This is a quite stunning display of British Art, which for me comes alive in oil paintings in the 1840s.
One of my favourite painting is John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”. I became rather obsessed by the way he works the light in it. Tate describes “Sargent was able to work for only a few minutes each evening when the light was exactly right. He would place his easel and paints beforehand, and pose his models in anticipation of the few moments when he could paint the mauvish light of dusk. As autumn came and the flowers died, he was forced to replace the blossoms with artificial flowers”.
It makes me think about comparisons with one of my other favourite (autumn) light painter Edward Hopper. Hopper drew extensively as part of his practice. A large number of his drawings are detailed in Hopper. Drawing. (Yale University Press). The book also describes how a contemporary Rockwell Kent described Hopper as the John Singer Sargent of theirNew York School of Art class.
There were several other powerful paintings with light themes I was interested in an I was also introduced to the work of Gwen John
John Singer Sargent Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose 1885–6
October on Cape Cod
Edward Hopper. Morning Sun (1952).
Edward Hopper study drawing for Morning Sun (1952)
Walter Richard Sickert La Hollandaise c.1906
Gwen John Self-Portrait 1902
I also looked at another of my favourite paintings Mark Gertler’s Merry-Go-Round. Again Gertler made several drawings that preceding Merry-Go-Round Gertler had hardened the figures into geometrical shapes, at times giving them the appearance of dolls. I like the simple bold pallet but overall the tone of this anti-war painting is rather sinister. At the time Gertler wrote ‘I am working very hard on a large and very unsaleable picture of “Merry-Go-Round”‘ .
Mark Gertler Merry-Go-Round 1916
I also enjoyed Mark Wallinger Where There’s Muck 1985
Bill Woodrow Elephant 1984
Patrick Heron Azalea Garden : May 1956 1956
Francis BaconStudy for a Portrait 1952
Lucian Freud Girl with a Kitten 1947