created within the traditional idiom of

picture-making.” - Prof. Edward Chaney

“It is in this gap and the strange, almost impossible,

conversation between Piero della Francesca and

Franz Kafka that the work of William Rose

resonates. -Prof. Sean Gaston

“At times Rose conjures late Sickert, Beckmann,

Balthus, Morandi, Manet, and Cezanne, variously

inimitable and idiosyncratic painters who provide

an oblique benchmark for Rose’s inherent

individualism and privileged position on a post-

modern pluralist parapet. -Peter Davies

Twenty new works by William Balthazar Rose

will be exhibited at the seductively chic S& D

Gallery newly opened by Barbara Djebali. The

exhibition is entitled ‘The Painter-Cook and

Friends’ and begins September 10th at 15

Thackeray Street, Kensington, W8 5E T.

Balancing Act 2013

Raised in a family of painters and intellectuals, William Balthazar Rose was born in 1961 in Cambridge.

He studied in the USA, at the University of California and Princeton where he graduated in Art and in

Architecture successively. He gave up a lucrative career as an architect to follow a more poetic journey as

a painter, dividing his time between studios in England and Italy.

Rose’s work is collected by such celebrities as Michel Roux, Jr. and American artist Wayne Thiebaud,

and has been appreciated greatly by public and critics alike. His painting is hermetic, the forms are simple

and indefinite; notable is the influence he has received from artists such as Piero della Francesca, Ottone

Rosai and Giorgio Morandi in painting, and Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini in cinema.

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Critical Responses to the Art of William Balthazar Rose

Excerpt from ‘Tradition and Individual Talent’ by Edward Chaney

“Rose . . . has forged his own style which is now as recognizable as the style of any great master. What

might at first strike one as a mannerism becomes something one cannot quite imagine being any other

way. Even the hats, quasi-comical but quasi-pharaonic or Chinese or Balthusian have an inevitability

about them. A melancholy that is not, however, depressing pervades the whole surface of the canvas or

board. Timeless questions hanging in the air; something is about to be enacted but never quite carried out.

The figures and faces have interesting surfaces but are depicted without much detail, leaving the viewer

to fill in the missing visual and thus conceptual account In many of the pictures some sort of

interrogation is going on, reminding one of Kafka’s notion that we are always ‘before the law’ ('vor dem


For it is indeed among these artists and those successors

who worked into the middle of the twentieth century that

one finds the most relevant context in which to discuss the

work of William Rose, whose his artistic forebears include

not merely the internationally-recognized Giorgio de

Chirico, Carra and Morandi but the slightly later and less

widely known Felice Casorati, Mario Sironi, Ottone Rosai

and Massimo Campigli.1 These last provided some of the

ingredients that Rose has absorbed whilst developing his

own very distinctive style, a style that has thus evolved

outside the safer area of his native aesthetic environment.

This makes him something of an acquired taste where

Anglo-Saxony is concerned.”

“Hirst’s recent attempts to lend his oeuvre an air of ancient

authority (as in his diamond skull or golden calf) fails to

rival the integrity evident in any part of one of Rose’s

pictures. The quality of his paint surfaces makes Rose one

of those artists of whom it really can be said that it is

essential to see the pictures themselves rather than any form

of reproduction. . . Rego proceeds along the more vivid,

narrative style suggested by Balthus, Rose seems to have

followed the more meditative path.”

Edward Chaney is Professor of Fine and Decorative Arts at Southampton Solent University. He has

published A Traveller’s Companion to Florence, The Evolution of the Grand Tour, The Evolution of

English Collecting, Richard Eurich: 1903-1992: Visionary Artist and Inigo Jones’s ‘Roman Sketchbook’.

