View from Cookham Bridge – 1936 – Painting, Oil on canvas, 787mm x 1016mm. As is commonplace for the artist, he expressed within an everyday earthly scene, a pantheistic connection between man, woman, nature, and fertility. The Love, Art, Loss: The Wives of Stanley Spencer is an exhibition focusing on Hilda Carline and Patricia Preece, the two wives of the renowned British artist. It was painted after Spencer returned from the war, and recalled his experience working with the field ambulances. One of these was with Daphne Charlton, wife of the artist George Charlton, with whom he went to stay after the inevitable disintegration of his relationship with Preece. In "The Dustman", the dustman's beatified face as his wife lifts him into the air reflects both sexual and religious ecstasy, while his awestruck relatives and friends offer him a cabbage leaf, a teapot and a jam jar from the bin. See lots more Stanley Spencer paintings at Art UK. Stanley Spencer Gallery (b Cookham, Berkshire, 30 June 1891; d Taplow, nr. Indeed, Spencer was inspired to paint the portrait after seeing a reproduction of a head of Christ, by Luini, an Italian Renaissance artist. He had two principle interests; sex and biblical narrative and the two sit quite jarringly and unsettlingly - sometimes even creating a perverse or sinister tone - when married explicitly together. Hauser adds: "The simplified forms and bold use of color of his early work have something in common with Gauguin in particular. It was just one of the elements of Cookham that contributed to his artistic vision, the swans perhaps providing the later inspiration for the wings of his everyday angels resting in Cookham churchyard to watch the resurrection. This ongoing project further highlights the artist's pioneering interest in uniting explicit sex and religion, something quite common in Eastern devotion (for example, sacred temples in India decorated by the female yoni, symbol of the vagina), but considered shocking as relatively unheard of in Christianity. Although Spencer himself often stated that he was trying to create peace and redemption in his paintings, the affect on the viewer can often, paradoxically, be one of writhing dystopia. As well as looking forward to art of the future, the influence of the Old Masters is incredibly clear in this work; the deep, dark background and the strongly modeled form is reminiscent of a work by Vermeer or Rembrandt. It is Stanley Spencer's masterpiece and is arguably one of the greatest modern British artistic schemes ever conceived." His mother, who had not even wanted him to go to school, was opposed to this and persuaded him to join the Royal Army Medical Corps. It was a project that was never completed. During WWI he was given a copy of Saint Augustine's, Revealing himself as a romantic (he admired the poetry of John Donne and. Stanley Spencer’s letters. Love is the essential power in the creation of art and love is not a talent. Members were set subjects to draw, often from the Bible or classical mythology. While Spencer’s preoccupation with sexual imagery in the 1930’s alienated his colleagues, contemporary critics now see his work as a precursor to the late 20 th century revival of figure painting. The sensuous form of Preece sprawls across the centre of the image, legs apart, while Spencer, naked but wearing glasses, sits behind her rather awkwardly, more voyeur than husband. The later portrait clearly shows that the artist has two very different eyes and in this sense makes the profound comment that personalities are multiple and indeed sometimes split. The Daily Mail / Nonetheless, Spencer was reconciled with the new President of the Royal Academy after the retirement of Munnings. In the lower right corner of the frame a man walks away from the scene looking back at the hospital. The meat-like yet somehow illuminated quality of the living human flesh has been seen as prefiguring the work of Lucian Freud. Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE RA (30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959) was an English painter. His works concentrate on descriptive detail, incident and anecdote, which combined with his visionary and imaginative spiritualism … Although Spencer studied at the Slade School of Art, he traveled home every evening to have dinner with his family and remained estranged from other influential artists of his day. During the complex period of his first marriage, divorce and remarriage, Spencer was becoming well-established as a painter. He was briefly part of the Slade group known as the Neo-Primitives. Dickey. In fact, the word eccentric is frequently applied to the Spencers, William (also known as Par) and Anna Caroline Spencer and their numerous children. In sex was to be found redemption, the conquering of death and the hope of resurrection. The village residents became the characters in his painting and the landscape the stage setting for his mysterious scenes; he therefore successfully deals with universal themes coming from a local starting point. The Resurrection; waking up fetched £770,000 at Christie's early in 1990, and in May of that year his Crucifixion (1958) fetched £1,320,000. The Wives of Stanley Spencer are the subject of a new exhibition Love, Art, Loss at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, Berkshire. Nevinson. Within the naive realism of this work, Spencer set a theme that would endure throughout his career, that of finding the spiritual in the everyday. © 2020. His art comments on religion, love, sexuality, fraternity and community. March 25 2001, By Fiona MacCarthy / Despite his divorce, his relationship with Hilda never really ended. There is a sense of awe, yet also once again the everyday is present in the images of floor cleaning, making beds, "Filling Tea Urns" and "Sorting and Moving Kit Bags". It is uniquely his own, the product of his own unconventional upbringing and path through life. The Church-House would fully develop his concept of