I’m off to Cairo tomorrow and then taking some time off. Although this blog started there, I will suspend it for a week or two.
Here is GC’s self-portrait of 1918, now at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. If you look at the last oil painting I’ve shown, In the Orchard, it’s hard to believe that this is by the same artist. To a non-GC-trained eye, it may look dull. His portraits could be conventional (one or two of the late portraits look like boardroom paintings), but this looks fresh and modern to me. It is almost the portrait of a scientist.
Comparing it with the earlier picture, we can see what a long journey he was on. Comparing it with contemporaneous landscapes, we can see what he is taking from them.
I categorise it on the right as GC late, and I take that boundary as, roughly, 1918. This is an early example of that dry paint he used for his pictures of the 20s, with the canvas showing through.
TD’s Punch drawings aren’t cartoons according to Punch terminology. Cartoons were drawings, always full-page, which alluded to real events. They were done by a smaller group of artists, including Bernard Partridge and Ernest Shepard in TD’s time. The rest were “Pictures and Sketches”. There were no TD cartoons by that definition for Punch, although there were for other publications.
Is this pair of drawings the earliest satirical comment anywhere about television, and the modern idea of the virtual?
Punch, Almanack for 1934, published 6 November 1933. The BBC did not begin regular television broadcasting until the end of 1936 – and suspended it in 1939, two days before war broke out, and resumed it in 1946.
See the Copyright notice, right. Copyright is with Mohamed Al Fayed. Shown with permission. Click to enlarge images and download if result is too large for your screen. The captions are everything.
TD’s career changed abruptly in 1931. He became a cartoonist. There are no Derrick cartoons before 1931. He didn’t cease to be an illustrator, but he began to do something new. I am not sure what brought about the change. School fees and family commitments, no doubt, though the former I believe were paid by GC. Perhaps it was his reaction to the newly-urgent Zeitgeist of 1931. His figures, which had been so static in his early work, suddenly sprang to life.
There is a tendency now towards joyfulness, levity. Punch is shown off the ground: leaping with the spring lambs, on horseback slaying the devil, up a ladder picking apples, hovering over the Christmas tree, lighting the street lamp, sleigh-riding down the beam of a searchlight, soaring through the air on skis, jumping over barbed wire, skipping up the steps of an air raid shelter, always with Toby in gleeful train.
In the colour Punch drawing called Interlude the riotous god of the woods, fields and mountains abducts two servile victims of the bureaucratic state, working listlessly at their desks – and returns them refreshed to their duties.
Underneath everything there is a riot. Pan’s sportive spirit has been exiled in the Industrial Age, but lives beneath its surface, and may return to haunt and subvert it.
Here is a similar, but more robust, watercolour from 1886. This is at the Usher Gallery in Lincoln. I have no way of knowing that the colours either here or in the last post are anywhere near right whatever your browser and screen (I suspect they aren’t), as I haven’t seen the originals. But what these images show is Clausen’s poetry and sensitivity in this medium.
A Rainy Day, 1886
Three GC oils have been auctioned in London since this blog started last October: an early one, Gathering Potatoes, at Bonham’s; a late one, Our Blacksmith, at Sotheby’s; and a middle one, The Dark Barn, at Christie’s. I will write about The Dark Barn soon. There have been some watercolours, including this one at Christie’s in December, from 1884. You can just see a team ploughing. This image looks horribly over-saturated on Safari and about right on other browsers on my Mac PowerBook right now.
Gombrich, below, refers to pattern (this post doesn’t quote him). GC was at his most avant-garde between 1882
and 1884. Even in one of his very first pictures done in the country, an awkward one (unresolved colour and lighting issues, not only fault of a poor scan), In the Orchard
(1882), the background is beginning to turn into mere vertical pattern
in a way which an artist such as Klimt took much further. But you can
see it even in Clausen.
What did the influence of Japanese prints mean in practice? Flatter modeling, among other things, and the admission of greater purely decorative qualities, more overall patterning, into picture-making. The Pre-Raphaelites had introduced decorative elements into their pictures (I don’t know anything about the interaction, if any, of the influences of Italian primitives and Japanese prints on any of them) – but the turning of the background itself into a vertical decorative panel – the lifting of the horizon – must have been considered modern.
In the Orchard, 1882