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Excerpt from ‘The Mysterious Iconography of William Balthazar Rose’ by Peter


“Rose is a knowing and self-critical artist, widely travelled and well informed. His subject-matter is familiar yet

disarmingly elusive and enigmatic”

“Typically the paint is lush, the colour rich and multivarious and the forms robust—not unlike Brangwyn and

Sickert from the past or Stephen Conroy, Bill Jacklin and Chris LeBrun from the present. The forms become

ciphers for stylistic paraphrase or experiment—groups of musicians, cooks or street congregations flattened into

compounded cubist silhouettes or subverted into disquieting de Chiricoesque juxtapositions.

“Utilising familiar and everyday

material Rose presents

mysterious scenarios that,

courtesy of an almost fortuitous

post-modern pluralist mix, touch

on surrealism, metaphysical

painting, realism, and

symbolism. The pictures do not

buy into the ephemeral mini-

trends of post-pop, post-feminist,

new image work but rather draw

inspiration from the past in order

to make sense of the present.”

“At times Rose conjures late

Sickert, Beckmann, Balthus,

Morandi, Manet, and Cezanne,

variously inimitable and

idiosyncratic painters who

provide an oblique benchmark

for Roses inherent individualism

and privileged position on a post-

modern pluralist parapet. Whose Dream is This?

Excerpt from “William Balthazar Rose” catalogue introduction, Brian Sinfield,

Gallery Director

“William Balthazar Rose’s vision culminates in work of remarkable creative power. His extraordinary symbolic

figurative paintings are not only striking at first encounter, but also deeply thought provoking. They have the

ability to disturb, and at the same time, to make one smile.

Excerpts from William Rose: Images from Bath and Italy by Jon Bennington,

Curator of the Victoria A rt Gallery, Bath, England

“He reserves his most passionate admiration for painters of the past such as Piero della Francesca,

Chardin, Corot, Cézanne and Morandi. He has even followed the Piero trail to the extent of settling in the

town of the artist’s birth, Sansepolcro, thereby subjecting himself to many of the same sensory stimuli as

the Renaissance master

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“Merely describing the painter’s methodology, however, will not enlighten the viewer as to the meaning

of these works. What are they about? We will all take away something different, and that is only right

and proper, but the lasting impression for me is one of a serene and fragile arcadia, an earthly foretaste of

a better place. Human protagonists, when they appear, are subservient to this sense of a higher order

apparent in their linear geometry –, albeit seasoned with a wry sense of humour.”

Excerpt from Transfigurazione e Tradizione by Sean Gaston

It is in this gap and the strange, almost impossible, conversation between Piero della Francesca and Franz Kafka

that the work of William Rose resonates. . . . For Rose, the painter is a cook. He paints and dwells in the old

Platonic battlefield of the artist as artisan and as an imitator, a mimic of the truth. The painter cooks and mixes

artifice (technique, skill, technology, tekhne) with imitation (representation, illusion, confusion, mimesis) and

threatens nature (phusis) itself. He cooks and he is cooked: taken away from the very thing that he reaches for,

without rest. The painter as cook can never choose between Arcadia and Gregor Samsa, between transfiguration

and tradition.

Dr Sean Gaston is author of numerous books including Starting with Derrida, Derrida and Disinterest,

Derrida, Literature and War, and Reading of Derrida’s of Grammatology. He is a member of Brunel

College, London, and has also written numerous essays amongst which Gregor Samsa in Arcadia: The

Paintings of William Rose features. The essay was published in Italian in the catalogue Sinfonia di

Cappelli under the title Transfigurazione e Tradizione (Transfiguration and Tradition).

Excerpts from L’Universo Gemino by Paolo Turcis:

“William Balthazar Rose’s painting is based on different artistic traditions, the result of an unlimited

figurative culture. From the genial cubist revolution to the lessons of the metaphysical, from the rarefied

atmospheres of Morandi’s still lives, to the harmonies of Renaissance art, the most intense artistic

experiences of the past centuries are revived in these paintings full of visual charm. An extraordinary

chromatic ability together with

refined technical skills make up

the artist’s highly remarkable

style. A sensitive man, Rose is

polyedric and eccentric, inclined

by nature to an intimate study of

reality, made up of pauses and


“A thick haze obscures the

backgrounds of certain

disquieting paintings. From

darkness emerge cooks grasping

cleavers, and mysterious solitary

tennis players. What has occurred

in Rose’s paintings?

