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Patrick George


Patrick George Works from 1950 to Present

13 February - 14 March 2013

Monday - Friday 10.00 - 5.30 Saturday 11.00 - 2.00

Browse & Darby 19 Cork Street London W1S 3LP Tel: 020 7734 7984 Fax: 0207851 6650 email: art@browseanddarby.co.uk www. browseanddarby.co.uk


PATRICK GEORGE: PLAIN SPEAKING The trees are exactly that kind of green. The sky is just that kind of sky – dull, promising rain but not quite delivering. The leaves are as you see them. The earth is just there. None of this is romanticised. It is not expressed. I’m not sure that it is even expressive. It is simply as it is. As it is when we experience the English Landscape at its most modest, most understated, with its fine misty relationships not really celebrated, certainly not dramatised. But there, nonetheless, as we see it, if we are lucky enough to be in it. This is not English boastfulness, not landscape competing with vistas of Mont Blanc, not competing with the inner or outer turmoil of Turner or Constable; but evoking the bits between. But has anyone else – in recent years – done it this way? Perhaps artists have been too nervous of ‘Englishness’ – whatever that may be – and the dangers of provincialism in depicting nature, after the horrors of the 20th Century. Maybe Patrick George has not been working at quite the right time for his particular vision to be understood, although his work could never be mistaken for having been painted at any other time than the present. It is more likely that our contemporary cultural interests are too skewed. Perhaps our time is too impatient to be able to perceive the subtlety of his paintings. They are not declamatory, they might even be seen to be ‘well-mannered’ – they speak about something between the paint and the landscape. They mediate. So ‘wellmannered’ in his work means allowing the thing to be itself, without any appearance of imposing his will on it. There is something here that suggests a system of values. A system of values that our times do not seek for – or if they do, the aggressiveness, or even protest, of so much contemporary imagery seems to suffice. Art is not the place that anyone looks for direction in terms of moral or ethical values. And yet, in Patrick George’s work, in his truth to the thing in front of him, in the time he spends adjusting his viewpoint so that it is exact, in the precision of a mark, even when that means imprecision, we feel a kind of morality is confronting us. He seems to be disposed to the truth. Of course, underlying this is something else, something timeless and mysterious: the geometry, and the sense of proportion. Patrick George says he comes from the tradition of what he calls ‘Coldstream’s ‘literalism’. This may be true, but perhaps it may be rather that he has always been by nature inclined to the orderly, the measured, and the ‘in proportion’, and therefore the Coldstream approach, which was presented to him at his most impressionable time as a young student in search of a way to paint, was the closest method of painting to which he could then attach himself. The remarkable thing about his work is that the element of measurement, the impeccable sense of proportion, however much derived – intuitively – from classic ideals, is in no way apparent. When you look at the paintings you simply don’t think in those terms, because the structure is so hidden that you feel the thing has done itself.


For someone like myself, whose childhood years were spent in the wildest part of the English countryside, the paintings have an extraordinary resonance of the reality of a seasonal moment; of weather, the greys and browns of February, the greenness of the trees in May, or the stretching of space between trees in the foreground to trees in the far distance. There is an identification with the land and the landscape that is so strong that it must surely, in some human way, touch even those for whom it has never been a reality. The spirit of calmness that these paintings convey is in some ways surprising, when you look at them closely. Not only is there no false mistiness or contrived harmony, but the range of tones is remarkably wide; within the same painting they may go from white to nearly black, but even so the drama is restrained, almost hidden. The relationships are so subtly worked, with such an apparent lightness of touch, that you no more notice them than you might do when walking down a street. Everything is unified, in spite of the fact that within the same painting there may be areas of paint applied very softly, tenderly, that seem to stand in direct opposition to the parts that are painted with an almost raw scratchiness. George doesn’t flatter. In the same way that real beauties in life seldom come up to the flattery of their depiction, so no painted landscape can compete with the real thing. He doesn’t attempt this. He paints what is in front of him as he sees it. I believe this is also as it is, but he doesn’t claim this. The paintings are so like, but still without the appearance of copying. He has accepted that the English landscape is so perfect in its diversity that to attempt to represent its beauty is a challenge that can no longer be met. Maria Callas once said that all you have to do to get a performance right is ‘listen to the music’. This is what Patrick George has done with the landscape. The paintings have an inevitability: their power is their lack of narrative. He has made the places he paints his own. In the same way that Stubbs has made horses his own, or Nash the war-torn shapes his war, or Turner’s sunsets his sunsets, through identification with the subject Patrick George has made the fields and the trees and the skies of Suffolk his own. And though his work may forever be associated with the Euston Road School of painting, it betrays a lyrical love for his place, that actually removes him somewhat from this association. The paintings suggest an identification with the place that is total. That cannot be separated from his love of it, depicted with no pretence, no affectation, but simply the truth. There is something here that could have come from the quintessentially English tradition of what is called ‘Plain Speaking’. Looking at the work, you feel, it is as it is, but it is also more than it is. It is not the same as being surrounded by the real thing, but offers something else in place of that: an illusion, a suggestion that the actual can be transferred on to canvas, and that way given back to the viewer. Not all painters achieve maturity in later years. Patrick George, however, has achieved in his maturity a complete fulfilment of his life’s work. He has battled with the ever- changing appearance of nature, and won. Tess Jaray London 2011


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CATALOGUE New Paintings: 1.

