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© Whitford Fine Art 2017

The Plein Air Tradition

Louise Whitford Gallery, 1982. Sold Out

The origins of late nineteenth century plein air painting in Britain are rich and diverse. Constable's freely-painted oil sketches and the popularity of French impressionist landscapes were influential. In addition, there was a growing trend for artists to leave their studios in London in exchange for the country life.

However, it is not only the social meaning that these plein air paintings had within a nineteenth century context that one should consider. The looser, more spontaneous brush techniques and the smaller canvases they used illustrate a change in thinking about the nature of painting which had significant effect on British art. It is not coincidence that many of the artists in this catalogue were early members of the New English Art Club which was started by young artists in 1886. Under its auspices they held exhibitions of their own paintings because they felt that they were not being given due attention by the establishment exhibiting institutions in Britain. This marked the beginning of the modern movement in Britain.

Anna Gruetzner, 1982