“This poetic behavior expresses

ulterior meanings beyond the

animated chromatic backdrops. A

germinating, twin world emerges, speculative, but of inverted tones, similar to the negative of a

photograph. Enigmas one could say obscure prophecies that break up the idyllic woods…. the calm

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equilibrium recalling the aulic indifference of Piero becomes a remote reference, visionary

transfiguration, and ironic quotation.”

Paolo Turcis and Sean Gaston wrote accompanying essays for the exhibition catalogue Sinfonia di

Cappelli published by Edizioni LaLoggia in 2007. Paolo Turcis, Serena Burroni, and Federica Tiripelli

in addition provided analysis of specific paintings. The essay L’Universo Gemino (the Twin Universe)

outlined aspects of Rose’s Italian work, and made an attempt to locate his work within the context of

contemporary society. Paolo Turcis is an expert on the work of Alberto Sughi, and has assisted Giovanni

Faccenda (director of the civic museum of modern and contemporary art in Arezzo) in the cataloguing of

Sughi’s work. Above are excerpts from the essay L’Universo Gemino.

Excerpt from catalogue introduction by Ugo Agostinelli, director of Galleria


“I saw a painting, possibly from the ottocenesca in a shop window. Suddenly I was taken with it and

asked about its author. I realized that it wasn’t a work of a painter from the past but of a contemporary, an

English cosmopolitan artist who lived in Sansepolcro and was completely unknown as a painter.”

Galleria LaLoggia in Sansepolcro, directed by Ugo Agostinelli, has been responsible for several

important exhibitions in central Italy. These include solo shows of Alberto Sughi, Adriano Alunni, Mimmo

Rotella and Laura Fiumi in addition to the grand twentieth century retrospective Da DeChirico a Ferroni

curated by Giovanni Faccenda.

Excerpt from “But What Are Those Chefs Cooking? by Jonathan Saville

“It is a general truth that the artistic imagination is beyond explanation by causes and contexts.

Imagination is, in the deepest sense, the artist himself, his signature, his freedom. In this case, we are

confronted with an imagined world that is all the more bizarre because, at first, it seems merely a bit

enigmatic. It is only after you have looked at Rose’s paintings for a considerable while, without

distractions (for these pictures are uncannily silent, and the least outside noise can break their spell), that

there limitless strangeness reveals itself. . . No explanations are given: if the artist knows the answers, he

has taken care not to communicate his knowledge. . . . it is from the figure scenes that one gets the full

force of the ineffable mystery this artist can evoke. . . .

After a while, one begins to perceive a curious density lying not in the specific natural objects but in the

artist’s vision of them. The world Rose shows us is thick, dark, sculptural yet fluid, a kind of slowly

moving lava of being that has clotted into natural forms, but that seems capable of being stirred into

motion again, when it will gradually dissolve this scene and with its viscous eddies and upthrusts

compose another.”

The reductive treatment of forms and surfaces in Rose’s pictures-- another example of this odd, dark,

geometrized world --is the exquisite Fete Trumpeter he calls Pastoral, is reminiscent of Piero della

Francesca, and so is the static quality, as though time and action were suspended forever. But the artists

these paintings remind me of most are from 18th century Venice: Pietro Longhi, with his peculiarly

mysterious genre scenes, and Domenico Tiepolo, whose strange pictures of white-costumed clowns in

their tall smoke-stack hats may have given inspiration to Rose for his own preoccupation with chefs, and

here is the oddest (and most delightful) fact of all about William Balthazar Rose: that an artist in this day

and age should ignore all current fashions and take as his model Venetian art of the 18th Century, and

make something so wonderful of it!

Jonathan Saville wrote the review of the sellout exhibition at Thomas Babeor and Company Gallery in La

Jolla, California, where the entire collection of paintings was sold to the collection of Mason Phelps, a

director of the San Diego County Museum.

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