The origin of Montgomery Clift Was a Twin dates back to a trip made by Peter Blake to Los Angeles, where he read a biography of Montgomery Clift that included a black-and-white photograph of the actor taken at the Greek ruins of Paestum in Italy. The photographic illusion that the picture produces in the viewer derives, therefore, from the actual source of the composition. The title alludes to another real fact in the life of the actor, the existence of a twin sister. The image of a contemporary film star in the picture establishes an ironical contrast with the classical scene in which he is placed and with the delicate and meticulous finish of the painting, with its 19th-century reminiscences emphasised by its original oval-shaped golden frame. Blake is a virtuoso applying fine layers of paint in which the brushstrokes disappear into the surface of the canvas.
During the 1950s Blake attended London's Royal College of Art and from 1956 to 1957 he travelled around Europe thanks to a grant. Towards the end of the decade he produced several collages dedicated to actors and musicians into which he introduced iconographic elements taken from the film industry and from popular myths which would subsequently characterise British Pop Art. In 1967 Blake co-designed with Jann Haworth, his wife at the time, the famous Beatles' record sleeve Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The wide range of his imagery comprises elements taken from contemporary popular culture (boxers, actors, musicians, images from the media, advertising and comics) but also from the history of art, British traditions and his own imagination. [M.G.M.]
Marco Livingstone. "Montgomery Clift Peter Blakeren begietatik = Montgomery Clift visto por Peter Blake = Montgomery Clift through the eyes of Peter Blake" en B'05 : Buletina = Boletín = Bulletin, nº 1. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2006, pp. 111-138.
Peter Blake: A Retrospective. Liverpool : Tate Liverpool, 2007, p. 149.
Adquisiciones 02/07. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2007, pp. 76-77, n.º 29.
Peter Blake : retrospective. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2008, p. 149, n.º 82.
Marco Livingstone. Peter Blake one man show. Surrey (Reino Unido) : Lund Humphries, 2009, p. 178-179, il. 181.
Javier González de Durana. Figurados, figuraciones, figurantes : estar o (tal vez) soñar. [Cat. exp.].Bilbao : Iberdrola, 2015, pp. 28, 182, 184-185, 202.
Marta García Maruri. Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao : guía. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa, 2011 (1ª ed. 2006; ed. inglés; ed. francés; ed. euskera), p. 199, n.º 142, ad vocem.