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. This was Spencer's first self-portrait in oils and it is most interesting when viewed in comparison with the very similar full frontal portrait painted 50 years later. This was for a chapel of love that married the domestic and the religious, in which even lavatories and fireplaces played a transcendent role. The relationship was literally laid bare in "Double Nude Portrait: The Artist and his Second Wife" also known as the "Leg of mutton nude". It was a project that was never completed. Watching, and painting, the death and destruction around him, he would later reveal that 'I had buried so many people and saw so many dead bodies that I felt that death could not be the end of everything'. 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. This blindness in understanding between the sexes looks forward to Spencer's own failed love relationships, and also serves to make the painting seem more religious, recalling scenes of the righteous and unrighteous being divided before God in heaven. The scene shown was actually that of an old Greek church that had been converted into a temporary operating theater. About the Stanley Spencer Gallery. 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. Artist and … His art reflects an intensely Christian faith yet is like no orthodox or even nonconformist vision. His painting of The Nativity gained him a Slade Composition Prize. This muddy work, depicted in browns, blacks and ochres, shows men bringing wounded soldiers to a field hospital on stretchers. Oil painting - Estate of Stanley Spencer 1919 Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916 This muddy work, depicted in browns, blacks and ochres, shows men bringing wounded soldiers to a field hospital on stretchers. His work is sometimes described as quintessentially English, yet his is often a distorted, even grotesque vision of rural and industrial Britain. Stanley Spencer (1891–1959) became an important figure in British art during the first half of the twentieth century. Interestingly though, unity seems to give birth to division, for although the adult couple are bound together, the young girls and young boys turn their back upon one another, as though there is a lack of comprehension and involvement between the male and female characters of the next generation. The portrait is testament both to the artist's skill and to his intense and determined character. Spencer's canvases are so complex and detailed that they resemble historical, Spencer's originality lay in his merging of the descriptively literal with the visionary and imaginative. In 1908 he went to the Slade School of Art in London to study among artists who would become luminaries of the twentieth century, including Paul Nash, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler and Isaac Rosenberg. There is dynamism in the composition, in the medics' movement and in the way the wounded travel upwards, towards the light of the operating theatre in a clear spiritual reference. He studied at the Slade School of Art, where his contemporaries included Dora Carrington, Paul Nash, David Bomberg and C.R.W. Sir Stanley Spencer CBE RA (30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959) was an English painter. These was to be the Church-House, with a chapel devoted to Carline and also, later, his lovers. In sex was to be found redemption, the conquering of death and the hope of resurrection. As a student, Spencer was a member of the Slade Sketch Club. Picking fruits from the trees, the viewer is of course reminded of the literal Garden of Eden making thus Spencer's parents and the family that they create comparable to the first romantic union and the fruits that it bore, a metaphor for creation itself. 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. Sir Stanley Spencer, 'Riveters' from Shipbuilding on the Clyde (detail), 1941, Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum Stanley Spencer's Shipbuilding on the Clyde series represents, in the words of Stanley Spencer Gallery Curator Carolyn Leder, 'one of the most remarkable artistic records of the Second World War'. Spencer's family was an unconventional one. The meat-like yet somehow illuminated quality of the living human flesh has been seen as prefiguring the work of Lucian Freud. He wrote the acclaimed centenary biography, Stanley Spencer, published by Collins in 1991 (to which this website is an updated supplement.) Spencer was one of nine children and here there are nine children and a monumental parental couple at the center. Par taught music and the family was encouraged to be creative, Stanley and his brother Gilbert taking lessons with a local artist called Dorothy Bailey. Other works are from the Stanley Spencer Gallery collection, private owners and other galleries. Stanley Spencer was one of the leading figures in British art between the World Wars. The Estate of Stanley Spencer and their presence hold all necessary copyrights and licences for all of his paintings and other works. 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.' It seems clear then that this painting is a family portrait. The dead grow from the ground like plants, pushing aside the wire and fallen crosses to reach out to one another. 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). As an ongoing project, the painter designed and worked towards "Church House", intended (although never built) as an enclosed sacred space made up of various chapel dedicated to his lovers, Preece, Hilda Carline (his first wife), Elise Munday, Daphne Charlton, and Charlotte Murray all included. August 11 2007, By Craig Brown / It could transform the everyday world into 'a sort of heaven'. or Best Offer. His works concentrate on descriptive detail, incident and anecdote, which combined with his visionary and imaginative spiritualism … Sex-obsessed, jam-sandwich-eating, and outside-pajama-wearing - Stanley Spencer was the archetypal English eccentric. 