New truths about nature

April 4 2014

“Yours has been a noble life dedicated to art and teaching us new truths about nature every year you have lived.”

Muirhead Bone, whom Kenneth Clark, in his autobiography, called “the greatest virtuoso of architectural drawing since Piranesi except, perhaps, for Meryon”, to George Clausen (last post), June 16 1943.

Allotments, Evening


September Morning, The Fields

The Houses at the Back, Frosty Morning

(c) Mrs Jane Smith; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Clark himself wrote to Clausen on D-Day proposing a retrospective of his work at the National Gallery. It never happened. The first proper retrospective took place in 1980 (last post).

Top to bottom:

Allotments: Evening, RA 1928. Lost December 16 1929 when SS Manuka sank off New Zealand en route from Melbourne to Wellington. RA Collections, silver gelatin print given by Hugh Clausen, the artist’s son, 1970.

Hoeing, lithograph, c 1895.

September Morning: the Fields, c 1928, Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland.

The Houses at the Back: Frosty Morning, RA 1913, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Photograph I think from The Studio.

The Valley, RA 1915, Leeds City Art Gallery.

Oils except for Hoeing.

2 Responses to “New truths about nature”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    The September picture is too blue, probably, or perhaps not. But I can’t be bothered to go down the endless road of correction, which ends up as a roadblock, especially when I don’t have the original in front of me. The blue brings out the early morning coldness.

    Any artist who tries to combine naturalism and impressionism sets himself a problem. So we ask ourselves what the round space is in the background of The Valley. A field? A pond? The classic difficulty is: how do you suggest a face? Monet avoided the problem by hardly ever painting people.

    The composition of this painting is artificial. What is the mound on the right? Is the man working on it or behind it? Surely there can be no relationship between his and his companion’s work and the haystack. Is the bottom of the haystack dark because it is in shadow or because it has become composted? I would say shadow, but somebody else is insisting composted. It’s a mesmerising picture despite these distractions.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    Archiving art images, like backing up anything else, sounds simple until you think about what you are doing. That gelatin image of the Allotments: is the master digital copy an ultra hi-resolution tiff? Is even that durable? While this is being discussed, the original is deteriorating.

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