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Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes

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781906 043148

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

ISBN 978-1-906043-14-8

Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes


Exultant Strangeness Graham Sutherland Landscapes Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal 29 June - 15 September 2013 A selection of works from the exhibition will be shown at: Crane Kalman Gallery, London 26 September – 16 November 2013

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Foreward - The Lakeland Arts Trust

Foreward - Crane Kalman Gallery

Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes is the first significant exhibition of the British artist

It has been a pleasure to work with Helen Watson and Nick Rogers on the Graham Sutherland Exhibition

Graham Sutherland (1903-1980) to be shown in the North West. Offering an opportunity for a closer

at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and very nice to collaborate on this exhibition with Andrew Lambirth.

examination of Sutherland’s landscapes the exhibition features more than 40 paintings and works on paper. Sutherland was the unofficial leader of the Neo-Romantic movement, spearheading a return to a visionary conception of the British landscape after the devastation of the Second World War. This exhibition will explore Sutherland’s surreal transformation of the natural forms he chanced upon, which he termed ‘accidental encounters’, twisting them into striking, dramatic compositions imbued with an ‘exultant strangeness’ and illuminated by the elemental power of the artist’s imagination.

We are very grateful to the private collectors who have been so generous in lending paintings to the exhibition. We are also very appreciative to the public galleries and the British Council for their kind loans. Sally Kalman Director, Crane Kalman Gallery

We have selected works from public collections including Tate, National Galleries of Scotland and National Museum Wales as well as private collections in the UK and from the Trust’s own permanent collection. Abbot Hall is beside the River Kent on the edge of one of Britain’s most famous landscapes in the Lake District National Park, with its breathtaking mountains, lakes, meres and upland hill farms. What better place is there to view landscape works by this brilliant artist? The Art Gallery has a long history of acquiring works featuring landscape for the permanent collection, from JMW Turner’s magnificent The Passage of Mount St Gothard from the Centre of Teufels Broch, 1804, to Andy Goldsworthy’s photographs set on a wintery mountain Slits Cut into Frozen Snow, Stormy.... Blencathra, Cumbria, 12 February 1988. We are delighted that the noted writer, art critic and curator Andrew Lambirth has written an illuminating essay for the catalogue. Nick Rogers, curator of the exhibition, writes on Graham Sutherland in relation to the landscape tradition as represented by the Trust’s superb collection of historic watercolours. No exhibition is possible without the support of the lenders who have generously parted with their works for the duration of the show. We would like to thank, in particular, Sally Kalman and her colleagues at Crane Kalman Gallery, London for collaborating on this exhibition and for securing a significant number of loans from private collections, many of which have rarely been seen in public before. In addition, we would like to thank Megan Pockley at Christies, Pat Banks at the Bowerman Charitable Trust, Lindsey McCormick at the Harris Museum and Gallery, Preston, Diana Eccles at the British Council, Mr and Mrs Andrew Adcock, Simon Lake and Claire Cooper at Leicester Arts and Museums, Becky Rhodes at Tate, Greta Casacci at the National Galleries of Scotland, Gerard Taylor and Susan Minter, Oliver Fairclough and Clare Smith at the National Museum Wales, and Julian Machin and The Radev Collection, as well as all the private lenders who have allowed us to borrow their works. The Lakeland Arts Trust would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the Indemnity. Finally, we thank colleagues at the Lakeland Arts Trust who have contributed to the development and mounting of the exhibition and compiling and designing the catalogue.

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Gordon Watson,

Helen Watson

Chief Executive

Director Exhibitions & Collections

CRANE KALMAN GALLERY Ltd Est. 1949

178 Brompton Road, London SW3 1HQ www.cranekalman.com

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Foreward - The Lakeland Arts Trust

Foreward - Crane Kalman Gallery

Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes is the first significant exhibition of the British artist

It has been a pleasure to work with Helen Watson and Nick Rogers on the Graham Sutherland Exhibition

Graham Sutherland (1903-1980) to be shown in the North West. Offering an opportunity for a closer

at Abbot Hall Art Gallery and very nice to collaborate on this exhibition with Andrew Lambirth.

examination of Sutherland’s landscapes the exhibition features more than 40 paintings and works on paper. Sutherland was the unofficial leader of the Neo-Romantic movement, spearheading a return to a visionary conception of the British landscape after the devastation of the Second World War. This exhibition will explore Sutherland’s surreal transformation of the natural forms he chanced upon, which he termed ‘accidental encounters’, twisting them into striking, dramatic compositions imbued with an ‘exultant strangeness’ and illuminated by the elemental power of the artist’s imagination.

We are very grateful to the private collectors who have been so generous in lending paintings to the exhibition. We are also very appreciative to the public galleries and the British Council for their kind loans. Sally Kalman Director, Crane Kalman Gallery

We have selected works from public collections including Tate, National Galleries of Scotland and National Museum Wales as well as private collections in the UK and from the Trust’s own permanent collection. Abbot Hall is beside the River Kent on the edge of one of Britain’s most famous landscapes in the Lake District National Park, with its breathtaking mountains, lakes, meres and upland hill farms. What better place is there to view landscape works by this brilliant artist? The Art Gallery has a long history of acquiring works featuring landscape for the permanent collection, from JMW Turner’s magnificent The Passage of Mount St Gothard from the Centre of Teufels Broch, 1804, to Andy Goldsworthy’s photographs set on a wintery mountain Slits Cut into Frozen Snow, Stormy.... Blencathra, Cumbria, 12 February 1988. We are delighted that the noted writer, art critic and curator Andrew Lambirth has written an illuminating essay for the catalogue. Nick Rogers, curator of the exhibition, writes on Graham Sutherland in relation to the landscape tradition as represented by the Trust’s superb collection of historic watercolours. No exhibition is possible without the support of the lenders who have generously parted with their works for the duration of the show. We would like to thank, in particular, Sally Kalman and her colleagues at Crane Kalman Gallery, London for collaborating on this exhibition and for securing a significant number of loans from private collections, many of which have rarely been seen in public before. In addition, we would like to thank Megan Pockley at Christies, Pat Banks at the Bowerman Charitable Trust, Lindsey McCormick at the Harris Museum and Gallery, Preston, Diana Eccles at the British Council, Mr and Mrs Andrew Adcock, Simon Lake and Claire Cooper at Leicester Arts and Museums, Becky Rhodes at Tate, Greta Casacci at the National Galleries of Scotland, Gerard Taylor and Susan Minter, Oliver Fairclough and Clare Smith at the National Museum Wales, and Julian Machin and The Radev Collection, as well as all the private lenders who have allowed us to borrow their works. The Lakeland Arts Trust would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the Indemnity. Finally, we thank colleagues at the Lakeland Arts Trust who have contributed to the development and mounting of the exhibition and compiling and designing the catalogue.