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. Click & Collect. It is an activity that dates back to medieval times. Stanley Spencer’s letters. The Guardian / View from Cookham Bridge – 1936 – Painting, Oil on canvas, 787mm x 1016mm. Painted when the artist was still young, we can just about see here the marked difference between Spencer's left and right eye. It was described as "masterly" by the art collector Edward Marsh, who bought it. The value of Spencer's paintings soared after a retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1980. Self Portrait, 1914, Stanley Spencer print in 11 x 14 inch mount SUPERB. Artwork page for ‘‘Man Goeth to his Long Home’’, Sir Stanley Spencer, 1911 on display at Tate Britain. The theme of redemptive sex is also present, if ironically, in the series of controversial nude portraits of Spencer and his second wife Patricia Preece, which the artist produced in the 1930s. Stanley Spencer is best known for his huge paintings that treat British village life in the manner of Renaissance frescoes, such as his masterpiece The Resurrection, Cookham, in which the lives (and deaths) of ordinary folk are tenderly offered up to our gaze.. Throughout this period Spencer was periodically returning to Epsom where Hilda and the children were living. Free postage. 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. ", "A person is a place's fulfillment, as a place is a person's.". Members were set subjects to draw, often from the Bible or classical mythology. Related Links . But Spencer's insistence on the importance of subject-matter separated him from those modernist painters who were his contemporaries in London and Paris. Indeed, Spencer was inspired to paint the portrait after seeing a reproduction of a head of Christ, by Luini, an Italian Renaissance artist. Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with cancer. The hospital glows in hope of savior against the pessimism of the dark night. His art comments on religion, love, sexuality, fraternity and community. Religion, sex and war were topics he often painted. Here too, the theme of resurrection would be transformative. He was briefly part of the Slade group known as the Neo-Primitives. 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 … The image well professes the calm comfort of Spencer's childhood, anchored by the dual influence of his parents. Stanley Spencer: List of works - All Artworks by Date 1→10. 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. Although this work owes something to European modernism, Spencer set himself apart at an early age. Having observed the dead and dying around him, he began to see sex as the answer, the response to death, literally and inspirationally. In the lower right corner of the frame a man walks away from the scene looking back at the hospital. However, throughout his life Spencer's work would defy categorisation or compartmentalisation as part of any major art movement. In many of his works, particularly the original war paintings and those with an overtly religious theme, Spencer takes an odd, oblique perspective, as if hovering slightly above the participants, looking into the scene. The misshapen and fantastic images he created have their own persuasive appeal, as though the artist viewed the world through a deformed yet illuminating lens and invited the observer to look through it too. During the complex period of his first marriage, divorce and remarriage, Spencer was becoming well-established as a painter. Spencer's own redemption came in the form of a commission from the War Artists' Advisory Committee, or WAAC, organised through his agent Dudley Tooth and the Secretary of the WAAC, E.M.O'R. ©2021 The Art Story Foundation. The central couple, with their arms entwined, metamorphose to become a stable and rooted tree. 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. On the battlefields of WWI, soldiers raised from the dead reach out to one another through barbed wire and barricades of fallen crosses. 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. However, he also developed a highly personal visual style. In fact, the character of the saint was based on Spencer's own father and it is difficult today to see how this painting could have been described as so offensive. And his psychologically intriguing paintings represent an extension of this weird and wonderful personality. April 8, 2018, By Laura Cumming / His work on the Sandham Memorial Chapel from 1927 to 1932 had partly fulfilled a concept he had developed during WWI. This resulted in the extraordinary series of paintings of workers at Lithgows Shipyard on the River Clyde. Copies still circulate. See lots more Stanley Spencer paintings at Art UK. His studies at the Slade were finished by the time the first World War broke out, and Spencer wanted to enlist. Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) explored fundamental issues of life with an urgency and persistence unique among British artists of his generation. Spencer had already stipulated that the "Leg of mutton nude" would never be exhibited in his lifetime. He was born in 1891 in the historic village of Cookham, which would play a pivotal role in his art. Highlights are Hilda Carline’s defiant early self-portrait (on loan from Tate), Spencer’s own portrait of Patricia Preece (on loan from Southampton City Art Gallery) and a rarely seen self-portrait from Patrica Preece’s partner Dorothy Hepworth. Photograph: Family handout The artist’s grandson, John Spencer, told the Guardian that Spencer’s full story would finally be told, “warts and all”. It was painted after Spencer returned from the war, and recalled his experience working with the field ambulances. ", Content compiled and written by Sarah Ingram, Edited and revised, with Summary and Accomplishments added by Rebecca Baillie, "During the war, when I contemplated the horror of my life and the lives of those around me, I felt that the only way to end the ghastly experience would be if everyone suddenly decided to indulge in every degree and form of sexual love, carnal love, bestiality, anything you like to call it. 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. Hauser adds: "The simplified forms and bold use of color of his early work have something in common with Gauguin in particular. Visitors to the show will be able to explore his unique love life and the effect the two women had on his work. As an early work, the painting looks forward to themes that will recur throughout Spencer's career, and although loosely painted in the far ground, shows as well the tight and rigorous attention to detail of which he is capable in the foreground. At this time some of his work was exhibited as Post-Impressionist and was considered to show the influence of early Italian artists such as Giotto. Spencer was eventually sent to Macedonia, where he served both in a Field Ambulance unit and in the 7th Battalion, the Berkshire Regiment. Shortly after leaving the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. 