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

Cr139 purplepin gc bwp

Purple Pin

Catalogue No. 149

Artist's CR 139


Aspen, Colorado

Acrylic on aluminium and chrome on brass, slate base

42 x 12 x6 inches / 107 x 30 x15 cm

Collection: University of Michigan Museum of Art

  • Private collection
  • Collection of University of Michigan Museum of Art

The freestanding pieces, of which this is an example, were still as flat as possible, their greatest width being that of the upright chrome tube which supported them. The flat aluminium part was indeed swelled with fibreglass to meet the width of this tube, but only for practical reasons - to hide the joining device and to prevent the tube from casting a hard shadow on the painted portion. This piece is a good example of implied volume. Convention tells us it is twisted; in fact, it is flat.

1971: Gerald Laing, Gerald Laing, exhibition Catalogue, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1971

The Museum of Art does have a work by one additional British sculptor: Gerald Laing, Purple Pin, 1966, steel, painted and plated with acrylic and lacquer on aluminium with stone base. H. 102.9cm, W. 22.9cm. Signed with titel inscribed on base. Gift of Mr Arthur A. Goldberg, accession number 1974/2.43. As Gerald Laing reached artistic maturity in the 1960s, he must be considered one of the third generation of contemporary British sculptors and thus lies beyond the scope of this study…

Bulletin - Museums of Art and Archaeology, University of Michigan, Volumes 1-4, University of Michigan, 1978