Work of the Week
WORK OF THE WEEK
Whilst the gallery remains closed Browse & Darby will feature a Work of the Week every Tuesday for you to enjoy. Each Work of the Week is available for sale so please email us if you would like further information or prices.
2 – 8 June 2020
LUCIAN FREUD (1922-2011)
Head and Shoulders of a Girl
etching on Somerset Satin White paper
signed with initials in pencil and numbered 7/50
30 3⁄4 x 24 3⁄4 inches (sheet size)
Freud is one of Britain’s most celebrated artists. His portraiture has served to reshape our modern understanding of the human form in art with his highly distinctive style of representation. This particular work is a remarkable example of his etched portraiture and demonstrates his powerful psychological insight into the psyche of each of his subjects. It relates directly to the painting, Lying by the Rags, where the model, Sophie De Stempel, is seen full-length lying on floorboards, her right arm resting upon rags draped over the studio floor and her gaze diverted away in contemplative thought. She had met the artist in 1980, aged just nineteen while studying at The City and Guild Art School, London, and the pair soon embarked upon an affair that would last for a decade.
Freud preferred to use friends and family members as models in his work, believing them to be unrestricted by the artifice introduced with the premeditated posing of trained professionals. De Stempel has since remarked upon the sheer intensity with which Freud worked while she sat for him, relaying how he likened his compulsive efforts as an artist to those of a jockey feverishly urging on a racehorse. The awkward pose of De Stempel betrays her uncomfortable placement on the hard floorboards. Freud was noted for placing his subjects in purposefully uncomfortable positions, saying that ‘it is the task of the artist…to make the human being feel uncomfortable’, in order to achieve what he referred to as ‘clinical exposure’.
Freud was fascinated by the way in which his subjects behaved, especially when naked, and described the way in which his composition would develop and alter over time as he carefully observed their behaviour. For Freud, the portrait was always autobiographical and thus dependentupon ‘hope and memory and sensuality and involvement’. The candour with which he executeseach likeness can be at once powerful and disturbing, blurring the boundary between observation and invasion. Head and Shoulders of a Girl illustrates Freud’s belief that ‘the longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real’; an assertion that undoubtedlyadds to the compelling nature of his work.
26 May – 1 June 2020
ANTHONY EYTON (b.1923)
oil on canvas
30 x 39 inches
Anthony Eyton is one of the most respected Senior Royal Academicians living and working today. The artist’s distinctive gestural style, evolved and developed over decades, is full of passion and expression, undiminished notwithstanding his impressive 96 years of age.
This painting is one of a series of works depicting a collapsed shelf in Eyton’s studio. The delight the artist took in its collapse (and the resultant mess) is evident in the cheerful chaos of the colourful paint pots.
19 – 25 May 2020
ROBERT DUKES (b.1965)
Dish of Pears
oil on board
7 1/2 x 9 inches
Robert Dukes trained at Grimbsy School of Art from 1981-84 and the Slade School of Art from 1984-88 where he was taught by such luminaries as Euan Uglow and Patrick George. Dukes assimilated their influence whilst developing his own personal language; critic Andrew Lambirth has described his work as “full of life and vigour even though subjected to strict procedural disciplines”.
Robert Dukes’ exhibition at Browse & Darby (postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak) will take place in the autumn. It will comprise still-lifes, transcriptions of historical paintings and portraits of his beloved miniature dachshund, Miss Marple.
12 – 18 May 2020
VICTORIA CROWE (b.1945)
ink and wash on handmade paper
19 1/2 x 29 inches
Victoria Crowe’s beguiling work has earnt her widespread critical acclaim. She is now recognised as one of the most significant contemporary painters working in Scotland. Her impressive and multifaceted career spans some fifty years, and today she divides her time between studios in Scotland and Venice. Crowe’s paintings draw upon a rich iconography amassed over years spent in these two disparate settings. Whether on the canals of Venice or immersed in the wild outdoors of east Scotland, she produces captivating work of a distinctly lyrical charm continually introducing novel techniques and compositions.
