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Oliver Osborne, Grund und Figur

The following text is an excerpt from Haris Giannouras's essay 'Oliver Osborne, Grund und Figur', commissioned to accompany Oliver Osborne's exhibition of the same title which will take place at the Saanen Vitrine in February-March 2024.

Grund und Figur shows new works by Oliver Osborne. All were made within the last year and work within painting and drawing, in oil on linen and carbon on paper. The title is a German term used in Gestalt psychology to describe the perceptual binary between a background and an overlaying figure. In the past, Oliver has painted plastic plants, silently imprinted with hearts, glossy, squeaky clean, brand new, as well as a portrait series of former German chancellor Angela Merkel, a political figure of great rigor and controversy for many people. He has also painted variations of Robert Campin’s "A Portrait of a Fat Man", and several iterations of a close-up of Elisabeth of the Palatinate, a minor 17th-century princess, daughter of Elizabeth Stuart, the so-called Winter Queen of Bohemia. Recently, Oliver painted for the first time a portrait of his son, a work properly titled "Portrait of the Artist’s Son", after a Cézanne title of the same subject.

The full text will appear in the exhibition catalogue. To pre-order please contact us at