2

Gordon Watson,

Helen Watson

Chief Executive

Director Exhibitions & Collections

CRANE KALMAN GALLERY Ltd Est. 1949

178 Brompton Road, London SW3 1HQ www.cranekalman.com

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Paraphrasing the Visible Graham Sutherland (1903-80) is best known as a romantic and visionary landscape painter, whose work began in southern England (specifically Kent, with its echoes of Samuel Palmer), and then moved to southern Wales, which Sutherland made his own. Later he shifted his base of operations for half the year to the south of France, with a corresponding brightening and intensification of palette. To a certain extent, Sutherland became calculatedly European, intending his work to be seen and to hold its own in the international context of Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Miró and de Chirico. His strategy was successful: the Italians became his greatest patrons, adopting him whole-heartedly for their own. But at what cost to the artist? It can be seen now that Sutherland’s work lost some of its edge and impact: his imagery flourished best under the subtle light of England and Wales, and became comparatively de-sensitised in the implacable brightness of the Mediterranean. Sutherland came to painting late after a first career as an etcher, but this relative maturity may well have been an advantage. Certainly he began to produce immensely powerful work in the mid-1930s, and there remains a widely-held belief that as a landscape painter he peaked early, that the first Welsh period (1934-44) represents the highpoint of his achievement. He was aware of this identification of his best work with a particular place, and mockingly referred to himself as ‘G. Pembrokeshire Sutherland’. Perhaps as a contrast to this provincialism, he thoroughly enjoyed his later success in Europe and a degree of popular fame at home, aided and abetted by regular appearances in the newspapers. Ironically, this has told against him: there is a feeling that artists of the recent past who achieved this sort of popular acclaim did so only by a loss of seriousness. This is what might be called the Lowry Syndrome, and invariably results in Establishment disapproval of a painter with a genuine popular following. (Revealingly, this does not seem to apply to living artists with a devoted public, such as Damien Hirst or Tracy Emin.) Since his death, Sutherland’s reputation has taken time to find its proper level: he is only now being granted the kind of serious reassessment an artist of his stature deserves. This exhibition is an important part of that rehabilitation. Throughout the later 1920s, Sutherland was involved in the etching boom in England, an Americandominated market which collapsed with the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Heavily influenced by Samuel Palmer, Sutherland made pleasing images of bucolic serenity which were not only popular but highly regarded. For instance, Campbell Dodgson, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the V&A, was among the admirers (and purchasers) of Sutherland’s prints. There was an unexpectedly memorable quality to these etchings. As Roger Berthoud, Sutherland’s biographer, has observed: ‘One of the things that fascinated Graham about Palmer’s work was the way in which a strong emotion could change and transform the appearance of things. It was an idea that never left him.’ By the time of Pastoral (1930), a broodingly dramatic image, the first intimations of Sutherland’s originality have emerged, taking Palmer’s essentially Christian vision and reinvesting it with something altogether more pantheistic. For Sutherland, there was too much information in nature. When he started applying himself in the early 1930s to the science of oil painting, after the trade in etchings failed, he did sit down to copy what was in front of him, but this proved unsatisfactory. (He destroyed most of these early oils.) Then in the spring of 1934 he discovered ‘the exultant strangeness’ of Pembrokeshire and realised that all former approaches

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Graham Sutherland, 1943 © Lee Miller Archives 2013

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Paraphrasing the Visible Graham Sutherland (1903-80) is best known as a romantic and visionary landscape painter, whose work began in southern England (specifically Kent, with its echoes of Samuel Palmer), and then moved to southern Wales, which Sutherland made his own. Later he shifted his base of operations for half the year to the south of France, with a corresponding brightening and intensification of palette. To a certain extent, Sutherland became calculatedly European, intending his work to be seen and to hold its own in the international context of Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Miró and de Chirico. His strategy was successful: the Italians became his greatest patrons, adopting him whole-heartedly for their own. But at what cost to the artist? It can be seen now that Sutherland’s work lost some of its edge and impact: his imagery flourished best under the subtle light of England and Wales, and became comparatively de-sensitised in the implacable brightness of the Mediterranean. Sutherland came to painting late after a first career as an etcher, but this relative maturity may well have been an advantage. Certainly he began to produce immensely powerful work in the mid-1930s, and there remains a widely-held belief that as a landscape painter he peaked early, that the first Welsh period (1934-44) represents the highpoint of his achievement. He was aware of this identification of his best work with a particular place, and mockingly referred to himself as ‘G. Pembrokeshire Sutherland’. Perhaps as a contrast to this provincialism, he thoroughly enjoyed his later success in Europe and a degree of popular fame at home, aided and abetted by regular appearances in the newspapers. Ironically, this has told against him: there is a feeling that artists of the recent past who achieved this sort of popular acclaim did so only by a loss of seriousness. This is what might be called the Lowry Syndrome, and invariably results in Establishment disapproval of a painter with a genuine popular following. (Revealingly, this does not seem to apply to living artists with a devoted public, such as Damien Hirst or Tracy Emin.) Since his death, Sutherland’s reputation has taken time to find its proper level: he is only now being granted the kind of serious reassessment an artist of his stature deserves. This exhibition is an important part of that rehabilitation. Throughout the later 1920s, Sutherland was involved in the etching boom in England, an Americandominated market which collapsed with the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Heavily influenced by Samuel Palmer, Sutherland made pleasing images of bucolic serenity which were not only popular but highly regarded. For instance, Campbell Dodgson, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the V&A, was among the admirers (and purchasers) of Sutherland’s prints. There was an unexpectedly memorable quality to these etchings. As Roger Berthoud, Sutherland’s biographer, has observed: ‘One of the things that fascinated Graham about Palmer’s work was the way in which a strong emotion could change and transform the appearance of things. It was an idea that never left him.’ By the time of Pastoral (1930), a broodingly dramatic image, the first intimations of Sutherland’s originality have emerged, taking Palmer’s essentially Christian vision and reinvesting it with something altogether more pantheistic. For Sutherland, there was too much information in nature. When he started applying himself in the early 1930s to the science of oil painting, after the trade in etchings failed, he did sit down to copy what was in front of him, but this proved unsatisfactory. (He destroyed most of these early oils.) Then in the spring of 1934 he discovered ‘the exultant strangeness’ of Pembrokeshire and realised that all former approaches

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Graham Sutherland, 1943 © Lee Miller Archives 2013

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would not suffice. He was newly inspired by rock formations and shapes in the estuarial mud, by the bleached and sea-worn roots of trees, and by the evidence of tide and wind erosion, a quality of ancient presence he wanted to capture. Not for him the obvious subject; instead he developed an oblique method of close but glancing observation during a walk, which might include making notes of specific forms. Later in the studio he would ponder over his drawings, aiming to respond to the landscape on a deeper level, waiting for a significant idea to emerge from the encounter. The sifting process of memory was crucial, though Sutherland strove to retain the compact freshness of the initial experience. His approach was one of constant simplifying and clarifying: a process of distillation to find the essence of a subject. Sutherland cultivated a deliberate indirection of imagery: it is not straightforward and declarative, but suggestive and allusive, sometimes to the point of being uncertain and indistinct. This seeming diffidence troubles some viewers. (One painter friend of mine describes Sutherland’s work as ‘a chronicle of indecision’.) But the very lack of definition allows the viewer to bring to an image something of his or her own response: not only that, but it also allows the imagery to breathe and develop, rather than become fixed and inflexible. The best of Sutherland’s paintings remain fluid and potent in this process of becoming, but also possess a sense of restlessness and anxiety, perhaps betokening an uneasy relationship with the world. If Sutherland’s landscapes are tortured, it is because the painter’s role is to reflect the temper of the times through which he lives, and the human condition in the twentieth century was full of horrors. In this respect, Sutherland’s vigorous use of black takes on a new resonance. Notice the importance of shadows in his compositions – black forms penetrating the vivid colours, and the rushing, scurrying shadows with a suggestion of Rouault (and all his complex spirituality) in their darkness. From Sutherland’s predilection for folding and enfolding forms, interlocking yet explosive (the dynamic movement of colliding hills in Pembrokeshire Landscape, for instance), his interest in a tension of opposites is apparent. As his friend John Craxton told me: ‘Sutherland didn’t want to take on ready-made subjects. Like all modern painters he wanted to create a landscape out of himself.’ His compositions united exuberance and decay, matching opulent arabesques with the articulation of valleys by winding roads. Shapes shifted meaning: this is a metaphoric as well as a metamorphic art, like the work of Picasso, Miró or Moore, all of whom Sutherland admired. The linear emphasis of the etchings relaxed into a more hesitant line. Dark and doomy traceries of ink adumbrate congested huddled forms, dense compositions of buttocky hills, rooty and twisted tree limbs, lumpy and bulbous, writhing, half-human in their arrested urgency. This is landscape explored through the mind, stage-managed and re-presented, with contrasting brushy areas of soft colour, and strident juxtapositions of passionate mood. In the resulting all-over richness, earth and sky are often closely related in colour. Yellow and orange predominate, as if Sutherland wanted to startle the eye and jolt the mind out of preconceptions (such as the received opinion that the sky is blue). Here was an arbitrary use of invented, symbolic, essentially non-descriptive colour, mustard yellow, purple, phosphorescent green, intended to express emotion rather than provide a topographical account of a place and type of country under certain weather conditions. The period 1938-47 saw Sutherland at his most esteemed by fellow British artists and critics; after that his reputation moved into the public domain (which always lags somewhat behind the avant-garde), and

