Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines opened the East Anglian
School of Painting in Dedham, Essex in 1937, relocating three years later to a
16th century farmhouse named Benton End in Suffolk. Their art school remained open
throughout the Second World War, its rural setting and communal living
providing a place of sanctuary for young artists. Morris was a notable
plantsman and the subjects of this still life would have been grown in the
gardens and later cooked up for the students. The Mediterranean peppers were unusual
in England at this time, having been grown from seeds Morris brought back from
a trip to Spain. Here they add an exotic presence to the otherwise native cast
of characters played by the carrots, leeks and rhubarb.
The painting’s title refers to the Yalta Conference of
February 1945 where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to agree the partition
of Europe. It's one of two allegorical pictures Morris made at the start and
end of the war; the earlier picture Crisis, 1939, is a portentous image of
birds gathered in a tree as if convened for a meeting.
Morris’s rich, flat colour and bold compositional design
look to the French Post-Impressionists and to early Renaissance painters such
as Giotto. His paintings are intensely observed with a pleasing sense of
completeness. His idiosyncratic technique of starting a painting at the top
left hand corner and working across the canvas until he reached the bottom
right, requiring a precise vision of the finished painting from the start.
painting is one of Offer Waterman’s earliest acquisitions and was sold to the
Ferens Art Gallery, Hull in 1998.
R.A. Bevan, UK Offer Waterman, London Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Welsh Arts Council, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, Cedric Morris Retrospective, 16 June - 29 July 1968, cat no.68 Tate Gallery, London, Cedric Morris, 28 March - 13 May 1984, cat no.84
You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.