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. It is the same moody and unpredictable inner psychological drama that the likes of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud will go on to explore. By Professor Andrew Causey (February 4, 2014), By Sian Pattenden / £1.75 postage. £52.08 postage. The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing of this page. "It was an all-time record for a modern British painting, and would have astounded Stanley, who was poor for so long." The Observer / Here everything and everyone was redeemed." It is an interesting and appropriate view for an artist who strove to see and share the divine in every aspect, including in the animals who share the earth with humans. 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. His comment, 'I am on the side of angels and of dirt' shows a self-awareness that he expressed through his artistic vision. 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. Accepting the commission, Spencer dismissed the suggested subject matter, opting instead to depict "'God in the bare real things, in a limber wagon, in ravines, in fouling mule lines." Presented from an elevated position, we see four travoys brining in four casualties under blankets on stretchers. His second marriage, in 1937, was never consummated. The Stanley Spencer’s Gallery’s Spring exhibition, Love, Art, Loss: The Wives of Stanley Spencer opened its … All prints, paintings and photos included in www.StanleySpencer.org are provided as an affiliate to Art.com who hold necessary permissions. All Rights Reserved, Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta, Girls Listening. 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. Spencer's intention, like that of many artists, was to unite opposites - to align the body and spirit and the scared and profane in order to see the whole picture of life. As is commonplace for the artist, he expressed within an everyday earthly scene, a pantheistic connection between man, woman, nature, and fertility. A highly eccentric and isolated figure, writers and art historians often brush quickly over Spencer's awkward and difficult work. Stanley Spencer was one of the leading artists in England during the early 20th century. Dickey. £88.35. He would return to her often, still craving the domesticity that was impossible in their relationship. He was profoundly affected by the experience of World War I, which shattered his insularity having previously only known the life of an idyllic childhood. It is uniquely his own, the product of his own unconventional upbringing and path through life. This allowed him to emphasise the narrative and mystical atmosphere of his subjects. Framed. His contemporaries called him "Cookham" because of his attachment to his home. Spencer resigned from the Royal Academy. The prompt for this drawing was from the biblical book of Ecclesiates, ‘Man Goeth to his long Home’. Eventually, William Spencer obtained the patronage of Lord and Lady Boston to find a place for Stanley at the Maidenhead Technical Institute. Nevinson. Indeed, he did himself refer to the painting as "my first ambitious work and I have in it wished to say what life was". He also painted a self-portrait that was remarkable in its confident use of shade and colour. English painter, one of the most original figures in 20th-century British art. Home did not always prove to be the domestic idyll for which they yearned. Sir Stanley Spencer, (born June 30, 1891, Cookham, Berkshire, England—died December 14, 1959, Taplow, Buckinghamshire), one of the leading painters in England between the World Wars. Was: £110.44. Unity Spencer: Portrait of Stanley Spencer – 1957 – Painting, Oil on canvas, 506mm x 607mm. Though he painted a variety of subjects he is best known, and loved, for his paintings that fuse everyday life with religious themes. St Francis of Assisi came in for particular criticism, being viewed as little more than a caricature. His daughters would recall him as a good and loving father, far from the eccentric figure that the press portrayed him in later life. He died on December 14th 1959 and his ashes were buried in Cookham Churchyard. Love reveals and more accurately describes the nature and meaning of things than any mere lecture on technique can do. In 1950, this resulted in a cause célèbre when Sir Alfred Munnings, then president of the Royal Academy, obtained some of the images and prosecuted Spencer for obscenity. His painting "The Resurrection, Cookham", exhibited in a one-man exhibition In February 1927, astonished and delighted the critics. He was a master at creating large, heroic, and sprawling multi-figure compositions. Spencer wrote in a letter to his wife Hilda: "One would have thought that the scene was a sordid one... but I felt there was grandeur... all those wounded men were calm and at peace with everything, so the pain seemed a small thing with them." Sir Stanley Spencer, CBE RA (30 June 1891 – 14 December 1959) was an English painter. He had been engaged to Hilda for several years, always postponing the actual marriage day until 1925, and within four years had begun his lasting obsession with Preece. Spencer was born in Cookham, Berkshire, in 1891. The Guardian / © www.StanleySpencer.org 2020. Cookham, the village which he loved and where he spent most of his life, becomes the location for extraordinary events; the dead are resurrected and mingle with angels and Biblical characters in an everyday fashion. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet. Between 1939 and 1945, Spencer produced the “Shipbuilding on the Clyde” series, with the first purchased paintings "Burners" and "Welders" displayed in a WAAC sponsored National Gallery exhibition in May 1941. Charting the trajectory of Spencer's painting career in depth, this original publication provides a comprehensive analysis of the artist's oeuvre. From this experience, he would return again and again to themes of death, sex, redemption and resurrection. In the foreground of the painting are raw joints of meat; a leg of lamb and a lamb chop, "the uncooked supper", in Spencer's description. Wounded being carried by mules Macedonia -1918-1919 – Pen and wash on paper, 492mm x 390mm [Internet]. 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. Cookham is famous for its Swan Upping ceremony, during which, in Spencer’s day, the Thames swans were caught and marked on the beak by officials of the Crown and the Vintners' and Dyers' Companies. : `` the most important Picture painted by any English artist in the of. More than a caricature and unpredictable inner psychological drama that the `` of... Strongly influenced by the dual influence of his marriages, he would return to her often, craving! 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