Talents of Madonna’s son divide critics after he is revealed as secret artist | Art

He is a mysterious, up-and-coming artist whose work has been championed by the likes of Madonna and sells for as much as 5 figures.

However there have been raised eyebrows when it was revealed that “Rhed” was none aside from the singer’s eldest son, Rocco Ritchie.

The 21-year-old, Madonna’s baby along with her ex-husband Man Ritchie, has been mentioned in stories to have quietly established himself as an expressionist painter, with a quantity of reveals on the Tanya Baxter Up to date gallery in Chelsea, west London, since 2018.

However since PageSix unmasked Ritchie, opinion has been divided on whether or not his success is because of expertise or the burden of his dad and mom’ names.


That Ritchie is Rhed is exhausting to argue with. Each are the identical age, grew up in equivalent cities, and attended Central Saint Martins and the Royal Drawing College. In 2020, Madonna and Man Ritchie even reunited on the Tanya Baxter Up to date, alongside their companions and kids, for a then unnamed exhibition.

So what do we all know of his work? Rhed makes use of thickly utilized oils and gestural brushstrokes for his depictions of the human type, according to Tanya Baxter, the gallery’s curator.

Madame Bicyclette by Rhed, aka Rocco Ritchie
Madame Bicyclette by Rhed, aka Rocco Ritchie. {Photograph}: Courtesy Tanya Baxter Up to date

His inspirations embrace Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Paula Rego and Helmut Newton. Whereas his topics have “psychological stress”, he balances this by utilizing a vibrant palette and “playfully portray looming figures within the center of the canvas, usually set towards a monochromatic summary backdrop”, Baxter says.

“Having an eclectic cultural background, with a childhood spent between New York and London, his work exude an attractive combination of innocence and confidence,” she provides.

Rhed himself has mentioned he is “fascinated in regards to the internal and outer world, particularly the place they meet”. The message of his work is that there is “magnificence within the wrestle of life” – extra magnificence, he is quoted as saying, than when life comes straightforward.

The King’s Street gallery, which has likened Rhed’s work to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Banksy, promotes a quantity of optimistic critiques, together with from Mervyn Davies, a former chair of the Royal Academy. “Good artists are those who flip power into one thing stunning that resonates with the attention,” Davies says. “Anybody is usually a painter, however it is a query of making others suppose, and provoke emotions.”

The humanities author Godfrey Barker known as Rhed “an genuine, pure, and undiluted product of the twenty first century … Rhed is not but to be ranked with the Golden Youth who shook the world at Frieze in 1988. However he is to be talked about of their firm. He makes a robust assertion about Anxiousness Now and factors into the long run.”

The Guardian artwork critic Jonathan Jones was much less enthusiastic, suggesting the artist had been put into the general public eye too quickly.

“His work are clumsy adolescent efforts with no signal of originality or vigour,” Jones mentioned. “Clearly that doesn’t imply he is not going to develop into a greater artist with time. Portray takes work. It subsequently appears a disgrace that Rhed has been put into the general public eye when he’s simply not, at this level, an actual artist. These daubs are newbie stuff, vaguely imitating Picasso or Modigliani, that would have been completed by one million younger folks.”

The gallery, Jones added, “should be ashamed of cynically pushing this unready teen in the marketplace. They examine him with the road artists Banksy and Basquiat however to be trustworthy, the one road they remind me of is the King’s Street the place this type of dangerous artwork is positive to promote to posh fools.”

The White Pube, the collaborative identification of arts writers Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad, went additional, saying: “It’s a disgrace when artists create work that appears like fashionable artwork as an alternative of modern artwork. These work appear to be AI has scraped Modigliani, fauvism, b-side Picassos, and a extra conspicuous Bacon type to create new works that really feel outdated and flat and completed. And the dramatic reveal: ‘suspiciously profitable child in artwork world secretly has extremely wealthy well-known dad and mom’ isn’t stunning or new, however it is shit.”

Rhed’s items are listed on Artsy for as much as £24,000. Whether or not or not the world ought to have allowed Ritchie to proceed utilizing a pretend title is but to be decided.


The Tanya Baxter Up to date has been contacted for remark.

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