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would not suffice. He was newly inspired by rock formations and shapes in the estuarial mud, by the bleached and sea-worn roots of trees, and by the evidence of tide and wind erosion, a quality of ancient presence he wanted to capture. Not for him the obvious subject; instead he developed an oblique method of close but glancing observation during a walk, which might include making notes of specific forms. Later in the studio he would ponder over his drawings, aiming to respond to the landscape on a deeper level, waiting for a significant idea to emerge from the encounter. The sifting process of memory was crucial, though Sutherland strove to retain the compact freshness of the initial experience. His approach was one of constant simplifying and clarifying: a process of distillation to find the essence of a subject. Sutherland cultivated a deliberate indirection of imagery: it is not straightforward and declarative, but suggestive and allusive, sometimes to the point of being uncertain and indistinct. This seeming diffidence troubles some viewers. (One painter friend of mine describes Sutherland’s work as ‘a chronicle of indecision’.) But the very lack of definition allows the viewer to bring to an image something of his or her own response: not only that, but it also allows the imagery to breathe and develop, rather than become fixed and inflexible. The best of Sutherland’s paintings remain fluid and potent in this process of becoming, but also possess a sense of restlessness and anxiety, perhaps betokening an uneasy relationship with the world. If Sutherland’s landscapes are tortured, it is because the painter’s role is to reflect the temper of the times through which he lives, and the human condition in the twentieth century was full of horrors. In this respect, Sutherland’s vigorous use of black takes on a new resonance. Notice the importance of shadows in his compositions – black forms penetrating the vivid colours, and the rushing, scurrying shadows with a suggestion of Rouault (and all his complex spirituality) in their darkness. From Sutherland’s predilection for folding and enfolding forms, interlocking yet explosive (the dynamic movement of colliding hills in Pembrokeshire Landscape, for instance), his interest in a tension of opposites is apparent. As his friend John Craxton told me: ‘Sutherland didn’t want to take on ready-made subjects. Like all modern painters he wanted to create a landscape out of himself.’ His compositions united exuberance and decay, matching opulent arabesques with the articulation of valleys by winding roads. Shapes shifted meaning: this is a metaphoric as well as a metamorphic art, like the work of Picasso, Miró or Moore, all of whom Sutherland admired. The linear emphasis of the etchings relaxed into a more hesitant line. Dark and doomy traceries of ink adumbrate congested huddled forms, dense compositions of buttocky hills, rooty and twisted tree limbs, lumpy and bulbous, writhing, half-human in their arrested urgency. This is landscape explored through the mind, stage-managed and re-presented, with contrasting brushy areas of soft colour, and strident juxtapositions of passionate mood. In the resulting all-over richness, earth and sky are often closely related in colour. Yellow and orange predominate, as if Sutherland wanted to startle the eye and jolt the mind out of preconceptions (such as the received opinion that the sky is blue). Here was an arbitrary use of invented, symbolic, essentially non-descriptive colour, mustard yellow, purple, phosphorescent green, intended to express emotion rather than provide a topographical account of a place and type of country under certain weather conditions. The period 1938-47 saw Sutherland at his most esteemed by fellow British artists and critics; after that his reputation moved into the public domain (which always lags somewhat behind the avant-garde), and

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then successfully travelled abroad. Foreign critics began to assert that Sutherland had re-discovered the universality of Constable and Turner. Certainly he had striven to make his work more international. From Picasso, Sutherland learned much about the expressive use of form; from Matisse, about space and colour. His was a vision dealing, in true modernist fashion, with fragments. Sutherland’s work encompasses the atmospheric English Romantic tradition of nature, the external world of the senses, of wild, untamed landscape, with the analytical world of the inner life, the life of the mind, equally dark and wild, but with perhaps a more European self-consciousness. Thus he tried to unite two differing traditions, in what was often only an uneasy truce. His best imagery appears in the work based on Pembrokeshire, to which he returned late in life, when he realised what he had separated himself from – the boulders, the gorse, the horned and bifurcated tree-stumps, the land which gave rise to the magnificent Entrance to a Lane, perhaps his greatest masterpiece. A place, especially Pembrokeshire, was for Sutherland a vocabulary of forms and intervals related by rhythms. He would select one of these forms and isolate it from its environment in order to paraphrase and interpret it, later re-presenting his findings in terms of paintings, drawings and prints. He played down the scenic and promoted the conceptual in landscape, focusing on the abstract and formal. He was not concerned to paint an equivalent to nature, but rather a personal response that exists in parallel to the source of his inspiration. His forms were almost always based on the principles of organic growth, however much some of his later more contorted landscapes look like arrangements of flasks, retorts and test-tubes from a chemistry lab. These are not inventions but interpretations, discovering in the landscape not just a suggestion of vegetal and mineral structure, but human anatomy (often with a discernible trace of the erotic), architecture, oval and conglomerate forms. Like a poet, Sutherland makes us aware of ordinary things which we might not notice or pay proper attention to – the underlying structure behind appearances, the shapes and coincidences which go together to make the greater pattern. He chose to approach his subject in two apparently contradictory ways: that of simplifying nature by choosing an element from the landscape and focusing upon it; and that of re-complicating it by delving into the formal resonances of the chosen element and giving them free reign. In other words, he disengaged an aspect of landscape and then unravelled it, revealing a new disposition from its constituent parts. He painted the hidden elaborations of the natural world, not its obvious face. The eye passes over so much, without due attention or real observation. Sutherland isolated details from the landscape and presented them, in all their strangeness and unfamiliarity, to our gaze, thus significantly adding to our understanding and appreciation of the world about us. Andrew Lambirth

Andrew Lambirth is a writer, critic and curator. He has written on art for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, Modern Painters and RA, the Royal Academy magazine. Among his many books are monographs on John Armstrong, Roger Hilton, Maggi Hambling, John Hoyland, Margaret Mellis, Allen Jones, LS Lowry, David Inshaw and RB Kitaj. He has curated exhibitions of work by Eileen Agar, Peter Blake, Maggi Hambling and Roger Hilton for various museums and public galleries. He is currently art critic of The Spectator and lives in Suffolk. His Spectator reviews have recently been collected in a paperback entitled A is a Critic.

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then successfully travelled abroad. Foreign critics began to assert that Sutherland had re-discovered the universality of Constable and Turner. Certainly he had striven to make his work more international. From Picasso, Sutherland learned much about the expressive use of form; from Matisse, about space and colour. His was a vision dealing, in true modernist fashion, with fragments. Sutherland’s work encompasses the atmospheric English Romantic tradition of nature, the external world of the senses, of wild, untamed landscape, with the analytical world of the inner life, the life of the mind, equally dark and wild, but with perhaps a more European self-consciousness. Thus he tried to unite two differing traditions, in what was often only an uneasy truce. His best imagery appears in the work based on Pembrokeshire, to which he returned late in life, when he realised what he had separated himself from – the boulders, the gorse, the horned and bifurcated tree-stumps, the land which gave rise to the magnificent Entrance to a Lane, perhaps his greatest masterpiece. A place, especially Pembrokeshire, was for Sutherland a vocabulary of forms and intervals related by rhythms. He would select one of these forms and isolate it from its environment in order to paraphrase and interpret it, later re-presenting his findings in terms of paintings, drawings and prints. He played down the scenic and promoted the conceptual in landscape, focusing on the abstract and formal. He was not concerned to paint an equivalent to nature, but rather a personal response that exists in parallel to the source of his inspiration. His forms were almost always based on the principles of organic growth, however much some of his later more contorted landscapes look like arrangements of flasks, retorts and test-tubes from a chemistry lab. These are not inventions but interpretations, discovering in the landscape not just a suggestion of vegetal and mineral structure, but human anatomy (often with a discernible trace of the erotic), architecture, oval and conglomerate forms. Like a poet, Sutherland makes us aware of ordinary things which we might not notice or pay proper attention to – the underlying structure behind appearances, the shapes and coincidences which go together to make the greater pattern. He chose to approach his subject in two apparently contradictory ways: that of simplifying nature by choosing an element from the landscape and focusing upon it; and that of re-complicating it by delving into the formal resonances of the chosen element and giving them free reign. In other words, he disengaged an aspect of landscape and then unravelled it, revealing a new disposition from its constituent parts. He painted the hidden elaborations of the natural world, not its obvious face. The eye passes over so much, without due attention or real observation. Sutherland isolated details from the landscape and presented them, in all their strangeness and unfamiliarity, to our gaze, thus significantly adding to our understanding and appreciation of the world about us. Andrew Lambirth

Andrew Lambirth is a writer, critic and curator. He has written on art for a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, Modern Painters and RA, the Royal Academy magazine. Among his many books are monographs on John Armstrong, Roger Hilton, Maggi Hambling, John Hoyland, Margaret Mellis, Allen Jones, LS Lowry, David Inshaw and RB Kitaj. He has curated exhibitions of work by Eileen Agar, Peter Blake, Maggi Hambling and Roger Hilton for various museums and public galleries. He is currently art critic of The Spectator and lives in Suffolk. His Spectator reviews have recently been collected in a paperback entitled A is a Critic.

