The Major Periods

1962 – 1965: Early Pop Paintings

As one of the original wave of Pop artists Gerald Laing produced some of the most significant works of the British Pop movement. His paintings reproduced images of popular heroes such as starlets, film stars, drag racers, astronauts and skydivers. His 1962 portrait of Brigitte Bardot is an iconic work of the period and regularly features in major Pop retrospectives alongside Lincoln Convertible from 1964, a commemoration of the assassination of JFK.

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1965 – 1970: Utopian Abstract Sculpture

From 1965 Gerald Laing's painting evolved into abstract sculptures using the techniques and materials of car customisation - lacquering, spray-painting and chrome-plating on metal.

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1970 – 1973: Sculpture In The Landscape

A move from New York to the Highlands of Scotland in 1970 saw Gerald Laing's sculpture respond to the beauty, roughness and power of the surrounding landscape.

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1972 – 2010: Public Sculpture

Public sculptures include the the Bank Station Dragons; the Rugby Sculptures at Twickenham Stadium; the Cricketer at Lords; the Highland Clearances Memorial in Helmsdale, Sutherland and Axis Mundi in Edinburgh.

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1973 – 1980: Galina Series

Inspired by the figurative sculpture of the First World War Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, in 1973 Gerald Laing began to model in clay and cast in bronze. The Galina Series and associated sculptures were his first works from this period.

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1982 – 2007: Portrait Heads

Gerald Laing's portrait work includes heads and reliefs of Luciano Pavarotti, Andy Warhol, Paul Getty and Sam Wanamaker.

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2002 – 2005: War Paintings

The Iraq war and the publication of images of torture at Abu Ghraib prison drew Gerald Laing back to painting for the first time in over three decades. The War Paintings series sees the starlets and all-American heroes of his early paintings take on new, more sinister roles.

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2004 – 2011: New Paintings

Returning to the style and subject matter of his early pop art paintings, Gerald Laing's latest paintings feature media images of contemporary celebrities including Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss.

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Search the Catalogue

Cr011 starletii 35tr

Starlet II

Catalogue No. 14

Artist's CR 011


New York

Oil on canvas

50 x 20 inches / 127 x 51 cm

Collection: Private collection

  • (The Fine Art Society)
  • Private collection

These paintings [Starlet I and Starlet II], the precursors of a series of figure studies, are more accomplished solutions of the same problems which were posed earlier in that first half-tone painting, Lolita Through the Keyhole. They combine a more methodical and confident use of dots combined with the area of flat colour which were present from Navy Pilot onwards. The spacial ambiguity of the flat colour in conjunction with the half-tone areas seems more marked where the subject is a news-naked figure.

It is interesting to note that these first figure-paintings were done at a time when I was dutifully, as part of my academic training, daily during term time, painting from the nude model. Discoveries made while executing these purely ‘academic’ studies were of course of enormous value when approachhing the half-tone figures.

Starlets I and II were produced at a time of near-monastic seclusion in N.Y., partially self-inflicted and partially per force. They are in fact extremely sensual in both conception and, more particularly, in execution, in spite of the tidy mass-image sexuality with which they deal. The brisk sanitary perfection of the young girls is in some way echoed by the organic technique; the organic body is formalised in this way. Also, just as the pilot and driver are formalised by their accoutrements, so are these girls formal images; chosen as a type and wearing their uniform of nudity which displays the uniformity of their young bodies.

'Aspen Notebook', Gerald Laing, unpublished manuscript, 1966