Born in Suffolk, Hambling graduated from the Slade School of Art in 1969. Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery collection include Dorothy Hodgkin and George Melly. In 1995 she won the Jerwood Prize for Painting jointly with Patrick Caulfield. She is known both for her bold handling of paint and public sculptures including Oscar Wilde (1998), situated nearby in Adelaide Street and Scallop (for Benajmin Britten, 2003) on Aldeburgh beach, Suffolk. Maggi Hambling studied at Camberwell (1964–1967), with Cedric Morris and Lett Haines, and at the Slade (1967–1969). She was the first Artist in Residence at the National Gallery in 1980–1981 and is known for her expressive response to her sitters and to the natural world. In this self-portrait, the artist has painted herself with three arms to hold her three essentials of life: a cigarette, a drink and a paintbrush. All of the items in the portrait have a personal significance to the artist who painted the portrait when her love life was 'in a muddle': spiritually she was in love with the person who made the teapot, physically she was in love with the person we glimpse in the lower right-hand corner of the unprimed canvas.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
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