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A Landscape One Can Hold in One’s Hand For hundreds of years, artists have responded to the call of the wild, seeking inspiration from the rugged beauty of far-flung places in the British Isles. One such destination is the Lake District which has served as a Mecca for itinerant artists drawn to the sublime and picturesque aspects of its varied landscape. Abbot Hall Art Gallery has the collection to prove it - a vast array of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century watercolours by painters both amateur and professional alike. Some sought picturesque effects, looking to edit and manipulate the components in the scene before them to create a harmonious composition that is pleasing to the eye, while others felt the pull (and commercial appeal) of the sublime and chose to emphasise the overwhelming power and grandeur of the landscape. The Lake District was never a source of inspiration for Graham Sutherland, however. What would he have made of its perfect picture-postcard beauty, its sylvan vistas framed by gently bowed boughs, its broken crags mirrored in glassy lakes? Sutherland found creative sustenance in a different environmentPembrokeshire - whose varied scenery, covered lanes, estuaries, hills and lush fields provided fertile ground for the transformative powers of his imagination, in the same way that Picasso, a hugely influential figure for Sutherland, used the mundane still-life as a springboard for magical explorations of form, space, and perception. ‘I wish I could give you some idea of the exultant strangeness of this place’, Sutherland wrote of Pembrokeshire in his essay A Welsh Sketch Book of 1942, ‘for strange it certainly is, many people whom I know hate it, and I cannot but admit that it possesses an element of disquiet. The whole setting is one of exuberance - of darkness and light - of decay and life. Rarely have I been so conscious of the contrasting of these elements in so small a compass’. Not for Sutherland the geographical extremities and physical grandeur of the ‘sublime’ scenery encountered in certain parts of the Lake District, North Wales or Highlands of Scotland. For him, the allure of the Pembrokeshire landscape lay in its human scale and sense of proximity - a sensual realm in which every element feels within reach. ‘Can you imagine anything more boring than mountain gorges?’ he asked in 1951, perhaps having in mind the kind of imagery favoured by artists such as JMW Turner in the early part of the nineteenth century: the terrifying, vertiginous ravine and towering rocks in Turner’s The Passage of Mount St Gothard from the centre of Teufels Broch (Devil’s Bridge) (fig.1), whose immensity is defined by the mules and minute figures braving the narrow balcony path, offer no thrills for Sutherland. It is the microcosmic elements of a scene such as this that hold the key: ‘If you were to take a piece of lichen from a rock in one of these gorges, or pick up a shaped stone, a drawing of these would seem to be more interesting, because man, after all, could have plucked the lichen off the rock and picked up the stone’. Sutherland was less interested in depicting nature as an overwhelming, sublime force so much as a substitute for man - what need of people in his seething, self-contained world, populated by menacing trees, insect-hedges and prehistoric hills enacting their own private dramas? This vision of nature as an independent force prevails on and off throughout Sutherland’s career but is expressed most energetically in the works from the first 20 years or so of his life as a professional artist. Fig.1

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A Landscape One Can Hold in One’s Hand For hundreds of years, artists have responded to the call of the wild, seeking inspiration from the rugged beauty of far-flung places in the British Isles. One such destination is the Lake District which has served as a Mecca for itinerant artists drawn to the sublime and picturesque aspects of its varied landscape. Abbot Hall Art Gallery has the collection to prove it - a vast array of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century watercolours by painters both amateur and professional alike. Some sought picturesque effects, looking to edit and manipulate the components in the scene before them to create a harmonious composition that is pleasing to the eye, while others felt the pull (and commercial appeal) of the sublime and chose to emphasise the overwhelming power and grandeur of the landscape. The Lake District was never a source of inspiration for Graham Sutherland, however. What would he have made of its perfect picture-postcard beauty, its sylvan vistas framed by gently bowed boughs, its broken crags mirrored in glassy lakes? Sutherland found creative sustenance in a different environmentPembrokeshire - whose varied scenery, covered lanes, estuaries, hills and lush fields provided fertile ground for the transformative powers of his imagination, in the same way that Picasso, a hugely influential figure for Sutherland, used the mundane still-life as a springboard for magical explorations of form, space, and perception. ‘I wish I could give you some idea of the exultant strangeness of this place’, Sutherland wrote of Pembrokeshire in his essay A Welsh Sketch Book of 1942, ‘for strange it certainly is, many people whom I know hate it, and I cannot but admit that it possesses an element of disquiet. The whole setting is one of exuberance - of darkness and light - of decay and life. Rarely have I been so conscious of the contrasting of these elements in so small a compass’. Not for Sutherland the geographical extremities and physical grandeur of the ‘sublime’ scenery encountered in certain parts of the Lake District, North Wales or Highlands of Scotland. For him, the allure of the Pembrokeshire landscape lay in its human scale and sense of proximity - a sensual realm in which every element feels within reach. ‘Can you imagine anything more boring than mountain gorges?’ he asked in 1951, perhaps having in mind the kind of imagery favoured by artists such as JMW Turner in the early part of the nineteenth century: the terrifying, vertiginous ravine and towering rocks in Turner’s The Passage of Mount St Gothard from the centre of Teufels Broch (Devil’s Bridge) (fig.1), whose immensity is defined by the mules and minute figures braving the narrow balcony path, offer no thrills for Sutherland. It is the microcosmic elements of a scene such as this that hold the key: ‘If you were to take a piece of lichen from a rock in one of these gorges, or pick up a shaped stone, a drawing of these would seem to be more interesting, because man, after all, could have plucked the lichen off the rock and picked up the stone’. Sutherland was less interested in depicting nature as an overwhelming, sublime force so much as a substitute for man - what need of people in his seething, self-contained world, populated by menacing trees, insect-hedges and prehistoric hills enacting their own private dramas? This vision of nature as an independent force prevails on and off throughout Sutherland’s career but is expressed most energetically in the works from the first 20 years or so of his life as a professional artist. Fig.1

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The densely-worked etchings of the 1920s present a pantheistic vision of the world, with man a shadowy presence in the landscape; they betray a clear debt to the prints of William Blake and, in particular, Samuel Palmer, whom Sutherland and his contemporaries held in very high esteem. The influence of a Palmer etching such as The Herdsman’s Cottage (fig.2), a copy of which was owned by Sutherland, can be discerned in a number of the prints in this exhibition - the glaring shafts of light that pierce the gloom in Village, for instance, or the rays of the sun bursting through the trees in Cray Fields. The people in these works are not deployed to heighten the sense of scale - rather, they do quite the reverse and pull the surrounding landscape down to human dimensions. One of Sutherland’s last etchings from the early phase of his career, Pastoral of 1930, is the natural culmination of this run of Palmer-inspired landscapes, its anthropomorphic trees-trunks taking the role of protagonists. It marks the beginning of a series of extraordinary pictures where trees and vegetation are imbued with their own distinct character, taking us from the stylised Red Tree of 1936 through to Entrance to a Lane, 1939, Association of Oaks, 1939-40, and Green Tree Form of 1940. These are not merely studies of natural forms, they are, as Sutherland’s friend Edward Sackville-West presciently described them in 1943 (some six years before Sutherland painted Somerset Maugham’s likeness), portraits of natural forms. Sutherland’s re-engagement with the Pembrokeshire landscape in the 1960s, after an extended hiatus spent in the south of France and at work on his gigantic Coventry Cathedral tapestry, reawakened his passion for its exuberance and ‘exultant strangeness’. If his early depictions of animal-like organic forms could be seen as providing a template for the society portraits he embarked on from 1949 onwards, it is historic portraiture that provided the inspiration for many of his late, monumental landscapes, such as Untitled, Wavelike Form, 1976, or Trees with a G-shaped Form I, 1972, which bring to mind the precisely-arranged, hieratic compositions of Italian Renaissance portraits. This focus on solitary natural features is not without precedent in traditional landscape painting. Joseph Wright of Derby, a versatile multi-disciplined artist who, like Sutherland, became a celebrated society portraitist, painted The Bowder Stone, Borrowdale (fig.3) during a tour of the Lake District in the 1786. The fame of this Lakeland landmark rests in its enormous bulk: 2000 tonnes of precariously-teetering erratic boulder, ten metres high, which has been a popular visitor attraction since the discovery of the region by tourists in the eighteenth century. Yet the artist chooses to depict it with no human or animal presence to give it a sense of scale. It is as if this giant stone, with its mop of wild hair-like vegetation, and craggy, expressive facets, is enough of a living presence on its own, like the rocks, trees, thorns and roots that inhabit Sutherland’s works. In the nineteenth century, the prophet of the natural world and greatest advocate for the close study of nature was John Ruskin, a critic, poet and social campaigner who was also capable of producing wonderfully vivid, lively and intensely-observed watercolours of the landscape. His Chamouni: Rocks and Vegatation (fig.4) is inspired by his lifelong passion for geology and nature, itself underpinned by an intense religious conviction (Presbyterianism as opposed to Sutherland’s Catholicism). Ruskin does not seek merely to replicate every nook and crevice of the stone with total scientific exactitude; rather, this vibrant, vigorous painting is all about capturing the essence of this rock in its natural surroundings the central area, intensely detailed, is almost engulfed by lush vegetation, gushing water and a general feeling of nature in all her abundance crowding the picture. It is a delicate balance between the firm and Fig.2

