Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Adonis Art : London's only gay male art gallery

To find male figurative art works in London, like paintings, watercolors, drawings, pastels or sculpture, we suggest you visit Adonis Art gallery. Their website mentions they ''specialize in fine antique and contemporary works of art that celebrate the male body in all of its strength and beauty.”

Adonis Art gallery website current cover (detail)

This gallery, currently in Earls Court since end 1996, was founded by Stewart Hardman one year before in a small space on Kings Road. When he opened it, the gallery was specialized in antique male bronze statues and old drawings of male figures, then a few painters focussing on the male body asked him to represent them, as there were not many places in the world to display male figurative art. Hence the move to a larger space which allowed him to show more contemporary works together with past artists' pièces.

The story behind the creation of the gallery is amazing! Steward Hardman, as he tells the story in the 'Art of Man' magazine, explains that he was trying to find a 'niche market' that suited him. And it was during his almost last holiday trip (as he had no more money from his antique's business which was going very bad!) that he found his idea!
He went to Egypt, sailing on a felucca on the Nile with a handsome young boatman, and seeing him in his brilliant white jellaba standing on the prowl, with the sun shining through, silhouetting his superb physique, he thought:  'Why does no one deal in male art ?' He went back to London, borrowed money, and opened his gallery! 

Stewart Hardman organizes many exhibitions (he did more than 150 so far!), and represents some famous artists like Cornelius McCarthy Andrew Potter, Miles Anthony. Not much sculptures, but you can still find some terracotta works, pewter, acrylic resin, bronze resin, and real bronze. Either from contemporary artists, or from last century.

As an example, the two sculptures below (for sale at the gallery), on the same theme of the 'Fisher Boy'. The first one is from the French Francisque Joseph Duret (1804-1865), who is the son of another French sculptor (François-Joseph Duret).

Fisher boy, by Francisque Joseph Duret (1804-1865)

And the second one is from Louis Edmond Laforesterie, born in Port au Prince (Haiti) in 1837, who pursued sculpture training in Paris, where he died in 1894. Adonis website mentions that little of his work can can be seen today, but Laforesterie did a large white marble statue called 'La Vigne et l'Ormeau' (a Bacchante) which sold for close to 100.000 USD at Sotheby's in 2001. (Picture of it can be seen here.)

'Fisher boy' by Louis Edmond Laforesterie - Paris 1875
Sources :
- Adonis Art Gallery. Here is the Adonis Art gallery website.
- David Jarrett article in the Archive, N.11, Autum & Winter 2003, from Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay Art. David Jarrett is specialized in male photography. Discover his works in his website.
- Interview of Stewart Hardman in 'The Art of Man', (2nd edition - Fall 2010) quarterly magazine published by Firehouse Publishing, specialized in male figurative art. This is the 'Art of Man magazine website.'