Ash Tree in Winter, oil on board, 31 x 24 ins

2.

Across the Meadow, Summer, oil on board, 30 1/4 x 60 1/8 ins

3.

Walnut Tree Branch, oil on board, 22 1/4 x 60 1/4 ins

4.

Apple & Sycamore, oil on board, 30 x 30 ins

5.

The Oak Tree, oil on board, 24 x 24 ins

6.

Grasses (False Oat), oil on board, 29 3/8 x 24 ins

7.

House & Sycamore, oil on board, 35 x 60 1/8 ins

8.

Crows on the Field, oil on board, 20 x 40 ins

9.

Ash Trees around the Pond, oil on board, 25 3/8 x 25 1/4 ins

10.

Oak Trees in the Meadow, oil on board, 7 3/8 x 16 ins

11.

Large Ash Tree and Sycamore, oil on board, 30 1/4 x 60 ins

12.

From the Hall to the Barn, oil on board, 14 x 60 3/4 ins

13.

Branches of the Apple Tree, oil on board, 20 1/8 x 39 3/8 ins

14.

Sawn Logs and Delicate Twig, oil on board, 20 x 25 1/4 ins

15.

Through a Bramble Bush, oil on board, 32 1/4 x 36 1/4 ins

16.

Autumn Leaves, oil on board, 20 x 27 ins

Paintings & Works on Paper, 1950-1980: 17.

Lower Marsh, Chimney I, 1950-54, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 18 1/4 ins

18.

Lower Marsh, Chimney II, 1950-54, oil on canvas, 29 1/4 x 18 ins

19.

Moreton Terrace, Bramble’s small windows, 1971, oil on board, 21 3/4 x 14 3/4 ins

20.

Winter Landscape, Hickbush, circa late 1970s, 15 3/4 x 22 ins

21.

Hickbush Landscape, oil on canvas, 16 x 48 ins

22.

Blue Sky in Pimlico, oil on board, 24 x 18 ins


23.

Waterloo Station, pen & ink with wash, 8 3/4 x 12 1/2 ins

24.

Geranium, pencil, 9 x 6 3/4 ins

25.

Lambeth Palace Embankment, pencil, 8 1/2 x 8 ins

26.

Builder & Bicycle, pencil, 9 x 7 1/4 ins

27.

Motorcycle, pencil, 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 ins

28.

Big Ben (drawing for Festival of Britain), pen & ink with wash, 8 x 6 ins

29.

Waterloo, pencil, 5 x 8 ins

30.

Lower Marsh, pencil, 5 3/4 x 6 1/2 ins

31.

Rowing Boat on the Thames, pencil, 10 x 8 ins

32.

Dining Room Chair, pencil, 10 x 8 ins

33.

Rooftops, pencil, 5 x 5 ins

34.

Ladies on Lower Marsh, pencil, 8 x 8 1/2 ins

35.

Horses, pencil, 7 x 6 1/4 ins

36.

Self-Portrait, Aug 2 1954, Oxford, pencil, 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 ins

37.

India, pen and ink with wash, 8 x 10 ins

38.

Female Nude, pencil, 6 1/2 x 8 ins

39.

Half a Loaf, pencil, 10 x 14 1/2 ins

40.

Walberswick, 1966, pencil, 11 x 15 ins

41.

The Sandboat, pencil, 7 x 9 ins

42.

The Medicine Man, Lower Marsh, pencil, 8 x 9 ins


PATRICK GEORGE 1923 1941-42 1942-46 1946 1949 1959 1960-61 1961 1976 1983 1985-88

Born in Manchester Studied at Edinburgh College of Art (Andrew Grant Scholar) RNVR Camberwell School of Art Joined staff of Slade School of Fine Art (part time) Nigerian College of Art & Technology, Zaria, Head of Department Teaching at various art schools Slade School of Fine Art (part time) Member of art panel to implement Coldstream Report - NCDAD Member of Arts Council Member of Eastern Arts Reader, UCL Professor UCL Slade Professor - Director, Slade School

One Man Exhibitions 1975 Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk 1980 Arts Council Retrospective Exhibition, Serpentine Gallery, London, and tour 1984, 89, 94, 98 Browse & Darby, London 2003, ‘07, ’10, ‘13 Selected Group Exhibitions 1981 Eight Figurative Painters, Mellon Center for British Art, Yale & LA Louver Gallery, Los Angeles 1983 The Hard Won Image, Tate Gallery, London 1984 A Singular Vision, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter 1994 Five Protagonists, Browse & Darby, London 2010 A Critic’s Choice-selected by Andrew Lambirth, Browse & Darby, London Public Collections Arts Council St Catherine’s College, Cambridge Chantry Bequest Gipsy Hill College Government Art Collection Government House, Singapore Huddersfield, Municipal Gallery Imperial War Museum

Kings College, London National Portrait Gallery Norwich Castle Museum Reuters Somerville College, Oxford Stuart House, Cambridge Tate Gallery, London University College, London


Browse & Darby 19 Cork Street London W1S 3LP


Patrick George