5 – 11 May 2020
On Iona, 2018
watercolour and ink on Khadi paper
21 1/2 inches diameter
Sophie Charalambous is a contemporary artist based in London. She works between drawing, watercolour and printmaking, combining and reusing certain motifs to explore different places and cultures. Her large-scale “drawings” are part imagination, part observation; profoundly familiar and yet revelatory. This particular work was made in 2018 after a visit to the Scottish island of Iona. Its loose washes of watercolour and sharply drawn inky line make it an excellent example of her distinctive style.
“In June 2018 during a visit to the Highlands we spent a few days camping on a sheep farm on Iona. The locals said it was the hottest summer for 35 years and with the white sand beaches and deep turquoise sea it could have been the Seychelles. I spent three days sitting on the Quay painting this watercolour whilst the trip boats came and went taking tourists to Staffa and the Treshnish Islands.”
Charalambous won First Prize in the Sunday Times Watercolour Prize 2018 and her large watercolour The Church in the Mountainswas included in “Prince and Patron” at Buckingham Palace 2018. She teaches at the Royal Drawing School.
28 April – 4 May 2020
EDMUND CHAMBERLAIN (b. 1968)
Bullrushes in the Pond, 2019
oil on canvas
10 x 10 inches
Born in Yorkshire in 1968, British artist Edmund Chamberlain studied at Newcastle University under Patrick Symons, whose influence can be felt in his rendering of landscape and, in particular, his still life works. Winner of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award, the Pollock Krasner Foundation Award and shortlisted for the Villiers David Prize, in 2005 Chamberlain won the prestigious ING Purchase Prize at the annual Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.
His work is held in public and private collections in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Chamberlain has also exhibited frequently in solo and group shows at Browse & Darby, London.
It is Chamberlain’s desire to encourage viewers of his paintings to reconsider conventional notions of beauty by choosing subject matter that is often ignored or overlooked. The importance of “rendering the small details – the shape and scale of a branch, the line where trees meet sky, the spiral twist of a dried leaf – in such a way so as not to distract from the whole picture” is what propels the artist’s daily work.
21 – 27 April 2020
MAURICE BRIANCHON (1899-1979)
Nature Morte aux Pommes de Pin, 1962
oil on canvas
23 1⁄2 x 36 1⁄4 inches
Wildenstein & Co.
Browse and Darby, London
Estate of Hazel Westbury, UK
Neuchatel Musee des Beaux -Arts, Maurice Brianchon May -August 1962 no122 (illustrated p. 288) Paris, Galerie Beaux -Art, Maurice Brianchon, October-November 1962 no.56 (illustrated p.32)
P.-A. Brianchon & O. Daulte, Maurice Brianchon – Catalogue de l’oeuvre peint,, 2008 No. 640 (illustrated p. 288)
Maurice Brianchon was a French painter known as one of the Peintres de la Réalite Poétique, or Painters of Poetic Reality, a group of eight artists – Roland Oudot, Raymond-Jean Legueult, Roger Marcel Limouse, Christian Caillard, Jean Jules Cavaillès, André Planson, Kostia Térechkovitch and Brianchon – christened by Figaro journalist Giselle d’Assailly in her 1949 publication “Avec les Peintres de la Réalité Poétique”. An ardent advocate of the figurative and a colourist at heart, Brianchon is often associated with the Intimism of Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. The artist also adhered to the principles of decorative art, which he adopted during his time at the École des Arts Décoratifs, where he studied under Eugène Morand and befriended Legeuelt and Desnoyer.
At the age of 23, he was appointed a member of the committee of the Salon d’Automne and, in 1934, represented France at the Venice Biennale and won the Carnegie Prize. Thereafter, followed a period of fame and success, which included designing of sets and productions at the Paris Opera. In 1946, he was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1949, he was appointed professor of painting at his alma mater. He was also the subject of a major retrospective at the Louvre in 1951, and the following year, was selected as one of the official artists of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Painted in a similar vein to a series of still lives included in the 1957 exhibition Les Peintres de la Réalité Poétique in La Tour-de-Peliz, Switzerland, Nature Morte aux Pommes de Pin is a particularly vibrant piece that showcases Brianchon’s unique take on colour and composition – luminous palettes and compelling configurations that matured in the latter half of the 1930s, taking over from the artist’s early, more muted palette and characteristic of his work from the 1940s onwards.