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The densely-worked etchings of the 1920s present a pantheistic vision of the world, with man a shadowy presence in the landscape; they betray a clear debt to the prints of William Blake and, in particular, Samuel Palmer, whom Sutherland and his contemporaries held in very high esteem. The influence of a Palmer etching such as The Herdsman’s Cottage (fig.2), a copy of which was owned by Sutherland, can be discerned in a number of the prints in this exhibition - the glaring shafts of light that pierce the gloom in Village, for instance, or the rays of the sun bursting through the trees in Cray Fields. The people in these works are not deployed to heighten the sense of scale - rather, they do quite the reverse and pull the surrounding landscape down to human dimensions. One of Sutherland’s last etchings from the early phase of his career, Pastoral of 1930, is the natural culmination of this run of Palmer-inspired landscapes, its anthropomorphic trees-trunks taking the role of protagonists. It marks the beginning of a series of extraordinary pictures where trees and vegetation are imbued with their own distinct character, taking us from the stylised Red Tree of 1936 through to Entrance to a Lane, 1939, Association of Oaks, 1939-40, and Green Tree Form of 1940. These are not merely studies of natural forms, they are, as Sutherland’s friend Edward Sackville-West presciently described them in 1943 (some six years before Sutherland painted Somerset Maugham’s likeness), portraits of natural forms. Sutherland’s re-engagement with the Pembrokeshire landscape in the 1960s, after an extended hiatus spent in the south of France and at work on his gigantic Coventry Cathedral tapestry, reawakened his passion for its exuberance and ‘exultant strangeness’. If his early depictions of animal-like organic forms could be seen as providing a template for the society portraits he embarked on from 1949 onwards, it is historic portraiture that provided the inspiration for many of his late, monumental landscapes, such as Untitled, Wavelike Form, 1976, or Trees with a G-shaped Form I, 1972, which bring to mind the precisely-arranged, hieratic compositions of Italian Renaissance portraits. This focus on solitary natural features is not without precedent in traditional landscape painting. Joseph Wright of Derby, a versatile multi-disciplined artist who, like Sutherland, became a celebrated society portraitist, painted The Bowder Stone, Borrowdale (fig.3) during a tour of the Lake District in the 1786. The fame of this Lakeland landmark rests in its enormous bulk: 2000 tonnes of precariously-teetering erratic boulder, ten metres high, which has been a popular visitor attraction since the discovery of the region by tourists in the eighteenth century. Yet the artist chooses to depict it with no human or animal presence to give it a sense of scale. It is as if this giant stone, with its mop of wild hair-like vegetation, and craggy, expressive facets, is enough of a living presence on its own, like the rocks, trees, thorns and roots that inhabit Sutherland’s works. In the nineteenth century, the prophet of the natural world and greatest advocate for the close study of nature was John Ruskin, a critic, poet and social campaigner who was also capable of producing wonderfully vivid, lively and intensely-observed watercolours of the landscape. His Chamouni: Rocks and Vegatation (fig.4) is inspired by his lifelong passion for geology and nature, itself underpinned by an intense religious conviction (Presbyterianism as opposed to Sutherland’s Catholicism). Ruskin does not seek merely to replicate every nook and crevice of the stone with total scientific exactitude; rather, this vibrant, vigorous painting is all about capturing the essence of this rock in its natural surroundings the central area, intensely detailed, is almost engulfed by lush vegetation, gushing water and a general feeling of nature in all her abundance crowding the picture. It is a delicate balance between the firm and Fig.2

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the unresolved. Although his pictures were rarely as worked up as Ruskin’s, Sutherland would use a similar device of juxtaposing carefully delineated elements with swirling fields of colour - Small Boulder, for instance, contrasts busy areas alive with sprigs of delicate detail with loose washes of watercolour, creating a lively, dynamic tension between the different areas of the composition. The eye is constantly forced to zoom in and out of focus when viewing these works in an attempt to get a measure of the scaleas if ‘observing large canvases through the wrong end of a telescope’, as Edward Sackville-West, who once owned Small Boulder, described it. It would be hard to reconcile Ruskin’s famous exhortation to ‘go to nature […] rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing’ with Sutherland’s method of assimilation in which the brain ‘assesses the value of and selects from the images as they rise, rejects any which are paltry, and contrives the selected ones in terms of the material employed’. Yet both artists still valued the adaptability of the mind, its ability to see in a stone ‘a mountain in miniature’ (Ruskin), or notice how ‘an infinitely small form at the foot of a tree is reproducing, in miniature, the whole structure of the surrounding landscape’ (Sutherland). It is in these fleeting details, the shifting scale and mutability of nature that Sutherland’s creativity resides. His best paintings are born of a dominion where ‘one can reduce the object of a landscape to such a size as one can hold in one’s hand’, and where reality is nothing but a ‘disintegrated form of imagination’. The landscapes in this exhibition, executed over a period of more than 50 years, bear witness to this imagination in all its splintered glory. Nick Rogers

Fig.3

Curator, Lakeland Arts Trust

Fig.1 Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) The Passage of Mount St Gothard from the centre of Teufels Broch (Devil’s Bridge), 1804 Watercolour, with scraping out on paper 101 x 68 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust Fig.2 Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) The Herdsman’s Cottage, 1850 Etching 9.8 x 7.6 cm Private Collection Fig.4 John Ruskin (1819-1900) Chamouni: Rocks and Vegetation, 1854 Watercolour, pencil and bodycolour 25.2 x 26.7 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust Fig.3 Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97) The Bowder Stone, Borrowdale, 1786 Watercolour 39 x 55 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust

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Fig.4

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the unresolved. Although his pictures were rarely as worked up as Ruskin’s, Sutherland would use a similar device of juxtaposing carefully delineated elements with swirling fields of colour - Small Boulder, for instance, contrasts busy areas alive with sprigs of delicate detail with loose washes of watercolour, creating a lively, dynamic tension between the different areas of the composition. The eye is constantly forced to zoom in and out of focus when viewing these works in an attempt to get a measure of the scaleas if ‘observing large canvases through the wrong end of a telescope’, as Edward Sackville-West, who once owned Small Boulder, described it. It would be hard to reconcile Ruskin’s famous exhortation to ‘go to nature […] rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing’ with Sutherland’s method of assimilation in which the brain ‘assesses the value of and selects from the images as they rise, rejects any which are paltry, and contrives the selected ones in terms of the material employed’. Yet both artists still valued the adaptability of the mind, its ability to see in a stone ‘a mountain in miniature’ (Ruskin), or notice how ‘an infinitely small form at the foot of a tree is reproducing, in miniature, the whole structure of the surrounding landscape’ (Sutherland). It is in these fleeting details, the shifting scale and mutability of nature that Sutherland’s creativity resides. His best paintings are born of a dominion where ‘one can reduce the object of a landscape to such a size as one can hold in one’s hand’, and where reality is nothing but a ‘disintegrated form of imagination’. The landscapes in this exhibition, executed over a period of more than 50 years, bear witness to this imagination in all its splintered glory. Nick Rogers

