What is your role at Bridgeman Images?
Half of my time is dedicated as personal assistant to the Chairperson Harriet Bridgeman, whilst the other half of my time is spent as a Researcher for Bridgeman Images' sister company, the Artists’ Collecting Society. My role at Bridgeman Images is incredibly varied! As a personal assistant and researcher, my day can be spent doing a variety of things, including email and diary management, travel organisation and arrangements and other correspondence duties. Further to this, I research artists that are owed royalties from their works selling on the secondary market that are yet to sign up to a collecting society. I also manage content uploaded to ACS' Instagram channel to promote artists' works, exhibitions and increase the presence and awareness of the Artists' Collecting Society.
What do I love most about my job?
What I love most about my job is that no day is ever the same! Splitting my time equally between Bridgeman Images and the Artists’ Collecting Society means I can be working on diary management, business travel organisation or, contacting artists and beneficiaries, researching or organising events. My job gives me the chance to interact with a variety of different people and to constantly learn and develop my knowledge of the art world.
What misconceptions do people have about the archive?
People have walked into Bridgeman Images asking if they can view the artwork they believe we physically hold in our walls. Of course, in this day and age everything is digital! Many people do not realise that such a large, diverse database can be held online.
Furthermore, people are often taken aback - as I was before I joined - when they realise that we have a variety of different sectors, such as Bridgeman Copyright, Bridgeman Education and the Artists’ Collecting Society and that Bridgeman Images isn’t just an online image resource.
Jacob Lawrence, ‘The Migration Series’, Panel No.1
I came across Bridgeman Images when I was researching portraits of Jacob Lawrence for my dissertation at University. One of my favourite works of art that Bridgeman Images has in the archive is ‘The Migration Series’, panel 1 painted from 1940-1941. Demonstrating the mass migration of African-Americans during the 1940s, Jacob Lawrence paints the figures with anonymity and disregard. No identification is given, except for the variety of coloured clothing the people wear. His perception of the harrowing effects of the migration are subtly depicted, yet have a longer-lasting impression, on the significance of racism and gender inequality. Lawrence was clearly influenced by the large spaces of flat colour Matisse utilised.
Jan van Eyck, ‘The Arnolfini Marriage’
This was one of the first works of art I learnt about whilst studying History of Art at A-level. It continues to be one of my favourites, due to the variety of symbolism and complex iconography Van Eyck included. The level of ambiguity illustrates the revolutionary style of the rendering of intricate detail, for example the scenes of the Passion of Christ represented on the exterior of the mirror. Other notable iconographic details include the oranges on the windowsill perhaps symbolising wealth, the dog symbolising fidelity and lust, and lastly, the strategic placing of the gargoyle above the couple's hands.
George Bellows, ‘Cliff Dwellers’
During my time at University, I spent a lot of time learning about 20th Century American art and it remains my favourite period. George Bellows’ painting ‘Cliff Dwellers’ illustrates the chaotic, vibrant and claustrophobic streets of New York during the early 1900s. Bellows doesn’t distance himself from the street scene, instead embracing the reality of immigration, depicting the newly diverse city in all of its glory!
Edward Hopper, ‘Automat’, 1927
I have always admired Edward Hopper's ability to render the human figure in their default state of isolation and solitude, and in particular, his painting 'Automat'. Hopper once stated, ‘Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world’.
Family riding a bike, Lahore 1
Lastly, I love this clip of a family riding a bike in Lahore, Pakistan - the family are so relaxed, yet it is so incredibly dangerous! Whilst I was in Vietnam, I saw so many families travelling this way, some with even six on one bike!!
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