Bridget Riley painted Kiss in 1961 after her breakup with Maurice de Sausmarez. It is her first abstract painting a style she will explore in the following six decades.
The painting came at the end of a period of difficulty for the artist “I decided to paint one last painting, entirely black. But (I) looked at the painting and said: 'This doesn't express anything. What's wrong?' It had no contrast. So I put in white. I decided on two black shapes, (..) opposites, nearly touching, but not touching, the white spaces between them making almost a flash of light. That was 'Kiss.' It seemed good. And so I told myself, 'O.K., just one more painting.' I was off”
Her breakthrough came in the fall of 1961 when she met Victor Musgrave, director of London’s Gallery One, while sheltering from a downpour in a shop doorway. After a studio visit, Musgrave offered Riley a solo exhibition at his gallery in spring 1962.
The artist Peter Blake a friend of Riley, said "Why do you paint? and I say, to make magic.”
Sources: The New York Times 08/27/2000.
Bridget's Kiss, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11" (36 x 28 cm)