“The Garage” by Sir Stanley Spencer
Since it was purchased by The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation in 1999, The Garage has been included in various exhibitions across the UK. The painting is currently on loan to The Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, Berkshire until 2 November 2014 for their Summer exhibition entitled "Paradise Regained, Stanley Spencer in the Aftermath of the First World War". It was previously included in their "Perspectives on Love" exhibition alongside other prominent works by Stanley Spencer.
The Garage has also been seen at Manchester Art Galleries having featured in their "Everything is Inevitable" exhibition and prior to that in the Stanley Spencer Exhibition at The Kunsthal Museum, Rotterdam. It was also on exhibition at Tate Britain.
In 1929, the English Marketing Board commissioned Spencer to paint a series of five pictures on the theme of Industry and Peace, of which The Garage is one. The exhibition at The Kunsthal hung all five pictures in the series together for the first time since they were painted.
The Garage looks forward to a world of industry and technology. It represents a less appreciated side of Spencer: as a master of the realist movement in modern Britain. The Garage was accordingly recognised as a masterpiece in its own time.
It is more than a workshop scene, but is a panorama of motoring as both a technological and a social phenomenon. The sense of community in the motoring world is at the heart of the composition; although the centre of the picture is dominated by mechanics fitting tyres, at the lower left a tweed-suited designer works on diagrams of crank-shafts and axle-assemblies, and in the lower right hand corner a fashionably-dressed couple pore over maps as they plan their weekend motoring trip. All of these disparate figures are tied together not by any direct communication, but by the rich curves and angles of the cars and their equipment.