Apollo Magazine

My masterpiece selection: Lauren Prakke

For the collector and art patron, Michelangelo's David and an Ico Parisi sofa are timeless triumphs

Lauren Prakke.

Lauren Prakke. Credit Whitehall Magazine and Alexandre Valerio

To coincide with the opening of Masterpiece London, we asked leading cultural figures to pick out some of their personal favourite masterpieces

When it comes to design, I’m very loyal to the objects I love but I’m not particularly faithful to a single period. I love Dutch design, for example, and own some Moooi chairs – the burnt ones that have been set on fire and each have a unique appearance because they burn in different ways. But the pieces that stand out for me are Ico Parisi sofas. They’re modern Italian, curvilinear, and have a sensual design that’s completely unforgettable. You can see lots and lots of sofas and they all blend into one, but even after 60 years these are complete originals that still feel utterly contemporary.

Sofa, c. 1950s, Ico Parisi. Photo courtesy of Ebury Trading and Pamono

Lisa Yuskavage and Mira Dancy are two artists who really resonate with me. They represent a re-emergence of the figurative in contemporary painting, and they’re both lavish, erotic, and fearless in their presentation of the female figure. Their works tend to be psychologically charged. Lisa is quite cartoonish, and Mira paints more like a German Expressionist; but at the core of what they do they’re really similar.

Blood Moon (2015), Mira Dancy. Night Gallery, Los Angeles

I hugely respect Tate Modern for featuring three top female artists last year – Sonia Delaunay, Agnes Martin, and Marlene Dumas. Women artists have been underacknowledged and underpaid for so many years.

The museum that inspires me the most is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. It’s extremely moving to contemplate Anne Frank’s experience, her depth of feeling, and her maturity in the face of injustice. She managed to retain a sense of light and life and to grow as a person, in spite of the great hardship she suffered. The museum makes you think about humanity, and evaluate your own sense of what it means to be human.

The entrance to the secret annex in the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam. Courtesy Anne Frank House. Photo: Cris Toala Olivares

My ultimate masterpiece is Michelangelo’s David. I used to sculpt at the Art Students League of New York, and have a deep interest in sculpture as a medium. I love how this work portrays the underdog, David, as a victor, and its sense of proportion, beauty, and perfection. In fact, everything about it is enthralling: the watchful eyes, the pulsing veins, the tension of the pose and the material. It’s a genuine masterpiece and I defy anyone not to be moved by it.

David (1501–04), Michelangelo Buonarroti. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

Lauren Prakke is a collector and art patron.

Masterpiece London takes place on the South Grounds of the Royal
Hospital Chelsea from 30 June–6 July. This article was originally published in the Masterpiece London magazine 2016.

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