21. Gallery Visit – York Art Gallery.

8 Jan 2018. As well as another look at the Paul Nash exhibition my intention was to continue to research the still life genre.

The oldest I found, painted about 1650 by Abraham Hendricks van Beyeren – “Banquet Still Life”. As well as the bowls, jug, food and fabric on a table there is a faint self portrait of the artist reflected in the polished jug. The negative spaces are divided not only by the table and the objects on it, but by the architectural detail behind, which being mainly monochrome and flat, contrasts the lavish and colourful table display……..

van Beyeren

Next to that picture was one attributed to a follower of Jean Simeon Chardin (1699-1779) and painted around 1820 – 1860. This painting was much simpler in subject and detail and to my eye more pleasing……


Moving on to the 20th Century – I became interested in Edward Burra’s “The Green Fig” (1930). Compared to the previous two pictures this is moving away from from the real towards the abstract, with bold contrasting colours. I liked the way that the red table is a simple rectangle that looks like a painting in front of another painting……

Edward Burra - The Green Fig 1930

And this by Ben Nicholson painted 4 years after the Burra, “Still Life – Birdie” (1934). Almost abstract and in this the objects themselves become less important than the rhythmic composition and texture of the paint. Then negative spaces are difficult to define…….

Ben Nicholson Still Life - Birdie 1934

And finally, not a still life as such but an arrangement of ceramics by Hans Coper (1920-1981). Looking at this row of pots made me wonder if several objects arranged in a straight row might make a good still life, so that’s something I might explore……..


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