Artists

1910-1919

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Provenance

Colonel Alexander Gregory-Hood O.B.E.
Given by Gregory-Hood to a Private Collector
Thence by Descent

Exhibitions

London, Carfax Gallery, Paintings by Spencer F Gore and Harold Gilman, January 1913, cat no.17 as 'Sunset'
London, Redfern Gallery, Spencer Gore and Frederick Gore, February-March 1962, cat no.60
London, Anthony D'Offay, Spencer Frederick Gore, February -March 1983, cat no.23
London, Royal Academy, British Art in the 20th Century, January-April 1987, cat no.10, illus

Description

Spencer Gore’s series of Letchworth compositions, painted between August and November 1912 whilst staying in Harold Gilman’s house, are considered the most radical and important of his career with an intensity of colour and a cubist stylisation that was unparalleled amongst his fellow Camden Town artists. Here he pursued new concepts of colour and composition using a simplified drawing and flat decorative treatment to record the rise or fall of the ground, the recession of the landscape and the roads and paths of Letchworth. Other works by Gore from this 1912 Letchworth series include The Beanfield ,Letchworth (Tate Britain, London); The Icknield Way (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney); The Road (Letchworth Art Gallery); Letchworth Station (National Railway Museum, York); Harold Gilman’s House at Letchworth (Government Art Collection); as well as two versions of The Cinder Path (Tate Britain, London and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Harold and Grace Gilman’s new house at 100 Wilbury Road, Letchworth was completed in 1908. The Garden City had been the brain-child of Ebeneza Howard, a visionary whose concept of social living would have appealed to Gilman’s socialist instincts. Howard realised his dream of building two satellite towns, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City. “During the summer of 1912, while (Harold) Gilman was in Sweden, Gore borrowed his house at 100 Wilbury Road, Letchworth, and produced more than twenty paintings of the new garden city and its surrounding landscape. The unparalleled vigour and originality of these paintings represent his response to the stimulus of European Post-Impressionism as seen in several key exhibitions recently staged in London, in particular Manet and the Post-Impressionists (1910-1911), Gauguin and Cezanne at the Stafford Gallery and, perhaps most crucial to the Letchworth interlude, the Italian Futurist Painters at the Sackville Gallery in March 1911. In addition a small number of works by Kandinsky had been included in the annual Allied Artists exhibition. In his attempt to express the underlying structure of natural objects he not only grouped the colours into uniform patterns, he also reduced the wayward shapes of nature, trees, clouds and so on down to their basic geometrical forms. The resultant stylisation may appear exaggerated and conceptual, but it sprang from intensely concentrated observation of the subject, not from aesthetic formulae” (see Wendy Baron, Perfect Moderns: A History of the Camden Town Group, Aldershot 2000, p.130)