First published: Winter 2000/01
Twentieth century mainstream British art has been immeasurably enriched by the paintings of the retired Cornish fisherman and rag-and-bone man, Alfred Wallis (1855–1942). Wallis only began painting at the age of seventy, three years after his wife Susan, who was 20 years his senior, died; he said he did it ‘for company’.
His deeply mystical, primitive yet intuitively sophisticated paintings of the sea, boats and harbours, and dark, wooded landscapes released more than one generation of British artists to be true to themselves. His influence continues today, expanding subtly through the presentation of his pictures, exhilaratingly en masse at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, and more sparingly at the Tate St. Ives gallery in Cornwall.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #33