Exhibitions

Past
  • Albert Irvin OBE, RA

    Albert Irvin OBE, RA

    Early Works 1950-1970 3 Nov - 1 Dec 2017

    Can I reveal the splendours and agonies of life through space, colour, light, shape, line, confrontation, rhythm and inflections in the paint?” - Albert Irvin


    Whitford Fine Art will hold this autumn the first major posthumous exhibition of early works by one of the best Abstract Expressionist artists this country has produced, Albert Irvin, OBE, RA.


    The inner strength and subtle mystery contained within Irvin’s paintings are the driving forces behind this show.


    Whitford Fine Art has managed to secure a number of key works from the 1950s and 1960s directly from the Estate, paintings that Irvin himself was reluctant to part with and will finally allow collectors and the public at large to rediscover the power and beauty of this influential British artist.

     

    E-Catalogue

  • Trans-Channel Crossing UK/EU

    Trans-Channel Crossing UK/EU

    15 Jun - 28 Jul 2017

    This summer Whitford Fine Art will host an exhibition that will focus on four artists that have worked and lived on both sides of the English Channel and have been instrumental in spreading new aesthetics and artistic ideas after the War and contributed to a greater exchange between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe

     

    Living through the political historic epoch of today naturally draws our attention to the freedoms of the art world with its absence of boundaries and national borders. National schools and movements unquestionably exist, but international exchange was often the very originator of a new national style.

     

    During the 20th Century movements such as CoBrA and ZERO were, by definition, international with adherents practicing in different European cities and an exhibition programme touring the world. Abstract Expressionism originated in New York but soon Europe followed with its own version, known as Tachism.

     

    The exhibition Trans-Channel Crossing looks at the free artistic exchange between France and the UK. It was usual practice for British artists to have some training in Paris, where they met colleagues from Holland, Belgium, Germany and Eastern Europe. Back in London, Halima Nalecz and the New Vision Centre set up an international exchange by championing foreign European artists.

     

    The selected works all bear testimony to the inert quality of art to break down boundaries, and reunite on a humanistic level. 

  • Caziel: Abstraction Explored

    Caziel: Abstraction Explored

    Works from the Fifties 5 May - 2 Jun 2017

    This exhibition brings together some of the most important and inspiring works from Caziel's early abstract period, from a time when he was at the centre of the Post-War Parisian art scene. It includes his first abstract paintings, which combine a Cubist-influenced aesthetic and geometric decomposition, alongside his mature abstract style in which lyricism and geometrical abstraction merge. With these works Caziel believed that, as possibly Picasso and Braque did when they invented Cubism, he was reaching for a higher order of reality, a new perspective, which hinted at the spiritual. In search of a new dimension, his art transcends the natural stimulus of figuration, bringing to life an unseen world punctuated by nuances in colour, texture and form, yet always humanistic in intention.

    A highly personal expression of his epicurean belief that painting should bring joy, Caziel's work of the 1950s figures within the upbeat current which defined Paris' cultural identity in the aftermath of the Second World War. These works represent the start of Caziel's journey into abstraction, a route which he would follow with inexhaustible passion for the rest of his life.

  • Poetry in Motion

    Poetry in Motion

    Ceramics by Jean Lurçat and Paintings by Georges Bernède 8 Mar - 7 Apr 2017

    Whitford Fine Art is proud to present for the second time an exhibition of French artists Jean Lurçat and Georges Bernède. Bringing together two artists from different generations, traditions, and backgrounds, the exhibition shows their common ground of the universal themes of freedom, movement and poetry. 

    An important and successful painter of the School of Paris, Jean Lurçat singlehandedly revived tapestry-making as an art form during the 1930s. Lurçat's artistic eye simultaneously wandered towards a multitude of other media, including engraving, book illustrations and - most notably - ceramics. During the 1950's Lurçat worked away abundantly at the ceramic workshops of Sant-Vicens in the Southern French city of Perpignan. 

    Imaginary and mythological sea and wood creatures and foliage are winding their ways in thickly applied saturated colours overlaid with brilliant glaze. These designs demonstrate Lurçat's fondness of the symbolic and poetry which formed the core of his artistic expression. Thus a plate, a bowl, a jug or a tile, becomes an object of beauty and exquisiteness. Lurçat's poetry is ultimately derived from the excellence of the Art Nouveau style. 

    Georges Bernède's quest for poetry and beauty on the other hand was achieved through his own human struggle. The son of a local carpenter in the bastide of Monsegur, near Bordeaux, Bernède was mocked for wanting to become a painter. Bordeaux is notoriously known for its conservatism and its painters did not warm to Abstraction until the mid-1950s, twenty years after Abstraction became a recognized movement in Paris. 

    Bernède painted in solitude and his work was rarely shown. Consequently he did not suffer any pressure to conform to any commercial demand or intellectual expectations and had the chance to explore art freely. In his continuous search to express the poetry of Life, Bernède tried to establish an analogy to musical rhythm in his painting and thus naturally grew to gestural painting, partnered with a monochrome palette. Whilst being deceptively subtle, Bernède's paintings show dramatic movement and impact through the energetic application of the paint. 

    Whilst both artists were born to the same artistic spirit in France during the first half of the twentieth century, the difference in their artistic outputs offers a dynamic juxtaposition of vibrant colours and monochromatic intensity, dream-like figuration and virile abstraction.

  • Frank Avray Wilson

    Frank Avray Wilson

    British Tachist 21 Oct - 25 Nov 2016

    One should be able to be a Universe helping alchemist, or artist, in one's ordinary living. 

    Twenty-six years ago, Adrian Mibus, director of Whitford Fine Art, London, asked Avray Wilson to write an essay to accompany a possible exhibition. Wilson's artistic creative capacity was matched by a formidable mind and a talent for writing, and within a short time span he duly produced a thirty-three-page long typescript, a bite size introduction to his work, his thought process, his world. This exhibition coincides with the release of this previously unpublished essay by Frank Avray Wilson dated 1990.

    Thus, Whitford Fine Art"one of the 10 galleries to go to buy art", according to The London Magazine, presents one of the most significant and creative one-man show in terms of British Abstract Expressionism in the capital.

    Avray Wilson's paintings can prove holistic as they aim to inspire the viewer to contemplation and meditation in order to position the human existence in Nature, Universe and Cosmos. However, for those who do not wish to choose the doctrine Avray Wilson is proposing, the paintings offer the experience of aesthetically wonderful and accomplished explosions of colour and form vigorously displayed and art historically firmly categorised as the European form of American Action Painting known as 'Tachisme'.

  • Pop Art Heroes

    Pop Art Heroes

    Pop, Pin-Ups & Politics 27 May - 1 Jul 2016

    Following the continuity in rising demand for Pop Art works and recent price records at auction, the movement is increasingly present on the international exhibition agenda. The World Goes Pop at the Tate and International Pop, currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art both retrace the story of Pop Art worldwide. The exhibition Pop, Pin-Ups and Politics at Whitford Fine Art revisits the original story of the British Pop Artists. Born in Britain in the early 50's years in reaction to the Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art is the result of a shared vision of a diversified group of British artists, whose common denominator lies in the use of popular culture and advertising for inspiration. This exhibition features the real heroes of the Pop Art movement: Clive Barker, Peter BlakeDerek BoshierPauline BotyPatrick CaulfieldAntony Donaldson, Allen Jones, Gerald LaingPeter Phillips and Colin Self

    Thus, Whitford Fine Art"one of the 10 galleries to go to buy art", according to the February issue of The London Magazine, presents one of the most varied and original retrospectives in terms of British Pop Art in the capital.

    Originally aimed at the young, the witty, sexy and glamorous side of Pop Art continues to fascinate. An event not to be missed!

  • Clive Barker

    Clive Barker

    Crossroads 13 Nov - 11 Dec 2015

    Nearly five decades after emerging as a Pop Artist, Clive Barker continues to make sculptures characterised by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture. However, an exhibition of recent works revisits his 1960s iconography whilst also introducing a radical new subject matter, placing the artist at the crossroads of West and East, the past and the present, the brazen energy of his youth and the introspection of older age. This is Barker's most personal show yet. 
    Barker's love for Pop culture and America, where many of his much-loved memories took shape, has not changed. Having visited New York for the first time in 1966, Barker undertook a three month long trip visiting twenty-two American states in 1971. At the time, Barker was a celebrated young artist without a care in the world. The relaxed, hands-on attitude to life of his American collectors hit an immediate chord within Barker, who embraced America wholeheartedly. The ease with which great collectors such as Joe Hirshhorn took Barker under their wings and the expanse of the country were an immediate attraction for the young artist. 

    Whereas Barker's love for America has not waned, the artist now often travels to Turkey, his interest mirroring the attention which Eastern cultures have been given in the media since the tragic events of 9/11. Barker's fascination with the country's culture and history is now also reflected on his choice of subject for his work and allude to the ever-growing cultural influence of the East.

    The unabashed good looking young man, now a mature man is reflecting on life, time, things past and things future. This is Clive Barker standing at the crossroads, looking at past travels, present travels, the future and the fragility of life, experienced at an elder age.

  • Joseph Lacasse

    Joseph Lacasse

    A Universe in the Universe - A Pioneer of Abstraction 5 Jun - 3 Jul 2015

    Born in 1894 into the desolation of a working-class family in Tournai, Belgium, Lacasse's artistic vocation was first outlined at the local stone quarries where he worked as a young teenager. During the early 1910s, Lacasse took small but roughly cut stones home to draw. These so-called 'Cailloux' are an extraordinary testimony to his vision, for starting from figuration he unwittingly created abstract works and became a pioneer of Abstraction. His status as a pioneer was during his lifetime recognized by eminent critics and writers in Paris and Belgium: Michel SEUPHOR, Maurits BILCKE, Roger BORDIER, and Henry POULAILLE. 

    Between 1909 and 1931 Lacasse practiced social realist figuration alongside proto-cubism and Abstraction and this may have counted for him loosing his status as a pioneer of Abstraction. However Sonia Delaunay was a staunch defender of Lacasse's work and role as pioneer and newly discovered correspondence between Sonia Delaunay and Joseph Lacasse sheds new light on the relationship between Lacasse and Poliakoff. Having settled in Paris in1925, Lacasse's alliance with Robert Delaunay is well documented as of 1928 onwards. Whilst Poliakoff remained a figurative painter until 1938, Lacasse had already gone through years of Abstraction. The considerable likeness between the works of Lacasse and Poliakoff has given rise to a great debate during the 1950s and 1960s. Now it is established that Lacasse is the defining influence on Serge Poliakoff. 

    The work of Lacasse never ceased to excite connoisseurs of avant-garde Abstract art but to this date his extraordinary contribution to the history of abstraction has not been fully recognises. The work is included in the following institutions: 

    Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris; Musée national d'art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Musée de Tournai, Tournai; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Eilat Museum, Eilat; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. 

    Lacasse's abstract paintings represent the light he feels inside, the essence of humanity, the energy of the Ultimate Creator. Their colours and movement are inspiring, and their immediacy illustrates Lacasse's power as a painter and thinker. Thus Whitford Fine Art is delighted to reintroduce the abstract paintings of Lacasse to British public.

  • Poetry in Motion

    Poetry in Motion

    Ceramics by Jean Lurçat and Paintings by Georges Bernède 12 Nov - 12 Dec 2014

    Whitford Fine Art is proud to present an exhibition of French artists Jean Lurçat and Georges Bernède. Bringing together for the first time two artists from different generations, traditions, and backgrounds, the exhibition shows their common ground of the universal themes of freedom, movement and poetry. 

    An important and successful painter of the School of Paris, Jean Lurçat singlehandedly revived tapestry-making as an art form during the 1930s. Lurçat's artistic eye simultaneously wandered towards a multitude of other media, including engraving, book illustrations and - most notably - ceramics. During the 1950's Lurçat worked away abundantly at the ceramic workshops of Sant-Vicens in the Southern French city of Perpignan. 

    Imaginary and mythological sea and wood creatures and foliage are winding their ways in thickly applied saturated colours overlaid with brilliant glaze. These designs demonstrate Lurçat's fondness of the symbolic and poetry which formed the core of his artistic expression. Thus a plate, a bowl, a jug or a tile, becomes an object of beauty and exquisiteness. Lurçat's poetry is ultimately derived from the excellence of the Art Nouveau style. 

    Georges Bernède's quest for poetry and beauty on the other hand was achieved through his own human struggle. The son of a local carpenter in the bastide of Monsegur, near Bordeaux, Bernède was mocked for wanting to become a painter. Bordeaux is notoriously known for its conservatism and its painters did not warm to Abstraction until the mid-1950s, twenty years after Abstraction became a recognized movement in Paris. 

    Bernède painted in solitude and his work was rarely shown. Consequently he did not suffer any pressure to conform to any commercial demand or intellectual expectations and had the chance to explore art freely. In his continuous search to express the poetry of Life, Bernède tried to establish an analogy to musical rhythm in his painting and thus naturally grew to gestural painting, partnered with a monochrome palette. Whilst being deceptively subtle, Bernède's paintings show dramatic movement and impact through the energetic application of the paint. 

    Whilst both artists were born to the same artistic spirit in France during the first half of the twentieth century, the difference in their artistic outputs offers a dynamic juxtaposition of vibrant colours and monochromatic intensity, dream-like figuration and virile abstraction.

  • Caziel: Forever Yours

    Caziel: Forever Yours

    Paintings and Drawings 1948 - 1955 8 May - 3 Jun 2014

    This exhibition brings together paintings, gouaches and drawings from 1948 to 1955 and reflects Caziel's artistic developments from Figuration to Abstraction and his love for Catherine Sinclair.

    In April 1952 Caziel met the young Scottish painter Catherine Sinclair, daughter of Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air during the Second World War, during her show at the Galerie Jeanne Castel, Paris. It was love at first sight. At the time of their meeting, Caziel had already undergone his radical departure from the influence of his friend Picasso and proven his commitment to a more lyrical and organic form of Abstraction. 

    Catherine's love revitalized Caziel's creativity. As if hit by lightning, Caziel's commitment to Abstraction was momentarily halted by his need for a more immediate figurative style to express his passion for Catherine, witnessed in a series of large black ink and wash drawings. These drawings appeal to our collective consciousness of what it is to be passionately in love. 

    During 1953, Caziel reconnected with Abstraction. In 1955 Catherine's announcement of her love for Caziel was received by her parents, to her own surprise, with delight. Catherine and Caziel married in Paris during June 1957. Twelve years later the family moved to Somerset, England, where Caziel and Catherine remained until their respective deaths in 1988 and 2007. 

    Our exhibition focuses on the one side on the figurative works inspired by his passionate love for Catherine and on the other on the abstract paintings created just before and during the few years after their meeting. With these abstract works Caziel believed that, as Picasso and Braque did when they invented Cubism, he was reaching for a higher order of reality, a new perspective, which hinted at the spiritual in a search for the fourth dimension. These works exude energy and vitality - the colours dazzle, making the shapes cheerful.

    Whitford Fine Art has been handling Caziel's Estate since 1994, and has exhibited and sold Caziels' works in London and internationally. 

  • Clive Barker

    Clive Barker

    Objects for Contemplation 9 Oct - 1 Nov 2013

    For over half a century now, Clive Barker has cast or fabricated sculptures in bronze and other metals largely from found objects and finished them impeccably in a variety of surfaces, sometimes polished or plated in gold or silver so that they gleam like luxury commodities, sometimes painted or given a more traditionally artistic patina. Dispensing with the conventional tools of the sculptor and considering even a studio to be superfluous, he has instead concentrated his attention on choosing the objects that he takes to the foundry for casting - often with minimal apparent alteration - and on presiding over the process with absolute attention to detail but with scant need for his personal manual intervention. The conceptual rigour of his procedure, based on his observations as a very young man of the assembly-line methods employed in a car factory at which he was working, has paradoxically gone hand-in-hand with an intense subjectivity in his selection and an insistence on the sensuous physicality of the objects that are the end-product of a step-by-step process born of a kind of daydream. Given the wide-ranging nature of his imagery, it is impressive to witness how this hands-off approach results repeatedly in sculptures that not only look confident and inevitable but that consistently bear the stamp of his artistic vision.

    For 20 Years, Whitford Fine Art has defended the career of Clive Barker who was part of the original 1960s Pop art movement, with assemblage work dating as early as 1962. His friendships with Peter Blake, David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein and Paul and Linda McCartney are well documented in correspondence. 
    This exhibition at Whitford Fine Art will give the public a chance to see Barker's latest works, which are testimony to his commitment to the Pop cause. As a protégé of the legendary art dealer Robert Fraser, and Erica Brausen of the Hanover Gallery, Barker was at the heart of the British Pop Art Movement in 1960's Swinging London. Over the years, Barker has remained true to the essence of Pop Art and his latest replicas of functional objects of mass-culture in gleaming bronze continue to investigate the fundamentals of both traditional and Modernist sculpture, in particular Marcel Duchamp's concept of the ready-made. Barker's art has formed a particularly important part in the evolution of Pop Art Sculpture on either side of the Atlantic. His influence on Jeff Koons' work from the 1980s was profound.

  • Jeff Lowe

    Jeff Lowe

    Sculptures 1980 - 1982 13 Sep - 4 Oct 2013

    This September Whitford Fine Art will hold an exhibition of sculptures by Jeff Lowe (b. 1952), as part of the gallery's 40th anniversary celebration calendar. 

    Made during the early eighties, the sculptures draw on the legacy of the constructed steel sculpture of Anthony Caro and David Smith. Lowe counters this tradition's stress on openness and lightness with a concern for the 'object' like that of Constantin Brancusi - he uses physically massive elements to create contained, emphatically volumetric structures. The sculptures also relate to ancient standing stones and to African sculpture, of which Lowe is a collector. They are particularly notable for the steel used. This originated in mistakes in the production line of a factory of the British Steel Corporation, and as such is unique to this body of work. 

    The sculptures have not been seen as a group since the two highly successful exhibitions at the Nicola Jacobs Gallery in which they were first shown (1981 and 1983). Lowe held his first solo exhibition whilst still a student at St Martin's School of Art, where he studied under William Tucker between 1971 and 1975. Important exhibitions during the seventies include 9e Biennale de Paris (1975), The Condition of Sculpture (1975), a solo exhibition at the Serpentine (1978) and The Hayward Annual (1979). He has since exhibited widely and internationally - with many solo exhibitions in Portugal and in New York. In 2011 he was included in the Henry Moore Institute's United Enemies: Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s. Lowe has sculpture in public collections including the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Contemporary Arts Society, the Hunterian Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia. 

  • Joseph Lacasse

    Joseph Lacasse

    Abstraction Explored 15 May - 28 Jun 2013

    To celebrate its 40th anniversary Whitford Fine Art will host a large solo exhibition on School of Paris artist Joseph LACASSE during Wed 15 May - Fri 28 June 2013, with a preview on Tue 14 May. The celebration also announces Whitford's representation of the Estate of the Artist, who enjoyed a career that spanned some sixty-five years, during which he experimented with Figuration and Abstraction alike. 

    Lacasse has not had a show in London since the Drian Galleries showed him during the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

    Born in 1894 into the desolation of a working-class family in Tournai, Belgium, Lacasse's artistic vocation was first outlined at the local stone quarries where he worked as a young teenager. During the early 1910s, Lacasse took small but roughly cut stones home to draw. These so-called 'Cailloux' are an extraordinary testimony to his vision, for starting from figuration he unwittingly created abstract works.

    Following years of travelling through Italy, Spain and France, Lacasse finally settled in Paris in 1925, where his alliance with Robert Delaunay is documented. Lacasse settled in the studios at l'Impasse Ronsin, with Constantin Brancusi as his neighbour and good friend. 

    Around 1933 Lacasse founded Galerie l'Equipe, focus of a movement comprising also literature and drama, and an open platform to all young artists seeking recognition. Initially, for lack of finances l'Equipe met at Lacasse's studio. During 1937, l'Equipe opened its doors on the Boulevard Montparnasse where Lacasse himself welcomed the visitors. 

    At that time Lacasse was making small abstract sketches. Amongst the frequent visitors of l'Equipe during 1937 was the then figurative painter Serge Poliakoff, who borrowed much from Lacasse's abstract sketches, to deliver his first abstract painting at the gallery in 1938.

    The choice of joining General de Gaulle's Resistance during the Second World War, required Lacasse to move to England. During his five-year absence from Paris the art world had moved on with Poliakoff overshadowing the genius and originality of Lacasse. When during early 1950s Tachisme was hailed as the way forward, many had forgotten that Lacasse made his first Tachist paintings as early as 1936. 

    Yet, the work of Lacasse never ceased to excite connoisseurs of avant-garde Abstract art and to this date, his work is included in the following institutions: Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris; Musée national d'art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Musée de Tournai, Tournai; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Eilat Museum, Eilat; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. 

    Lacasse's abstract paintings represent the light he feels inside, the essence of humanity, the energy of the Ultimate Creator. Their colours and movement are inspiring, and their immediacy illustrate Lacasse's power as a painter and thinker. Thus Whitford Fine Art is delighted to reintroduce the abstract paintings of Lacasse to the British public.

  • Georges Bernède

    Georges Bernède

    The Advent of Abstraction in Bordeaux 14 Nov - 22 Dec 2012

    Georges Bernède is one of the best-kept secrets in the international art world. He was born in Monségur, near Bordeaux, in 1926, and before becoming a painter he was apprenticed in his father's wood-working and joinery business. Then, in the war years, and with the inspiring tuition of Mildred Bendall (1891-1977), an Anglo-French artist of Fauvist colour and vigour who had taken refuge in Monségur, he began to paint, developing a figurative expressionist style of his own. Learning swiftly, he moved towards abstraction, and since then he has gone on to refine and distil an intensely painterly language of great personal freedom and distinction.
    Whitford Fine Art represents the estate of Mildred Bendall, and it is through her connection with Bernède that his work is now being offered to the British public. Bendall began to encourage Bernède in 1942, and within a few years he was publicly exhibiting work in a post-cubist idiom, using colour both structurally and emotionally. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s he showed in the yearly exhibitions of Artistes Indepéndants de Bordeaux, Groupe Sève and Groupe Le Regard.
    the late 1960s he moved into a period of colourful abstraction which lasted until 1984, when he began to experiment with the almost monochrome style which has become his trademark. 

    Whitford Fine Art offers collectors an unparalleled chance to discover an artist of the French school who has yet to be widely recognized. Although Bernède has made a good living from selling his work for more than half a century, he has only ever exhibited in the Bordeaux area. Thus his reputation, though healthy, is inevitably localized, and the demand for his work has been such that he has not needed to go farther afield for sales. Now, in a period when French modern masters are beginning to be seriously reassessed (see the recent spate of exhibitions devoted to the nonagenarian Pierre Soulages), Georges Bernède emerges fresh on the international market at highly competitive prices. 

  • Caziel

    Caziel

    In Search of a New Reality. Abstract Works from 1948 - 1955 23 May - 22 Jun 2012

    Works from this period, 1948-1954, represent Caziel's departure from figuratively informed cubism, and the start of his search for a new abstract language. Having met Picasso in 1948, they shared a studio in Paris for the following five years. Over this period Caziel exhibited alongside Vasarely, Manessier and Hartung at the Salon de Mai, annually submitting works which show reverence for the early cubist innovations of Braque and Picasso through which he arrived at his own personal brand of abstraction. 

    This exhibition brings together some of the most important and inspiring works from Caziel's early abstract period, from a time when he was at the centre of the Post-War Parisian art scene. In search of a new dimension, his art transcends the natural stimulus of figuration, bringing to life an unseen world punctuated by nuances in colour, texture and form, yet always humanistic in intention. These works represent the start of Caziel's journey into abstraction, a route which he would follow with inexhaustible passion for the rest of his life.

  • Georges Bernède

    Georges Bernède

    Material Gestures 12 Sep - 14 Oct 2011

    Born in 1926, Georges Bernède started painting in 1942. Whilst the German occupation of Paris had forced many artists to flee the French capital, Bernède's hometown of Monségur, near Bordeaux, was situated in the so-called Zone Libre, where life continued relatively uninterrupted. Under the influence of the established painter Mildred Bendall (1891-1977), who had sought refuge in Monségur, Bernède began as a figurative expressionist. Drawing on Bendall's training with Henri Matisse, Bernède used strong colour as building blocks, abandoning black tracing for shadows. These canvases were exhibited at the yearly exhibitions of the 'Artistes Indépendants de Bordeaux', the Group 'Sève' and the Group 'Le Regard' during the 1940s and 1950s.

    The post-war years heralded exciting and innovative styles of Abstraction on both sides of the Atlantic. New York's Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting echoed in its European counterpart known as 'Art Informel', with its sub-variants of Lyrical Abstraction and Tachism. Generally these styles involved paint spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work usually emphasised the physical act or 'geste' of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work. 

    Bernède first turned to Lyrical Abstraction during the early 1960s. Yet, in his continuous search to express the essence of life, to establish an analogy to musical rhythm and to touch the viewer deep into the subconscious mind, Bernède gradually grew to gestural painting, partnered with a black and white palette. Whilst being deceptively subtle, these paintings have a dynamic, spontaneous and dramatic impact through the energetic application of the paint. Bernède's paintings are easily accessible for they evoke the collective sense of an archetypal visual language, and aid a civilisation's understanding of the world through heightened self-consciousness and awareness, a concept adopted by the Action painters from Freud and Jung. 

    Although his work bears obvious similarities to that of Franz Kline, Bernède was never an imitator, for with Matisse as a starting point, his style evolved instinctively through disciplined research and progress, as his artistic development over the years testifies. 
    Bernède continues to reside and paint in Monségur, France. 

  • Kudditji Kngwarreye: My Country

    Kudditji Kngwarreye: My Country

    Travelling through Utopia 15 Oct - 5 Nov 2010

    Kudditji Kngwarreye is one of Australia's leading Aboriginal artists. He recounts his travels across his land in blocks of strong colour boasting outstanding aesthetic excellence. His art transcends the notions of time and place, thus reflecting true Aboriginal culture. Moreover, his paintings unavoidably draw strong associations with Western abstract art.

    Kudditji's knowledge of his country is as vast as the land itself, both in a physical sense and in its history and how it came into being. Born around 1928 at Alkahare, Kudditji is part of the Anmatyerre language group, whose land is situated in Utopia, North East of Alice Springs. Early in life, Kudditji learned his peoples' 'Dreamings' and as an Elder, he taught the younger boys the practical skills of hunting as well as knowledge of the ceremonial sites in Utopia. 

    Whereas most Aboriginal painters depict the actual ancestral symbols from what seems to be a hovering position above the ground, Kudditji chooses to portray the essence of his land and his travels without perspective. His paintings capture the changing moods and seasons of the territory, songs, stories, hunts and the food and waterholes of the Anmatyerre country, thus uniting the earthly and timeless perceptions associated with his culture. His colour-block paintings encompass an omnipresent point of view; stripped of the notions of time and place, they seem to have no beginning and no end. This practice inevitably brings to mind Jackson Pollock's statement 'When I am painting I have a general notion as to what I am about. I can control the flow of the paint. . . . There is no accident, just as there is no beginning and no end.' 

    Whereas Jackson Pollock relied on his intuition and his body to infuse his images with emotional force, Kudditji interprets the timeless collective memory of his people. Aesthetically Kudditji's paintings have been compared to those of Mark Rothko and Hans Hofmann, whose Colour-Field paintings practically remain unknown to Kudditji. 

    In fact, during the 1970's when Utopia station was ceded to the Aboriginal people, Kudditji drove cattle and worked in various goldmines in the Northern Territory. The younger brother of the celebrated painter Emily Kame Knwarreye, Kudditji came to painting only in 1986. Initially, he assisted his sister when she developed her own original artistic style. Stimulated by the introduction of acrylic paints, Emily painted large lyrical abstracts, contradicting previous notions of what contemporary Indigenous art meant. During the 1990s, Kudditji intuitively set out to develop his famed sister's dot and line abstracts into colour-block Abstraction. 
    Kudditji's paintings embody the vast landscape of his country, sweltering under the extreme elements, charged with the cultural symbols and stories of his people. He celebrates a rapidly disappearing way of Aboriginal life in sensational colours, thus making his art a bright torch on the path from Utopia to the modern world. 

  • Caziel

    Caziel

    Drawings and Watercolours 1935 - 1952 - The Paris Years 12 Feb - 5 Mar 2010

    Caziel adhered to the 'Ecole de Paris' years prior to settling in Paris in 1937. He attended the Warsaw Academy of FineArts, 1931-36, where the influence of French Post-Impressionist painting was omnipresent. Revered masters amongst the students and significant influences on Caziel's early development as a painter included Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse. 


    Many works of this period show a clear Cézannesque approach in technique and colouring, whereas his Fauve designs for the ballet are in the spirit of La Danse, painted by Matisse in 1910. The rhythmical succession of floating nudes expresses feelings of emotional liberations and hedonism, and evoke pagan rites as celebrated in Igor Stravinsky's ballet 'Rite of Spring' (1910-1913), as well as religious Apocalyptic beliefs as illustrated in the 11th century manuscript of Saint-Sever Beatus. In a few works, Caziel united the Post-Impressionist vocabulary with imagery and stylistic elements borrowed from Polish folklore. 


    Caziel's aspiration to emigrate to Paris finally came true in 1937 when he received a bursary. In 1939 Edouard Vuillard intervened with the Polish authorities to grant Caziel permission to stay in Paris. When in 1939 Germany declared war, Caziel voluntarily joined the Polish army in France. The 1940 Franco-German Armistice, however, forced the Polish army to disband and pushed Caziel to flee with his Jewish wife, the painter Lutka Pink. Blaise Cendrars welcomed them in Aix-en-Provence, where they stayed on and off until the autumn of 1946. It was here that Caziel had the opportunity to study the work of Cézanne in depth. 


    During his time in Aix, Caziel met Le Corbusier with whom he exchanged ideas about the integration of painting and architecture. Caziel's instinctive feeling for proportion had already earned him several prestigious commissions for frescoes back in Poland and, upon his return from Aix to Paris in 1946, he was commissioned the design of the Polish pavilion for the UNESCO International Exhibition of Modern Art. Despite appealing offers of important teaching posts from the Polish government, Caziel remained in Paris to protect Lutka from having to return to the country where all her relatives had been murdered in Auschwitz. Life in post-war Paris was hard but Caziel was stimulated by a search for a new form of pictorial space and worked profusely. 


    During his search for a different dimension, resulting in paintings where line and colour do not flatten the picture plane but projects it in front of it instead, Caziel's career gathered momentum. His first one-man show at the Galerie Allard in 1947 was followed by an invitation to join Picasso, Hans Hartung, Victor Vasarely, Alfred Manessier and others to exhibit at the prestigious 'Salon de mai'. 
    Throughout his five-year close friendship with Picasso, 1947-1951, Caziel's stylistic preoccupations were divided. Strong lyrical and expressive compositions much indebted to Picasso alternate with works revealing his quest for Abstraction. 


    During his years in Paris, Caziel was at the heart of the developments of the 'Ecole de Paris'. His move to Ponthévrard did not mean the end but the beginning of a new chapter in his life-long drive to follow his path of excellence.

  • Clive Barker

    Clive Barker

    POP NOW! 4 Jun - 3 Jul 2009

    Nearly five decades after emerging as a Pop Artist, Clive Barker continues to make sculptures characterized by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture. Today, as then Barker's art sets out to reflect its own time. Icons of advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects are removed from their context and typically isolated, combined or transformed for contemplation by the viewer. The ever-present ad-mass culture has seen to it that Pop Art has held its place and remains an exciting, vigorous art movement. 

    Barker's 1960s work by and large celebrated the possibilities and freedoms of a transformed society, segmented in chrome-plated bronze casts of the everyday, the banal or kitsch elements of our culture, often through the use of irony. 

    Although Barker's recent use of polished bronze revives the manufactured, shiny and new gift-wrapped feeling of his 1960's chrome plated objects, his present iconography is charged with a different content, as it contemplates and investigates the outcome of mass-consumerism proclaimed as the way forward during the heyday of Pop. 

    An Jo Fermon

  • Caziel:

    Caziel: "Je Suis Abstrait"

    Works from the Fifties 8 - 31 Oct 2008

    Paris - 1952
    When the legendary Cubist art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler assumed Caziel's abstract work to be an experiment from which he would return to figuration, Caziel insisted 'Non, je suis abstrait'. 

    Kahnweiler's wish to include Caziel in his stable of figurative artists headed by Picasso, occured at a time when Caziel had turned to Abstraction, ensued by the exciting developments of the movement following the end of the Second World War. 

    This exhibition reveals Caziel's early abstract work. It includes his first abstract paintings, which combine a Cubist-influenced aesthetic and geometric decomposition, alongside his mature abstract style in which lyricism and geometrical abstraction merge. With these works Caziel believed that, as possibly Picasso and Braque did when they invented Cubism, he was reaching for a higher order of reality, a new perspective, which hinted at the spiritual. 

    A highly personal expression of his epicurist belief that painting should bring joy, Caziel's work of the 1950s figures within the upbeat current which defined Paris' cultural identity in the aftermath of the Second World War.

  • Post-War to Pop

    Post-War to Pop

    Modern British Art: Abstraction, Pop & Op Art 22 May - 20 Jun 2008

    With this varied selection, the exhibition endeavors to capture the Post-war optimism and excitement, which roused the British Art scene. It reflects the spirit of an age of experiment and 'cool', celebrated through bold colours, large canvasses, irregular shapes, psychedelic optical illusions and sexy Pop Art imagery to become known as the legendary Swinging Sixties.

  • Clive Barker

    Clive Barker

    Recent Works 25 Oct - 24 Nov 2006

    Forty years after emerging as a fashionable Pop Art sculptor on the 1960s London art scene, Clive Barker continues to surprise with works defined by youthful freshness, originality, immediacy, glamour and humour in which he has retained his commitment to the Pop movement.

    Trained as a painter, Barker explored the concept of making art as consumer goods whilst working on the assembly line at Vauxhall Motors 1960-61. The implications of this realisation were profound for his work. Although Barker never pursued mass production as such, he did practise the production technique of divided labour throughout his career. Specialist craftsmanship is shown in the perfection of the casting, cutting, polishing and assembling of his works.

    As his key theme, Barker chose the transformation of commonplace objects by casting them in metal in order to make a connection between art and the post-war world of consumerism. 

  • Derek Boshier

    Derek Boshier

    POP - Works on paper from 1962 10 - 31 Mar 2006

    There seems some mystery as to why these works have not been shown before, but I suppose the simple answer is that it has been purposeful on my part. My pure POP period was very brief in comparison to the span of works until now. (March 2006). 

    Most prolific was the year 1962. Even at that time there was not a great interest in my works on paper, most focus being on the paintings, which I was selling in that year while I was still a student. A particular incident contributed to "storage ". That was a conversation with David Hockney at the Royal College of Art, after I had sold another painting (I think it was "I wonder What My Hero's think of the Space Race" sold to Phillip Grenville at the Lords Gallery?). I should have been in a good mood, but was worried that my paintings were disappearing and mentioned this to David. He replied 'You should always keep work back, save some' and of course went into more detail. 

    For some reason Grabowski at the Grabowski Gallery, was not interested in them and the only gallery I recall that did express an interest was the Arthur Jeffries Gallery, but they didn't buy anything. I think the only sale was to the Victoria and Albert Museum a predominately pencil drawing with gouache added. It was a similar image to the painting that is in the Tate Gallery Collection-"Identi- Kit Man" it should be in their collection. I have a slide of it and show it in my lecture as such. Not sure when they bought it, though, they should know. I think also the fact that immediately after the Royal College I went to India for a year on a scholarship and on my return produced work that was more Geo -Pop (shown at the Whitechapel Gallery's 1964 "New Generation" exhibition) contributed to less interest interest in the drawings * .

    There was one person, who I nearly showed this body of work and that was Marco Livingstone. I' m not sure when, but my guess would either in 1976 or 1982 when he was preparing the exhibition "Selected Drawings 1960-1982" at the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. I had a large store cupboard on the floor above my apartment in Ladbroke Gardens, in Notting Hill, and on this occasion I actually started to bring the large folder with the colour 1962 works down the stairs to show him, but changed my mind. In this respect I am glad that happened. The only oil painting I have from 1962 is Swan (reproduced in Marco's book "Pop Art-A continuing History"). I was surprised recently when Marco told me that he didn't know that I still owned Swan. I had, as part of my divorce agreement, the agreement that I would not sell Swan, that it would be given to my daughter's Rosa and Lily. They are just about to start college - your interest and the need to finance their further education is the reason I decided to release them.

    * The notion that artists had this one established signature style was very much the rule in the early sixties. Artists tended not to wander across styles and in the art world thought artist' s who did as "traitor " to " the school of ". An artist like Gerhard Richter later set a norm. Though, of course, Picasso for years was constantly manoeuvring changes. I have always used style as subject matter. 

    Derek Boshier

  • Caziel

    Caziel

    Abstraction 1963-1967 10 Sep - 8 Oct 2004

    "In 1963 Caziel was living at Ponthevrard, a small village outside Paris with his wife Catherine and me Clementina, his daughter.

    My father painting, talking, building and loving us is deeply imprinted in my memory.

    At the time one or two people accused him of deserting the Paris Art Scene and indulging in the rural idyll. They may have believed that he would not produce the work which they wanted of him and that he would sink into anonymity.

    Nothing could have been further from the truth. Caziel was personally happy - possibly for the first time. He delighted in his new family and created for us a real home - maybe another first for him. In this setting, far from the Gods and Sycophants of Paris, Caziel began to grow. He grew in confidence and self-esteem. As a result, his mind became clear of influences.

    So, like an alchemist in his laboratory, he sat down and started to search for a formula. In fact he often used to say that a great artist was like a great chef and that you had to have exactly the right ingredients and in the right quantities. He found these ingredients, lit a fire beneath them and like in a still, drip by drip, the essence fell onto the canvas and created something potent and unique.

    In this work, you can clearly see that Caziel is now his own man. His teachers may have been Giotto, Cézanne and Picasso and to the end of his life he would never betray them, but now his individual stamp had been firmly pressed on each canvas.

    Every now and again you can sense the process - little echoes from the past - but there is no hesitancy. Caziel was determined to follow his instincts and this show demonstrates a rare thing: an artist asserting himself and bowing to no living person.

    This body of work heralds the transition that continued to evolve until the end of Caziel's life."

    Clementina Stiegler

  • Clive Barker

    Clive Barker

    Recent Works 8 Nov - 8 Dec 2000

    When Barker first showed with Robert Fraser in 1966, he stirred the art world with his Van Gogh's Chair, a life-sized three dimension as interpretation in chrome plated steel of his favourite painting by Van Gogh. Impressive one-man shows soon followed, culminating in a large travelling retrospective in 1981-82. Thereafter Barker's work from the first two decades of his artistic output continued to be exhibited in major Pop Art shows in Britain and abroad, and featured in survey books on the Pop Art movement. New work, however, was seldom shown yet Barker confidently continued making his objects. Now, eighteen years after the last comprehensive showing of his sculptures this exhibition reintroduces Britain's leading Pop Art sculptor as one of the protagonists of British post-war sculpture

    For Barker the making and not the meaning of his objects is what matters. Relating to Existentialist philosophy, Barker throws his objects in the world, leaving their meaning as a process of gaining through the act of existing in itself. Herewith he delegates the process of interpretation to the viewer. With their shiny surfaces, the objects themselves, in their turn, demand attention and engage the viewer in a process of reading and interpreting.

    Ultimately, Barker's objects stand out as reminders of a different world in the present, relating to the past and future alike, thus challenging the viewer to contemplate aspects of their own being. And as one absorbs the optimism they transit, the objects gain their real meaning: that of touching and enriching one's life.

  • Pauline Boty

    Pauline Boty

    The Only Blonde in the World 25 Nov - 18 Dec 1998

    Pauline Boty (1936 - 1966) was one of the relatively few women artists to be involved with the Pop Art movement.

    After training at Wimbledon School of Art she moved in 1959 to that hub of British Pop, the Royal College of Art, where she met and worked with key figures from the movement. After graduating in 1960 and before her tragically early death in 1966, her collages and large bright canvases were exhibited in a number of group shows and in her own solo exhibition at the Grabowski Gallery in London.

    In 1962 she featured, along with Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips, in Ken Russell's film, Pop Goes the Easel.

    Various exhibitions of the Sixties in recent years have shown her contribution to painting of this period and now place Boty in the mainstream of British Pop Art. 

  • Pop & Protest

    Pop & Protest

    Adrian Henri: Art of the Sixties 7 - 27 Mar 1997

    The show's title is not only apt, but could, to my knowledge be applied to no-one else. Most of Henri's pop paintings simmered on anger and sometimes burst into flame. 

    The other unique aspect was the way they seem to be rooted in their environment. The poster-fragments, the newspaper head-lines, the Omo packets and so on come from the walls, the news vendors and rather tacky super-markets around Liverpool 8. Like his poems they reflect, not an abstract reaction to the universal, but the packet of washing powder by the sink, the cornflakes on the breakfast table or the recently empty bed. They are like journal, or at any rate fragments of a journal. 

    They are also quite frequently echoed by poems, not that the poems describe the pictures, nor the paintings illustrate the poems, they run parallel to each other, supplement each other.

     

    George Melly

  • Mildred Bendall

    Mildred Bendall

    Colours as Expression - Retrospective Exhibition 6 Jun - 5 Jul 1996

    It seems that for Mildred Bendall all the exploration, drama and excitement of life was in her art, which was like a window of a simple room opened onto an exotic garden. She was no visionary but she was constantly experimental, and in her work we have a record of her personal exploration of colour and shape. Her paintings are richly decorative, sumptuous in colour, intended to feed and stimulate the eye. They stand as a testament to her visual enjoyment of nature, and in their full and satisfying harmonies we can experience some of her enjoyment.

    Mildred saw paintings as a meditative activity, a daily commitment of looking and expressing her pleasure in what she saw by creating pictures. Although she tried all her life to keep herself and other Bordeaux artists working at the height of their endeavours, she never sought celebrity for herself. She worked for her own pleasure. In this exhibition catalogue we have the rare opportunity to see some of her best work. 

    Jane Perry

  • Caziel

    Caziel

    Paintings from 1935-1949 1 - 30 Jun 1995

    "Every painting must have it germ of mystery" - Caziel 1966

    In the Catalogue of his exhibition at the Grabowski Gallery in 1965 Caziel wrote about himself:
    "You will find in my canvases a texture which should catch the rays of light strikes it and makes the painting come to life. My paintings do not reveal themselves at the first glance. One needs patience and opportunity. I construct my space by geometric lines between which I integrate forms which have life of germinating substance."

     

    This comment puts a valuable insight on both, Caziel's early paintings and his more mature works of the 1960s.

  • Paul Van Hoeydonck

    Paul Van Hoeydonck

    Bonshommes et Boîtes à Monocles 1960-1961 3 Sep - 2 Oct 1991

    Abstract geometric works from the mid-fifties were followed by monochrome lightworks of the late fifties and early sixties. Around that time I made a series of what I called “Bonshommes” and a series of “Boîtes à Monocles”. The Bonshommes were the origins of the later robots, inspired by different objects I found at random during my working hours at my second job at the Antwerp harbour. Driftwood, scrap, rusted iron etc..., were most welcome for my work.

     

    I exhibited the Bonshommes and Boîtes à Monocles for the first time in a Brussels Gallery in 1961. As usual, they were very badly received by the critics. They resented my making use again of the human, or quasi-human figure, a taboo having being cast upon representative works at that moment. Why did I use figures after having created very puristic white on white monochromes?

     

    Paul Van Hoeydonck

  • Paul Van Hoeydonck: The Fifties

    Paul Van Hoeydonck: The Fifties

    Paintings & Collages 1955 - 1956 1 - 30 May 1990

    I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember, yet in my youth I never met a single artist.

    In 1954 Monochrome and semi-monochrome collages came directly out of the simplified semi-figurative canvases and gouaches of harbour lights. For example the Moroccan houses and rooftops of St Tropez town vies were treated as geometric pattern and harbour lights were reduced to dots of colour on an even background.

    The transition of abstract collages was done very smoothly and not under imaginary international influences. It was at this time I was working in solitary, cut off almost entirely from any art scene. The followed painted strips, colour vibration oil paintings and toy reliefs which were derived from this period.

    I was not at all aware at the time of the activities of Fontana, Manzoni or Klein. I did not meet them prior to 1959.

    Paul Van Hoeydonck

  • Mildred Bendall

    Mildred Bendall

    Selected Works from the Artist's Studio 29 Oct - 27 Dec 1987

    Mildred Bendall's appeal lies in her use of colour, her imaginative arrangement of objects and her versatile style. A cubist leaning is apparent in her art, in the clarity of her forms and the intellectual ordering of her whole compositions. Some works border on the abstract, but the artist remained on the brink; Bendall was essentially a figurative painter, recording the commonplace but personally important object of her environment. 

    Her advice to the painter Georges Bernède reveals her clear conception of her chosen artistic vocabulary:

    I hope that you will work hard. Think of suggesting space and volume through colour and not simply by adding more or less black and white to your tones, as is the custom at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts!was the ethos of a natural colourist.

    Sarah Polden