Anita Klein: Out of the Ordinary

Forty Years of Printmaking

Foreword by Hollie McNish
Texts by Mel Gooding and Rebecca and Vincent Eames
Poems contributed by Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Hollie McNish, and Wendy Cope

‘No British artist has more thoroughly explored the female experience of family in the past thirty years than Anita Klein’ — Guardian
‘It’s refreshing to hold in your hands a book that presents a visual life without filter or contrivance. One that is packed with the mastery of a manual craft and reflects the everyday made intimate, joyful and universal.’ — Printmaking Today

Anita Klein is an artist of the everyday and the personal. For more than forty years, she has produced thousands of paintings, prints, and drawings depicting her immediate family – husband, daughters, grandchildren, and herself – going about the very ordinary activities of daily life: watching television, cooking, reading, driving to school, soaking in the bath, getting dressed, cleaning the house, choosing a pet, going on holiday, or just cuddling up and sharing tender moments with loved ones. She captures these seemingly unremarkable domestic scenes with such humour, sensitivity, and beauty to create an intimate visual journal with which everyone can identify. Influenced by Italian Renaissance fresco painting, her direct style pares down forms into strong and simple shapes, transforming the images into contemporary secular icons that reveal a joyful and unselfconscious delight in the common ‘dailiness of life’. Witty, charismatic, warm, and poignant, Klein’s pictures depict a specific family, but her diaristic archive of life’s small and familiar moments tells a universal story.

This book is a selection of five hundred and fifty of Klein’s best-loved prints. It presents a charming chronological record of the family’s day-to-day life through the decades, seen from the artist-mother’s perspective, as they grow and change in their respective roles within the household. We can also follow her development as a printmaker, from the simple monochrome drypoints in the 1980s, a consequence of the practical and financial demands of being a young stay-at-home mum, through to the more colourful and elaborate prints of recent years.

A personal appreciation of Anita Klein’s work by acclaimed poet Hollie McNish opens the volume, while texts by Rebecca and Vincent Eames, who have collaborated with the artist for more than two decades, and critic Mel Gooding provide an introduction to her practice. Klein herself gives recollection and further detail with short commentaries on the images and the occasions that they depict, and poems contributed by Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Hollie McNish, and Wendy Cope complete this delightful publication.

Anita Klein (b.1960) studied at Chelsea and Slade Schools of Art in London in the early 1980s, studying under Paula Rego among other tutors. She has work in many private and public collections in Europe, the United States, and Australia, including the Arts Council England, the British Museum and the British Library. She has had many solo exhibitions in the London as well as worldwide, and three monographs of her paintings have been published. She was President of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers from 2003 to 2006, and she was awarded Printmaker of the Year at the 2020 Printfest International Festival of Printmaking in the UK. She lives and works between London and Italy.