Trans-Channel Crossing UK/EU

Page 1

TRANS-CHANNEL CROS SING A R T

6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LO N D O N S W 1 Y 6 B N TEL.+44(0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com w w w. w h i t f o r d f i n e a r t . c o m

F I N E

F I N E A R T

W H I T F O R D

WHITFORD



TRANS-CHANNEL CROSSING UK/EU

15 June – 28 July 2017

All Works are for Sale

WHITFORD F I N E A R T

6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LONDON SW1Y 6BN +44 (0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com



FOREWORD

Trans-Channel Crossing is the first in a series of future exhibitions which focus on four artists who have worked and lived on both sides of the English Channel and have been instrumental in spreading new aesthetics and artistic ideas after the Second World War. They contributed to a greater exchange between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. Living through the political historic epoch of today naturally draws our attention to the freedoms of the art world with its absence of boundaries and national borders. National schools and movements unquestionably exist, but international exchange was often the very originator of a new national style. During the 20th Century movements such as CoBrA and ZERO were, by definition, international with adherents practicing in different European cities and an exhibition programme touring the world. Abstract Expressionism originated in New York but soon Europe followed with its own version, known as Tachism.

Trans-Channel Crossing looks at the free artistic exchange between France and the UK. It was usual practice for British artists to have some training in Paris, where they met colleagues from Holland, Belgium, Germany and Eastern Europe. Back in London, Drian Galleries and the New Vision Centre set up an international exchange by championing foreign European artists. The artists chosen for this first edition of Trans-Channel Crossing represent the prevalent styles of the 1950’s and 1960s, namely Expressionism and Lyrical Abstraction practiced by Caziel (Polish-British, 1906-1988), CoBrA represented by William Gear (British, 1915-1975), Lyrical Abstraction and Tachism as pioneered by Joseph Lacasse (Belgian-French, 1894-1975), and the unique form of Tachism or European Action painting formulated by Frank Avray Wilson (British-French, 1914-2009). The selected works all bear testimony to the inert quality of art to break down boundaries, and to reunite on a humanistic level. All four artists lived, trained or spent a sizeable amount of time in Paris and London. Born in Belgium, Joseph Lacasse first visited Paris in 1919 where he encountered the work of Robert Delaunay. Lacasse finally settled in Paris in 1925 and became close to Robert and Sonia Delaunay in 1927. In 1934 Lacasse founded his own gallery called l’Equipe, an exhibition space


where painters, writers, philosophers and musicians met to discuss aesthetics, literature and science. They united under the common denominator of solidarity and belief in the proletarian cause. It was here that Lacasse encouraged the young Sergej Poliakoff to drop music in favour of painting. Lacasse spent the Second World War years in England and taught art in Stoke-onTrent; during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lacasse often travelled to London for his exhibitions at Halima Nalecz’ Drian Galleries. Lacasse’s influence is incalculable on both sides of the Channel. Catalogue 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 19 and 22 represent Lacasse’s mature work, dating 1947-1968. Caziel was born in Poland and settled in Paris in 1937. Early influences including Cézanne and Matisse made way for the Picasso inspired years 1947-1951. However, throughout his five-year close friendship with Picasso, Caziel’s stylistic preoccupations remained divided. Strong lyrical and expressive compositions much indebted to Picasso alternate with works revealing his quest for Abstraction. By the early 1950s Caziel was fully devoted to Abstraction. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler thought it to be a temporary whim, but Caziel stuck to his research for a higher order, a different dimension. Caziel lived and worked in Paris and Ponthévrard until 1969, when he moved his family to Somerset in the UK. In London, his work was exhibited at the Grabowski Gallery. Cat. 1, 5, 6, 10, 13, 17 and 18 illustrate Caziel’s mature abstraction. Born on the multi-cultural island of Mauritius, Frank Avray Wilson first encountered Abstract Expressionism and automatic drawing in 1922-1923, when he sojourned as a boy in Paris and Gstaad with his mother. Avray Wilson graduated from Cambridge University in 1937 and settled in London definitively following the Second World War. He trained in France and in Norway. His work was exhibited in Paris, Brussels and London. Avray Wilson’s aesthetic developed from his scientific discovery that colour is not matter but energy, and that an image could be as alive as a living cell under a microscope. By the early 1950s Avray Wilson was practicing abstract gestural painting, in an attempt to emulate the workings of Nature. The work proved refreshing and was championed by prestigious galleries in London, Paris and Brussels. Catalogue numbers 3, 4, 11, 21, 23, 24, 25 show Avray Wilson’s so-called ‘Hyper-vital Imageries’ from the period 1954-1960.


