Been reading Edward Sackville-West’s book on Sutherland in the Penguin Modern Painter’s series (1943)- that’s Sutherland’s portrait of him, above. Studied a number of paintings: the “Small Boulder” (1940); delight of the closely observed form in nature; colour not expressive, but structural- a component of the composition rather than an additional value.
Appropriate for Easter: “Christ Carrying the Cross” (1955): odd scene of Calvary set in a Mediterranean villa with dappled background of greens and blues. Figures Henry Moore-ish- steatopygous, semi-comic, thoroughly original. Wonder if the Vatican would accept this kind of religious modern art? They do have a collection of religious modern art that includes Sutherland.
Agree with Sackville-West that Sutherland was least successful in his pictures of English war life, not to be confused with his famous religious images with war links, some of the finest religious modern art ever produced. His “Devastation” (1941) which I saw at Oxford Modern Art last year betrays an unresolved conflict between the engineer and the painter; these scenes of monolithic urban despair can’t compete with his lunar landscapes, or organic forms of his later career. Excellent commentary by ESW, with interesting literary parallels (Shakespeare and Gerard Manley Hopkins).
Why Sutherland? I’ve been doing some teaching at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry. The artist most connected with Coventry is Graham Sutherland of course, and I have been showing students some of his art- check out the slide show on the PCP website. By the way, I’ve got a course coming up “A Short History of Oil Painting” for anybody who lives in the area.