The tiled blue and white table with its ornate metal base appears in a number of the artist’s still life paintings of the 1960s and ‘70s. Commonly referred to as ‘la table du boucher’, this piece of furniture, emblematic of a rural French heritage, drives a strong sense of time and tradition into the painting, emphasising the simple, yet captivating beauty inherent in this quiet, domestic scene and its everyday objects.
14 – 20 April 2020
ELIZABETH BLACKADDER (b.1931)
21 x 21 inches
Dame Elizabeth Blackadder DBE, RA, RSA, RSW, RGI is one of the most respected Scottish artists alive today. Her delicate work ranges through still life, landscape and flower paintings. Blackadder is the first woman to be elected to both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy.
Blackadder studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1949-54) under Robert Henderson Blythe and William Gillies. Whilst there she won scholarships to travel and paint in southern Europe and Italy. In 1956 she married fellow painter John Houston and, from 1962-86, lectured in drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art. In 1985, just prior to her retirement, she visited Japan for the first time and imagery and subject matter inspired by that country continues to be present within her work. It is however her botanical paintings that have become her most distinctive and popular work. Duncan Macmillian describes them as ‘jewels of intense observation’. These tulips appear almost pressed on the page, achieving a synthesis between intensely observed drawing and the marks of a delicate freer paintbrush.
7 – 13 April 2020
ROBERT POLHILL BEVAN (1865-1925)
Hart’s Farm, Clayhidon, Devon, c.1917
pencil and charcoal on paper
8 1⁄2 x 10 inches
with Agnew & Sons, London, as ‘Stoneacre Farm’
Private Collection UK
Born in Hove near Brighton, Bevan studied at the Westminster School of Art before moving to Paris to study at the Académie Julian. He continued to live abroad afterwards, moving to Pont-Aven in Brittany in 1893. It was there that he met Paul Gauguin who was a great influence on the young artist.
After marrying the Polish painter Stanislawa de Karlowska he settled in London in 1900. He was introduced to the Fitzroy Street circle of artists by Spencer Gore and Harold Gilman who had noticed his work in the Allied Artists’ Association exhibition of 1908 and went on to become a founding member of the Camden Town Group and the London Group, as well as being to the New English Art Club in 1922.
Bevan’s most frequent subject was everyday street scenes, particularly horse-drawn cab yards and scenes of horse trading in London, but he also painted landscapes, in particular of Somerset and Devon. He first visited the former in 1912 when, together with fellow painters Charles Ginner and Spencer Gore, he went to the Blackdown Hills to stay with a retired Argentinian rancher called Harold B Harrison. Harrison had studios erected for his visitors and Bevan returned in the summers of 1913 and 1915 to paint there. In 1916 Bevan took a cottage of his own in the Bolham Valley not far from Clayhidon, and in 1920 he moved to his own cottage in Luppitt in East Devon.
This drawing is of Hart’s Farm in Clayhidon. Bevan also made a lithograph of the same view, one of which is in the V&A Collection in London. It is a charming example of the artist’s work andshows him beginning to deconstruct the pictorial elements into flat geometric shapes, something that would become a hallmark of his painting method.
31 March – 6 April 2020
CRAIGIE AITCHISON (1926 – 2009)
oil on canvas laid on board
12 x 10 inches
Gifted by the artist to the previous owner
Private Collection, Spain
This week’s work is a beautiful painting by Craigie Aitchison. Aitchison was a Scottish painter. He studied at the Slade School of Art where he worked under the aegis of the eminent painters William Coldstream and Robert Medley, and befriended fellow students Myles Murphy and Euan Uglow. From 1968 to 1984 Aitchison taught at The Chelsea Art Schools, and dedicated the rest of his time to his own practice at his home in Kennington. In 1988 he was made a Royal Academician, awarded the esteemed Jerwood Prize in 1994, and made a CBE in 1999. He had several major shows in his lifetime, including retrospectives at the Serpentine (1981), Harewood House (1994), the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (1996), and the Royal Academy (2003).
This work was painted in 1986 and is a wonderful example of Aitchison’s vibrant and luminous landscape painting. The contrasting bands of colour and the simplicity of the butterflies powerfully evoke the British visionary tradition.