Alfred Wallis

25 06 2012

 In 1928, Christopher ‘Kit’ Wood and Ben Nicholson, two dedicated and established modernist painters visited Cornwall, and on their last day there, travelled to St Ives where they found an old retired fisherman who spent his days painting his memories and observations on to bits of board using household paints. He didn’t offer any explanation for his style, he hadn’t had any formal training and he had never considered any of the ‘rules’ associated with art, that of perspective, tone or composition. The old man simply painted the images he held inside himself on to whatever he could find. His name was Alfred Wallis and this website is dedicated to his memory.

Alfred Wallis. Child like. Yes. Naive. And fun to look at. Is that good enough to be considered art. There are many accomplished draftsman who are not artists. There is something lacking in their work. Wallis has it. Life. The moment. And even in some of the details he knows what he is depicting. As an artist he has been romanticized quite a bit. And I think the idea of discovering some unknown uneducated genius is a romantic dream of some collectors. I’m beginning to sound too cynical. Check out his work.

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5 responses

25 06 2012
Glennie Bee

Wallis’ ‘The Hold House’ is in The Hepworth, Wakefield, very close to me. I have to say, it’s absolutely awful: what looks like blue in the repros is actually a sort of dirty, washed-out battle-ship grey (maybe due to a deterioration in the paint, to be fair.) It seems I am immune to his ‘charm’ – my old man and I (he’s the artist) were arguing about him just the other day. You’re right – he has been romanticised (much like Lowry).
Oh, well, we can’t all like everything.

15 11 2013

We can’t all like everything. i dont like u.

25 06 2012
David Halliday

Good art, even bad art, encourages discussion. Good to hear from you.

26 06 2012

Have you ever visited Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge? Big collection of Wallis’ there and a show on him at the moment – worth a trip 🙂

26 06 2012
David Halliday

While I would love to visit Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, it is a wee bit far for me to travel at present. (I’m in Toronto, Canada) But I will google it and hopefully they will have a web sight. Thanks

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