Cookham as Heaven, with paintings expressing the transformational power of erotic love. He was a master at creating large, heroic, and sprawling multi-figure compositions. In this phrase he once more joins the sense of the religious ("The Last Supper") with sexual yearning and redemption, along with a bleak and self-deprecating sense of humour that is sometimes overlooked in critiques of his work. It is the same moody and unpredictable inner psychological drama that the likes of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud will go on to explore. In contrast to both marriages, this was an image of sublime harmony between the mundane and spiritual worlds. His daughters would recall him as a good and loving father, far from the eccentric figure that the press portrayed him in later life. Spencer made precise observational work and engaged deeply with historical art. This allowed him to emphasise the narrative and mystical atmosphere of his subjects. His work is sometimes described as quintessentially English, yet his is often a distorted, even grotesque vision of rural and industrial Britain. By this time he had married and divorced artist and fellow Slade student Hilda Carlin, and was the father of two daughters. His art reflects an intensely Christian faith yet is like no orthodox or even nonconformist vision. His studies at the Slade were finished by the time the first World War broke out, and Spencer wanted to enlist. List of works Featured works (10) All Artworks by Date 1→10 (273) All Artworks by Date 10→1 (273) All Artworks by Name (273) High resolution (1) Styles Neo-Romanticism (273) Series The Beatitudes of Love (7) Sandham Memorial Chapel (16) Shipbuilding on the Clyde (20) Port Glasgow Resurrection (7) Domestic … St Francis of Assisi came in for particular criticism, being viewed as little more than a caricature. It is an activity that dates back to medieval times. June 6 2007, By Harriet Sherwood / The hospital glows in hope of savior against the pessimism of the dark night. A highly eccentric and isolated figure, writers and art historians often brush quickly over Spencer's awkward and difficult work. English painter, one of the most original figures in 20th-century British art. He would return to her often, still craving the domesticity that was impossible in their relationship. He had two principle interests; sex and biblical narrative and the two sit quite jarringly and unsettlingly - sometimes even creating a perverse or sinister tone - when married explicitly together. Stanley Spencer Gallery As a reviewer in The Times observed in December 1932, the chapel was an 'imaginative interpretation of incidents which impressed the artist in the course of his daily duties, and their great merit – as a memorial – is that they do not go outside either his practical or his emotional experience as an individual.' On the battlefields of WWI, soldiers raised from the dead reach out to one another through barbed wire and barricades of fallen crosses. The Guardian / Religion, sex and war were topics he often painted. 8" x 6-1/2" sight size. He wrote the acclaimed centenary biography, Stanley Spencer, published by Collins in 1991 (to which this website is an updated supplement.) Here everything and everyone was redeemed." With its vivid colors and tone of joie de vivre, the early influence of Post-Impressionism, and more specifically, of Gauguin is overriding in this early work. From this experience, he would return again and again to themes of death, sex, redemption and resurrection. From 1908 to 1912, Spencer painted and exhibited a number of works, in which some of his lifelong approaches and themes were already clearly defined. from Amazon Stanley Spencer was one of the most significant British artists of the inter-war period. Opened in 1962, it is housed within a former Wesleyan Chapel in the High Street, a few minutes’ walk from the house where Spencer was born and where he used to worship. Click & Collect. Spencer took the microcosm of his childhood village, Cookham in Berkshire, and explored its land and people in order to understand the macrocosm that is life, and the world, even to the extent of the heavens as well as the earth. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet. The prompt for this drawing was from the biblical book of Ecclesiates, ‘Man Goeth to his long Home’. The paintings of camp life reflect a strong desire for order and the domestic, obsessions for the majority of soldiers who simply wanted to return to "Blighty", hearth and home. His work is unflattering and completely human, devoid of pity, yet rich in compassion and redemption. As well as his marriages, he is known to have had at least two other relationships. Sex-obsessed, jam-sandwich-eating, and outside-pajama-wearing - Stanley Spencer was the archetypal English eccentric. During this period, he read Thoreau's Walden. This picture-book rural community, the archetypal Thames-side village, also provided inspiration for the author of "The Wind in the Willows", Kenneth Grahame. Though Spencer employed realistic tones and colors, he often distorted forms and spatial planes to expressive ends, as seen in his The Resurrection, Cookham (1924–1927). Lack of fulfilment, consummation or completion apply to both of his marriages. However, the themes and approaches owe as much to English writers and painters with their focus on the local, the personal and an ability to portray both darkness and innocence simultaneously. Preece was the long-term lover of artist Dorothy Hepworth, and she maintained this relationship throughout her marriage to Spencer. Description: Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) British "Landscape Composition" pencil on paper. "It was an all-time record for a modern British painting, and would have astounded Stanley, who was poor for so long." He was born in 1891 in the historic village of Cookham, which would play a pivotal role in his art. 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