Artists

1960-1969

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Provenance

Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York, 1964
Iola Haverstick, U.S.A
Offer Waterman, London
Private Collection, London
Offer Waterman, London

Private Collection, London, since 2011

Exhibitions

Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York, Lanyon : Exhibition of Paintings, Collages, Constructions and Watercolours, 5 - 23 May, 1964, cat no.22

Description

Listed by Peter Lanyon as 'Construction, no.162A'. Taking its title from a small village and china clay pit near Redruth in Cornwall, this painting dates from the last year of Lanyon’s life. A trip to Prague at the beginning of 1964 had included meetings with other artists, visits to cultural sites and a journey into the High Tatra Mountains of Northern Slovakia in wintertime as well as a brief, intense romance with his Slovakian interpreter. All of this proved intensely stimulating to Lanyon’s last months of work; not only were they among the most productive of his life but during this time he pushed his art in intriguing and tantalisingly significant new directions. The chief impact of the visit seems to have been in the brighter, sharper colours that all his 1964 paintings employed. It is tempting to trace the intense greens, whites and blues of Gwennap, for example, to the snowy mountain landscapes, forests and brilliant winter skies we know he experienced during this visit, and these colours characterised the Czechoslovakian subjects he completed immediately after his return. The re-introduction of collaged elements into his paintings also dates from this point. In Gwennap this is apparent in the incised and cut away masonite board surface, a development that marks a return to those early concerns with pictorial space represented by his pre-war (1939-46) box constructions. It is very moving to see how in this, one of his last Cornish subjects, his extensive travels, most notably to the USA (this work was first shown, at the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York) and close friendships with Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, had stimulated him into making these final, astonishingly vigorous and foward-looking visions of his own native landscape.