Graham Sutherland 1903-1980
Painter in oils, watercolours and gouache; etcher; designer. Born in London. After a period as a trainee engineer, Sutherland studied engraving at Goldsmiths’ School of Art from 1921-26. He was greatly influenced by F.L. Griggs. Early etchings are reminiscent of Samuel Palmer’s work.
His first one-man exhibition was in 1925, and he was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in the same year. In 1926 he converted to Roman Catholicism. Following the collapse of the print market in 1929, he designed for posters, china, glass and fabrics, and began painting. He taught at Chelsea School of Art from 1928 to 1939. The 1930s saw him turn to oil and watercolour whilst retaining an etcher’s linearity and the ability to translate minuscule objects into greater scale. In 1934 he and his wife Kathleen first visited the West Country and Pembrokeshire (they returned annually thereafter until 1939), finding in the landscape a primitive drama and a source of inspiration for anthropomorphic natural forms, e.g. Red Monolith, 1937. He exhibited in the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, and was most impressed by the work of Picasso.
As a war artist (1940-45) Sutherland painted armaments factories and the devastation of shattered masonry and twisted iron in blitzed cities. He also painted mining and quarrying scenes in Wales and Cornwall. Plant and insect themes of the late 1940’s occurred during a period when Sutherland felt the influence of Picasso’s more Expressionistic pictures such as Guernica.... read more