Fig.3

Curator, Lakeland Arts Trust

Fig.1 Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) The Passage of Mount St Gothard from the centre of Teufels Broch (Devil’s Bridge), 1804 Watercolour, with scraping out on paper 101 x 68 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust Fig.2 Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) The Herdsman’s Cottage, 1850 Etching 9.8 x 7.6 cm Private Collection Fig.4 John Ruskin (1819-1900) Chamouni: Rocks and Vegetation, 1854 Watercolour, pencil and bodycolour 25.2 x 26.7 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust Fig.3 Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-97) The Bowder Stone, Borrowdale, 1786 Watercolour 39 x 55 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts Trust

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Cray Fields, 1925 Etching 11.7 x 12.4 cm Private Collection

The Sluice Gate, 1924 Etching 13.8 x 13.3 cm Private Collection

Pecken Wood, 1925 Etching 13.6 x 18.8 cm Private Collection

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Village, 1925 Etching 17.6 x 22.7 cm Private Collection

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Cray Fields, 1925 Etching 11.7 x 12.4 cm Private Collection

The Sluice Gate, 1924 Etching 13.8 x 13.3 cm Private Collection

Pecken Wood, 1925 Etching 13.6 x 18.8 cm Private Collection

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Village, 1925 Etching 17.6 x 22.7 cm Private Collection

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Meadow Chapel, 1928 Etching 11.3 x 15.3 cm Private Collection

Pastoral, 1930 Etching and engraving 12.8 x 19.1 cm Private Collection

Wood Interior, 1929 Etching 11.8 x 16.3 cm Private Collection

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Meadow Chapel, 1928 Etching 11.3 x 15.3 cm Private Collection

Pastoral, 1930 Etching and engraving 12.8 x 19.1 cm Private Collection

Wood Interior, 1929 Etching 11.8 x 16.3 cm Private Collection

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Pembrokeshire Landscape – Valley above Porthclais, 1935 Watercolour, ink, chalk and crayon on paper 28 x 23 cm Private Collection © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Welsh Landscape with Roads, 1936 Oil on canvas 61 x 91.4 cm Tate: Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1946 © Tate, London 2013

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Pembrokeshire Landscape – Valley above Porthclais, 1935 Watercolour, ink, chalk and crayon on paper 28 x 23 cm Private Collection © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Welsh Landscape with Roads, 1936 Oil on canvas 61 x 91.4 cm Tate: Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1946 © Tate, London 2013

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Red Tree, 1936 Oil on canvas 56 x 92 cm Private Collection, London © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Red Tree, 1936 Oil on canvas 56 x 92 cm Private Collection, London © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Western Hills, 1938/41 Oil on canvas 55.5 x 90.5 cm Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

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Clegyr-Boia II – Landscape in Wales, 1938 Etching and aquatint on paper 19.9 x 14.9 cm Private Collection

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Western Hills, 1938/41 Oil on canvas 55.5 x 90.5 cm Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

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Clegyr-Boia II – Landscape in Wales, 1938 Etching and aquatint on paper 19.9 x 14.9 cm Private Collection

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Landscape with Green Hill, 1939 Gouache on paper 11.5 x 9.5 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Narrow Road between Hedges, 1938-9 Oil on canvas 68.6 x 50.8 cm Leicester Arts & Museums

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Pembrokeshire Landscape, 1939 Gouache 15 x 21 cm The Radev Collection

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Landscape with Green Hill, 1939 Gouache on paper 11.5 x 9.5 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Narrow Road between Hedges, 1938-9 Oil on canvas 68.6 x 50.8 cm Leicester Arts & Museums

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Pembrokeshire Landscape, 1939 Gouache 15 x 21 cm The Radev Collection

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Study for Entrance to a Lane, 1939 Gouache 16 x 11 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery (detail page 8)

Entrance to a Lane, 1939 Oil on canvas 61.4 x 50.7 cm Tate: Purchased 1953 Š Tate, London 2013

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Study for Entrance to a Lane, 1939 Gouache 16 x 11 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery (detail page 8)

Entrance to a Lane, 1939 Oil on canvas 61.4 x 50.7 cm Tate: Purchased 1953 Š Tate, London 2013

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Landscape, 1939 Watercolour 7.6 x 11.4 cm Private Collection

Association of Oaks, 1939-40 Gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper 68.6 x 48.6 cm Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

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Landscape, 1939 Watercolour 7.6 x 11.4 cm Private Collection

Association of Oaks, 1939-40 Gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper 68.6 x 48.6 cm Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

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Root Study, c1940 Watercolour, pen, brush and black ink on paper 7.9 x 11.4 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Green Tree Form, 1940 Oil on canvas 60.5 x 54.5 cm British Council Collection

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Root Study, c1940 Watercolour, pen, brush and black ink on paper 7.9 x 11.4 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Green Tree Form, 1940 Oil on canvas 60.5 x 54.5 cm British Council Collection

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Welsh Hills, 1940 Watercolour, charcoal, colour chalk and wax resist 20.6 x 19 cm Courtesy of Austin desmond Fine Art & Crane Kalman Gallery

Gorse on Fire, 1940 Watercolour, bodycolour, brush, black ink and coloured crayon 69.2 x 48.3 cm Mr & Mrs Andrew Adcock © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Welsh Hills, 1940 Watercolour, charcoal, colour chalk and wax resist 20.6 x 19 cm Courtesy of Austin desmond Fine Art & Crane Kalman Gallery

Gorse on Fire, 1940 Watercolour, bodycolour, brush, black ink and coloured crayon 69.2 x 48.3 cm Mr & Mrs Andrew Adcock © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Small Boulder, 1940 Watercolour 14 x 24 cm The Radev Collection

Rocky Landscape with Sullen Sky, 1940 Gouache on paper 48.2 x 68.5 cm Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

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Small Boulder, 1940 Watercolour 14 x 24 cm The Radev Collection

Rocky Landscape with Sullen Sky, 1940 Gouache on paper 48.2 x 68.5 cm Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

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Under the Sea, 1942-4 Pen and black ink and wash, watercolour, gouache and pencil 24.1 x 18.4 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery Rock Form in a Landscape, 1943 Black ink, pastel and watercolour 29.2 x 23.8 cm Private Collection © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Under the Sea, 1942-4 Pen and black ink and wash, watercolour, gouache and pencil 24.1 x 18.4 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery Rock Form in a Landscape, 1943 Black ink, pastel and watercolour 29.2 x 23.8 cm Private Collection © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Green Landscape with Rocks, c1944 Watercolour 30.5 x 37.5 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Limestone Quarry, Working at the Cliff Face, 1943 Gouache and wax crayon on cardboard 61.6 x 54.6 cm British Council Collection

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Green Landscape with Rocks, c1944 Watercolour 30.5 x 37.5 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Limestone Quarry, Working at the Cliff Face, 1943 Gouache and wax crayon on cardboard 61.6 x 54.6 cm British Council Collection

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Pembrokeshire Landscape, 1945 Gouache on paper 17.8 x 20 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery (detail page 6)

Thorn Head, 1946 Watercolour, pen and black ink and black crayon 14.6 x 10.2 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Horned Forms, 1944 Oil on board 81.3 x 64.1 cm Tate: Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1966 ŠTate, London 2013 / Š Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Pembrokeshire Landscape, 1945 Gouache on paper 17.8 x 20 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery (detail page 6)

Thorn Head, 1946 Watercolour, pen and black ink and black crayon 14.6 x 10.2 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Horned Forms, 1944 Oil on board 81.3 x 64.1 cm Tate: Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1966 ŠTate, London 2013 / Š Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Tourettes, 1947 Watercolour and ink on paper 22.8 x 27.9 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Estuary, 1946 Gouache and crayon paper 37 x 64 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, The Lakeland Arts Trust

Landscape, near Nice, 1949 Oil on paper 17 x 19 cm Ar fenthyg gan / Lent by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

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Tourettes, 1947 Watercolour and ink on paper 22.8 x 27.9 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Estuary, 1946 Gouache and crayon paper 37 x 64 cm Abbot Hall Art Gallery, The Lakeland Arts Trust

Landscape, near Nice, 1949 Oil on paper 17 x 19 cm Ar fenthyg gan / Lent by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

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Origins of the Land, 1958 Gouache on paper 23 x 24 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Path in the Wood II, 1958 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

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Origins of the Land, 1958 Gouache on paper 23 x 24 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Path in the Wood II, 1958 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

