A selection of paintings by some of the leading British artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, including:
Derrick Greaves – Born in Sheffield in 1927, Greaves first came to the attention of the art world when he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1956 alongside other ‘Kitchen Sink’ painters after graduating from the Royal College of Art. Drawing upon gritty scenes of working class suburban life, the movement sought to make political comment through muted palettes of browns, blacks, and greys. By the end of the 1970s, however, Greaves had become disillusioned with the social realism of their earlier work. In a significant departure from his austere, representational style, he began to clear his paintings of unnecessary clutter and started implementing new stylistic and compositional techniques.
John Piper – A painter and printmaker principally working in depictions of buildings and countryside, Piper was known throughout his career as an experimental and technical artist who made the most of his chosen media. In his romantic vision of British landscapes, churches, castles, and stately homes were reproduced in virulent colour with brash and brilliant strokes. Sketchbooks were of vital use to Piper, an artist of supremely diverse talent. From the rapid pencil studies of his wife, Myfanwy, to the bold gouaches Foliate Head trials, they reveal Piper’s fresh, experimental touch at its best.
Graham Sutherland – A versatile technician and an artist of intense personal vision, Sutherland is widely considered one of the most important British artists of the 20th century. In addition to his extraordinary contribution to portraiture, public and religious commissions, and a much-lauded career as a painter in oils, Sutherland dedicated six decades of his life to printmaking and graphic design, resulting in a legacy of work that, despite its breadth, retains a powerfully unique voice. The artist George Shaw suggested that what Sutherland sought in his art was a ‘way out’ and he certainly found it in Pembrokeshire. He first discovered the west Welsh county in 1934, whose twisting estuaries, ancient root stumps and hills that sloped like dragons’ backsides instilled in him a need to paint. It was a landscape to which he would return regularly pre- and post-war, and which would inspire some of his most vital imagery.
Edward Middleditch – Middleditch was an exceptional painter dedicated wholly to nature, and one whose work has been grossly undervalued. Born in Essex in 1923, Middleditch’s career in art began after service in the Second World War, enrolling at the Royal College of Art in 1948. Alongside contemporaries including Derrick Greaves, John Bratby, and Jack Smith, he became one of the leading lights of the ‘Kitchen Sink’ school of painting that defined the British art scene of the early 1950s. Yet despite being one of the movement’s most talented members, Middleditch remained essentially an outsider. While his colleagues devoted themselves to themes of social and political realism, he was enticed solely by the intrinsic patterns of the natural world: running water, sunlight and shadows, and the abstract forms made by flower heads and rural landscapes.
Christopher P Wood – Originally hailing from Leeds, Wood graduated with a master’s degree in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art back in 1986 and has since had frequent and consistently successful one-man shows, his work now being held in numerous public and private collections. He produces pieces filled with magical figures and symbols, often with few clues as to the connections between each otherworldly element. As Wood notes, his goal is not to dictate to the viewer what they should see in his images, but rather that they should piece together their own narrative from his strange characters and landscapes and find their own way into the work.
Jenny Grevatte -Having grown up in Leicester, Grevatte acknowledges how the local surrounding countryside has influenced her subject matter, as well as the dramatic landscape of the South West coast. Much of Grevatte’s work is produced in mixed media or many layered collages, utilising different textures as well as a vibrant range of colours to express the atmosphere of her natural landscapes. Her paintings are in high demand. ‘Jenny’s pictures give pleasure to all who own them, surely one of the most important attributes of art’. – Lillian Browse (‘The Duchess of Cork Street’) Art Dealer and Historian.