Christopher Wood 1901-1930

Painter of seascapes, harbours, landcapes, imaginative and figure compositions. he worked mainly in oil, including oil-based house paint used deliberately for a crudity of effect, and also in watercolour and gouache. He studied architecture briefly at Liverpool University, then, in 1921, worked in Paris at the Academie Julian and at the Grande Chaumiere. He was encouraged by Augustus John, Alphonse Kahn and Antonio Gandarillas, with whom he travelled widely in Europe, North Africa, Greece and Italy. He met Picasso and was on friendly terms with Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob. his first one-man show was at Heals in 1924; in 1925 he showed with Paul Nash at the Redfern Gallery, and in 1926 he met the Nicholsons, exhibited with the Seven and Five Society, and was encouraged by Diaghilev to design sets and costumes for the Lambert’s ballet Romeo and Juliet , although they were eventually declined. He did design Luna Park for Cochran in 1930. His work showed much experimentation, as he came into contact with so many cross currents in contemporary art in Europe, from Cubism to Surrealism, but it was always vigorous and painterly. In 1928 he and Ben Nicholson discovered Alfred Wallis, who influenced Wood’s style: he adopted a limited, earthy colour range, working on board and often using Ripolin house paints and primers. His mature work of 1929-30, painted in Cornwall and Brittany, is typified by such works as Boat Builders, Treboul , 1930 (Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge). He was killed falling under a train at Salisbury station.

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