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Pembrokeshire Landscape, 1960 Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour on paper 33 x 55.8 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Bamboo Forest, 1962 Oil on canvas 55.2 x 46.2 cm The Bowerman Charitable Trust © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Pembrokeshire Landscape, 1960 Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour on paper 33 x 55.8 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Bamboo Forest, 1962 Oil on canvas 55.2 x 46.2 cm The Bowerman Charitable Trust © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Forest and River, 1971 Oil on canvas 88.9 x 109.2 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

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Forest and River, 1971 Oil on canvas 88.9 x 109.2 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

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Landscape orange and blue, 1971 Oil on canvas 81 x 100 cm Private Collection © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Landscape orange and blue, 1971 Oil on canvas 81 x 100 cm Private Collection © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Previous page: Trees with a G-shaped Form I, 1972 Oil on canvas 117 x 172 cm Ar fenthyg gan / Lent by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Untitled, Wavelike Form, 1976 Oil on canvas 109.5 x 100 cm Ar fenthyg gan / Lent by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

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Previous page: Trees with a G-shaped Form I, 1972 Oil on canvas 117 x 172 cm Ar fenthyg gan / Lent by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Untitled, Wavelike Form, 1976 Oil on canvas 109.5 x 100 cm Ar fenthyg gan / Lent by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

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Green Tree Forms, 1978 Gouache 34.3 x 32.4 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Twisting Roads, 1976 Ink, watercolour, bodycolour and coloured crayon 52 x 40 cm Collection Gerard Taylor and Susan Minter © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Green Tree Forms, 1978 Gouache 34.3 x 32.4 cm Private Collection c/o Crane Kalman Gallery

Twisting Roads, 1976 Ink, watercolour, bodycolour and coloured crayon 52 x 40 cm Collection Gerard Taylor and Susan Minter © Christie’s Images Limited / © Estate of Graham Sutherland

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Graham Sutherland: A Short Biography 1903 Born Streatham, South London, the eldest of three children to Vivian and Elsie Sutherland

1932 Designs posters for Shell-Mex and BP and London Transport. Continues to supplement income with design work throughout 1930s

1920-1 Serves as an engineering apprentice at the Midland Railway Works in Derby. Shows little aptitude for engineering as a profession

1933-4 Teaches book illustration and composition in place of etching

1921-6 Attends Goldsmiths’ School of Art and, with his friend Paul Drury, develops a particular interest in etching 1923-4 Sutherland’s etching, Barn Interior, is shown at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, followed by The Black Rabbit a year later 1924 Exhibits at the Twenty-One Gallery in London. His works are well received and the exhibition establishes a market for his work, which is initially inspired by Sutherland’s contemporaries, such as FL Griggs, as well as old masters such as Rembrandt. Later, the work of William Blake and Samuel Palmer also makes a striking impression on Sutherland 1925 Elected an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers 1927 Marries Kathleen Barry, having converted to Catholicism in 1926. The couple move to the White House in Farningham in Kent Starts teaching two days a week at Chelsea School of Art 1928 Second one-man show at the TwentyOne Gallery Produces designs for Milner Gray’s Bassett Gray design consultancy 1929 The Sutherland’s only child, John Vivian, is born on 16 April but dies three months later The Wall Street Crash wipes out the lucrative etchings market and forces Sutherland to pursue a new direction in his artistic career 1930-1 Two of Sutherland’s last etchings, Pastoral, 1930, and The Garden, 1931, display a more individual tendency, influenced by Paul Nash, with the latter work leading to a breach with the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers

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1934 First visit to Pembrokeshire, which has a decisive influence on his career 1936 Sutherland’s article, A Trend in English Draughtsmanship, published in the journal Signature 1936 Exhibits two works (Thunder Sounding and Mobile Mask) at the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London. Despite sharing some similar concerns with the surrealists, such as an emphasis on the transformation of the everyday through the power of the imagination, Sutherland does not align himself with the movement 1937 Moves to the White House, Trottiscliffe, Kent. This remains his English home for the rest of his life 1938 First one-man painting exhibition at Rosenberg & Helft Gallery, London, aided by his friend, the Director of the National Gallery, Kenneth Clark 1939 Stays at Upton House in Gloucestershire as the guest of Kenneth Clark 1940 Second solo painting show. It is well received and Sutherland sells 22 out of the 30 works exhibited

1946 First New York solo exhibition at the Buchholz Gallery First religious commission in the form of Crucifixion for St Matthew’s in Northampton 1947 First trip to the South of France and continues to spend time in the area every year 1948 Appointed a Trustee of the Tate Gallery 1949 Paints first portrait commission, Somerset Maugham. Society portraiture continues to be regular sideline throughout the rest of his career 1950 Commissioned to paint The Origins of the Land for the Festival of Britain. The finished canvas measures more than four metres by three metres 1951 Retrospective exhibition of 70 works at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London One-man show at the Hanover Gallery, London Commissioned to produce an enormous tapestry for the high altar of the new Coventry Cathedral, designed by Basil Spence. The project continues to occupy Sutherland for much of the next decade

1962 Coventry Cathedral is consecrated and Sutherland’s tapestry unveiled to the public. It receives a mixed reception One-man show at Marlborough Fine Art 1964 Visits New York for the first time 1967 Visits Pembrokeshire for the first time in 20 years in connection with a film on his work made by an Italian, Pier Paulo Ruggerini. Thereafter, continues to visit and draw inspiration from the Pembrokeshire landscape for the rest of his life 1968 Publishes A Bestiary and Some Correspondences, a set of 26 lithographs 1976 The Graham Sutherland Gallery is opened at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire. The collection there transfers to the National Museum of Wales following the closure of the gallery in 1995 1977 The Bees aquatints published Portraits retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, London 1980 Dies in London on 17 February

1952 Exhibits at the 1952 Venice Biennale in the company of an emerging generation of British sculptors whose spiky, aggressive forms the critic, Herbert Read, refers to as the ‘geometry of fear’ 1954 Resigns as a Trustee of the Tate Gallery

1940-5 Kenneth Clark starts the war artists’ scheme and asks Sutherland to participate. During the war, Sutherland travels to Derbyshire and Cornwall to record activity at quarries, steelworks and mines and also paints bombdamage in London, Cardiff, Swansea and northern France. Continues to draw inspiration from the landscape of south Wales throughout the war

Commissioned to paint a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill. The portrait proves controversial and, it emerges in 1978, is destroyed by Lady Churchill

1943 Sutherland’s friend, Eddy SackvilleWest, writes the first monograph on Sutherland, published as part of the Penguin Modern Painters series

1960 Receives the Order of Merit

1955 Acquires La Villa Blanche, designed by Eileen Gray, on the French Riviera. 1957 Receives the Foreign Minister’s Award at the 4th International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Japan

1961 Solo exhibition at the Galleria Galatea in Turin. Italy proves to be a favourable market for Sutherland’s work for the rest of his career

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Graham Sutherland: A Short Biography 1903 Born Streatham, South London, the eldest of three children to Vivian and Elsie Sutherland

1932 Designs posters for Shell-Mex and BP and London Transport. Continues to supplement income with design work throughout 1930s

1920-1 Serves as an engineering apprentice at the Midland Railway Works in Derby. Shows little aptitude for engineering as a profession

1933-4 Teaches book illustration and composition in place of etching

1921-6 Attends Goldsmiths’ School of Art and, with his friend Paul Drury, develops a particular interest in etching 1923-4 Sutherland’s etching, Barn Interior, is shown at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, followed by The Black Rabbit a year later 1924 Exhibits at the Twenty-One Gallery in London. His works are well received and the exhibition establishes a market for his work, which is initially inspired by Sutherland’s contemporaries, such as FL Griggs, as well as old masters such as Rembrandt. Later, the work of William Blake and Samuel Palmer also makes a striking impression on Sutherland 1925 Elected an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers 1927 Marries Kathleen Barry, having converted to Catholicism in 1926. The couple move to the White House in Farningham in Kent Starts teaching two days a week at Chelsea School of Art 1928 Second one-man show at the TwentyOne Gallery Produces designs for Milner Gray’s Bassett Gray design consultancy 1929 The Sutherland’s only child, John Vivian, is born on 16 April but dies three months later The Wall Street Crash wipes out the lucrative etchings market and forces Sutherland to pursue a new direction in his artistic career 1930-1 Two of Sutherland’s last etchings, Pastoral, 1930, and The Garden, 1931, display a more individual tendency, influenced by Paul Nash, with the latter work leading to a breach with the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers

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1934 First visit to Pembrokeshire, which has a decisive influence on his career 1936 Sutherland’s article, A Trend in English Draughtsmanship, published in the journal Signature 1936 Exhibits two works (Thunder Sounding and Mobile Mask) at the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London. Despite sharing some similar concerns with the surrealists, such as an emphasis on the transformation of the everyday through the power of the imagination, Sutherland does not align himself with the movement 1937 Moves to the White House, Trottiscliffe, Kent. This remains his English home for the rest of his life 1938 First one-man painting exhibition at Rosenberg & Helft Gallery, London, aided by his friend, the Director of the National Gallery, Kenneth Clark 1939 Stays at Upton House in Gloucestershire as the guest of Kenneth Clark 1940 Second solo painting show. It is well received and Sutherland sells 22 out of the 30 works exhibited

1946 First New York solo exhibition at the Buchholz Gallery First religious commission in the form of Crucifixion for St Matthew’s in Northampton 1947 First trip to the South of France and continues to spend time in the area every year 1948 Appointed a Trustee of the Tate Gallery 1949 Paints first portrait commission, Somerset Maugham. Society portraiture continues to be regular sideline throughout the rest of his career 1950 Commissioned to paint The Origins of the Land for the Festival of Britain. The finished canvas measures more than four metres by three metres 1951 Retrospective exhibition of 70 works at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London One-man show at the Hanover Gallery, London Commissioned to produce an enormous tapestry for the high altar of the new Coventry Cathedral, designed by Basil Spence. The project continues to occupy Sutherland for much of the next decade

1962 Coventry Cathedral is consecrated and Sutherland’s tapestry unveiled to the public. It receives a mixed reception One-man show at Marlborough Fine Art 1964 Visits New York for the first time 1967 Visits Pembrokeshire for the first time in 20 years in connection with a film on his work made by an Italian, Pier Paulo Ruggerini. Thereafter, continues to visit and draw inspiration from the Pembrokeshire landscape for the rest of his life 1968 Publishes A Bestiary and Some Correspondences, a set of 26 lithographs 1976 The Graham Sutherland Gallery is opened at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire. The collection there transfers to the National Museum of Wales following the closure of the gallery in 1995 1977 The Bees aquatints published Portraits retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, London 1980 Dies in London on 17 February

1952 Exhibits at the 1952 Venice Biennale in the company of an emerging generation of British sculptors whose spiky, aggressive forms the critic, Herbert Read, refers to as the ‘geometry of fear’ 1954 Resigns as a Trustee of the Tate Gallery

1940-5 Kenneth Clark starts the war artists’ scheme and asks Sutherland to participate. During the war, Sutherland travels to Derbyshire and Cornwall to record activity at quarries, steelworks and mines and also paints bombdamage in London, Cardiff, Swansea and northern France. Continues to draw inspiration from the landscape of south Wales throughout the war

Commissioned to paint a portrait of Sir Winston Churchill. The portrait proves controversial and, it emerges in 1978, is destroyed by Lady Churchill

1943 Sutherland’s friend, Eddy SackvilleWest, writes the first monograph on Sutherland, published as part of the Penguin Modern Painters series

1960 Receives the Order of Merit

1955 Acquires La Villa Blanche, designed by Eileen Gray, on the French Riviera. 1957 Receives the Foreign Minister’s Award at the 4th International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Japan

1961 Solo exhibition at the Galleria Galatea in Turin. Italy proves to be a favourable market for Sutherland’s work for the rest of his career

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Patrons and Benefactors

Sponsors and Supporters

We are grateful to our Patrons and Benefactors for their continuing support in enabling us to conserve our Grade I listed buildings, care for, and develop the Lakeland Arts Trust’s impressive permanent collection and to continue to exhibit art of the highest quality, bringing the work of artists with established and emerging national and international reputations to Cumbria. Patrons and Benefactors also support our lively and engaging learning and events programmes.

Miss R D Dunsmore

Patrons benefit from intimate welcome tours led by Curators, free entry to exhibition previews, exhibitions and preview dinners, the opportunity to explore our collections and acknowledgment in our publications and buildings. Benefactors in addition are invited to bring guests to exhibition previews, exhibitions and preview dinners. If you would like to help to support the Lakeland Arts Trust’s ambitious programme and long term plans by becoming a Patron or Benefactor, please contact the Development Office, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL, for further information.

Ms J Holland

Lady Egremont Mr and Mrs C R Ellins Mr J Entwistle OBE Mrs B A Fletcher Mr and Mrs D Goeritz Mr and Mrs J Graham Mr T J R Harding Mr R Hasell-McCosh Mr and Mrs J Lee The Hon. Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd Mr N Mason Mrs D Matthews JP Mr J Merrett Mr T Parker Mr J S Rink Karsten Schubert Mrs H A Sandys Mr and Mrs A Scott

Benefactors Mr & Mrs J Campbell Lady Cavendish Adam and Marianne Naylor Mr T P Naylor Mrs P Rink Dr J P L Welch Patrons Mrs E Ainscough

Mrs A Shepherd Mr and Mrs F Tattersall Mrs S Thornely Mr P M White Mrs C Whittle Ms J Wood

CRANE KALMAN GALLERY Ltd

Mr & Mrs C Woodhouse

Est. 1949

Mr N Woodhouse And those who wish to remain anonymous.

Mr and Mrs A Ambler Mr and Mrs C H Bagot Mr O Barratt MBE and Mrs V Barratt Mrs G Baxter Ms M Burkett OBE Mr and Mrs D Case Lord Chorley Mr and Mrs C Crewdson

Sir John Fisher Foundation

Sir James Cropper KCVO Mr and Mrs W Dufton

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63


Patrons and Benefactors

Sponsors and Supporters

We are grateful to our Patrons and Benefactors for their continuing support in enabling us to conserve our Grade I listed buildings, care for, and develop the Lakeland Arts Trust’s impressive permanent collection and to continue to exhibit art of the highest quality, bringing the work of artists with established and emerging national and international reputations to Cumbria. Patrons and Benefactors also support our lively and engaging learning and events programmes.

Miss R D Dunsmore

Patrons benefit from intimate welcome tours led by Curators, free entry to exhibition previews, exhibitions and preview dinners, the opportunity to explore our collections and acknowledgment in our publications and buildings. Benefactors in addition are invited to bring guests to exhibition previews, exhibitions and preview dinners. If you would like to help to support the Lakeland Arts Trust’s ambitious programme and long term plans by becoming a Patron or Benefactor, please contact the Development Office, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL, for further information.

Ms J Holland

Lady Egremont Mr and Mrs C R Ellins Mr J Entwistle OBE Mrs B A Fletcher Mr and Mrs D Goeritz Mr and Mrs J Graham Mr T J R Harding Mr R Hasell-McCosh Mr and Mrs J Lee The Hon. Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd Mr N Mason Mrs D Matthews JP Mr J Merrett Mr T Parker Mr J S Rink Karsten Schubert Mrs H A Sandys Mr and Mrs A Scott

Benefactors Mr & Mrs J Campbell Lady Cavendish Adam and Marianne Naylor Mr T P Naylor Mrs P Rink Dr J P L Welch Patrons Mrs E Ainscough

Mrs A Shepherd Mr and Mrs F Tattersall Mrs S Thornely Mr P M White Mrs C Whittle Ms J Wood

CRANE KALMAN GALLERY Ltd

Mr & Mrs C Woodhouse

Est. 1949

Mr N Woodhouse And those who wish to remain anonymous.

Mr and Mrs A Ambler Mr and Mrs C H Bagot Mr O Barratt MBE and Mrs V Barratt Mrs G Baxter Ms M Burkett OBE Mr and Mrs D Case Lord Chorley Mr and Mrs C Crewdson

Sir John Fisher Foundation

Sir James Cropper KCVO Mr and Mrs W Dufton

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Abbot Hall Art Gallery Kendal Cumbria LA9 5AL Tel: 01539 722464

Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House and the Windermere Steamboat Museum are managed by the Lakeland Arts Trust (registered charity no. 526980)

www.lakelandartstrust.org.uk All Graham Sutherland images are Š Estate of Graham Sutherland or otherwise stated

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Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes

9

781906 043148

Abbot Hall Art Gallery

ISBN 978-1-906043-14-8

Exultant Strangeness: Graham Sutherland Landscapes

Graham Sutherland Landscapes  

Exhibition of paintings, watercolours and etchings by Graham Sutherland

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