William Gear was born in Scotland and first visited Paris on a travelling scholarship spanning 1937-1938. In Paris, he studied with Fernand Léger. Upon his return to Scotland in 1939, Gear was briefly concerned with Surrealism. During 1947-1950 Gear lived and worked in Paris. Following his meeting with the leading members of the CoBrA Group, including Appel, Constant, Corneille and Asger Jorn, Gear took up the Norther European group’s idea that experimentation was the symbol of an unfettered freedom, which, according to Constant, was ultimately embodied by children. Gear exhibited with the CoBrA Group in Amsterdam during 1949. After three years, the CoBrA artists followed their own paths. Gear moved first moved towards gestural Abstraction and during 1957-59 developed his signature style of Tachism. Catalogue numbers 2, 12, 16, 20 show Gear’s development from 1949-1959. In Paris, all four artists had exchanges with notable artists of the Ecole de Paris such as Fernand Léger, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Pablo Picasso, as well as with their fellow Abstractionists such as Sergej Poliakoff, Hans Hartung, Georges Mathieu and Pierre Soulages. In London, they interacted with Barbara Hepworth, Paul Feiler, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton and Peter Lanyon. Coming from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, informed by individual intuitions and a multitude of influences, all four artists arrived at their individual expression of Abstraction. Together they represent the ‘Zeitgeist’; individually they prove that art transcends national boundaries and encourages free exchange. An Jo Fermon, June 2017


1.

Caziel 1906–1988

Composition, c.1952 Oil on canvas 46 x 66.5 cm Signed with studio stamp verso Caziel Estate Inventory number WC347


2.

William Gear 1915–1997

Cobra Composition, 1949 Etching 29 x 42 cm Signed and dated lower right Artist’s Proof


3.

Frank Avray Wilson 1914–2009

Talisman, 1954 Oil on hardboard 91 x 71 cm Dated verso Inventory number FAW804


4.

Frank Avray Wilson 1914–2009

Totems, 1956 Screenprint 57.8 x 41 cm Signed and dated lower right Ed 19/30 Inventory number FAW851


5.

Caziel 1906–1988

Composition, 1952 Charcoal 46.5 x 29.7 cm Signed and dated ''52.4'' lower right Caziel Estate Inventory number WC712


6.

Caziel 1906–1988

Matador, c. 1951 Ink and wash 62.5 x 48.5 cm Signed with studio stamp lower right Caziel Estate Inventory number WC074


7.

Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Composition, 1948 Ink and wash 65.3 x 50 cm Signed and dated lower centre Signed, dated and fingerprinted verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 28/13


8.

Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Composition, 1959 nk and wash 65.3 x 50 cm Signed and dated lower left Signed, dated and fingerprinted verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 28/18


9.

Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Composition, 1960 Ink and wash 65.3 x 50 cm Signed and dated lower centre Signed, dated and fingerprinted verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 28/20


10. Caziel 1906–1988

Composition, c.1948 Oil on canvas 46 x 65 cm Signed with studio stamp verso Caziel Estate Inventory number WC213


11. Frank Avray Wilson 1914–2009

Presence, c. 1955 Oil on canvas 183 x 60.5 cm Inventory number FAW801


12. William Gear 1915–1997

Trellis, 1959 Oil on canvas 122 x 82 cm Signed and dated lower right


13. Caziel 1906–1988

Composition with Organic Forms, c.1955 Oil on canvas 33 x 55 cm Signed with studio stamp verso Caziel Estate Inventory number WC216


14. Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Mouvement, 1960 Oil on canvas 73 x 100 cm Signed and dated verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 128


15. Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Méditation, 1968 Oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm Signed, dated and inscribed verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 554


16. William Geart 1915–1997

Black Form, 1956 Oil on canvas 71 x 101.5 cm Signed and dated lower right Signed, dated ''Nov 56'', titled and inscribed verso


17. Caziel 1906–1988

Blue Abstract, 1949 Oil on canvas 46.5 x 64 cm Signed and dated lower centre Caziel Estate Inventory number WC030


18. Caziel 1906–1988

Cubist Still Life, c. 1950 Oil on canvas 45 x 67 cm Signed with studio stamp verso Caziel Estate Inventory number WC006


19. Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Dominante bleue 1955-56 Oil on canvas 246 x 105 cm Signed and dated verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 9235


20. William Gear 1915–1997

White Feature on Red, 1957 Oil on board 73 x 60 cm Signed and dated lower right Signed, dated and titled verso


21. Frank Avray Wilson 1914–2009

Event, 1962 Oil on canvas 122 x 50.5 cm Signed and dated upper right Inventory number FAW825


22. Joseph Lacasse 1894–1975

Rayonnement, 1947 Oil on canvas 100 x 73 cm Signed and dated upper right Signed, dated and inscribed verso Lacasse Estate Inventory Dia no. 158



23. Frank Avray Wilson 1914–2009

FAW803 - Blue Constellation, c. 1954 Oil on canvas 152.5 x 76 cm Inventory number FAW803

24. Frank Avray Wilson 1914–200

Yellow Abstract, 1960 Oil on board 23 x 124 cm Signed and dated with initials lower right Inventory number FAW855


25. Frank Avray Wilson 1914–200

Configuration in Green and Red, 1959 Oil on canvas 183 x 60.5 cm Signed and dated lower right Inventory number FAW850



TRANS-CHANNEL CROS SING A R T

6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LO N D O N S W 1 Y 6 B N TEL.+44(0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com w w w. w h i t f o r d f i n e a r t . c o m

F I N E

F I N E A R T

W H I T F O R D

WHITFORD