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Exhibitions

The Artists of St Ives

The Steamer Normand on the Seine, c.1932

BEN NICHOLSON

Pencil on paper
33 x 45 cm
Signed and dated verso

Rabbit's Dream, 1950

ALAN DAVIE

Oil on masonite
60 x 70.5 cm
Signed, dated and inscribed with the title verso

Untitled, 1954

ROGER HILTON

Oil on wooden panel
27 x 73 cm

Untitled, 1955

ROGER HILTON

Oil on canvas
91.4 x 76 cm 
Signed and dated

Green on Blacks, 1956

PATRICK HERON

Oil on canvas
91 x 45.5 cm
Signed; titled and dated verso

White Vertical, May 1956

PATRICK HERON

Oil on canvas
91.5 x 45 cm

Paysage, 1958

JOHN WELLS

Oil on board
6 x 30 cm
Signed, inscribed and dated verso

Piggy Chain No.1, 1960

ALAN DAVIE

Oil on canvas
101.5 x 122 cm
Signed and dated verso

Vertical Movement No.2,1960

ROBERT ADAMS

Bronzed steel
Height 115.5 cm / 45 ¼ inches
Opus 118 (1960/31)
Conceived in 1960 this is a unique piece

Joe's Lucky Dip, 1961

ALAN DAVIE

Oil on canvas
122 x 152.5 cm / 48 x 60 inches
Signed, inscribed and dated ‘Oct 1961’ verso
Opus O.411

Untitled, 1961

WILLIAM SCOTT

Gouache on paper
57.2 x 77.5 cm
Signed and dated

Blue and Black Still Life, 1962

WILLIAM SCOTT

Oil on canvas
86.5 x 112 cm / 34 x 44 inches

Orange Yellow Dull Green & White, 1965

PATRICK HERON

Oil on canvas
96.5 x 122  cm / 38 x 48 inches
Signed and dated ‘August 1965’ verso

Cylinder, 1969

ROBERT ADAMS

Chromed steel
33.5 cm high
Opus 312

Square Minus, 1969

ROBERT ADAMS

Chromed steel
31 x 30.5 cm
Opus 307 (1969/3)

Untitled, c.1979

BEN NICHOLSON

Pencil and wash on shaped paper
29.8 x 9.5 cm

Ronco,1981

BEN NICHOLSON

Ink and wash on artist 's board
59 x 64.2 cm

May 11, 1986

PATRICK HERON

Gouache on paper
32 x 47 cm

As Whites Flight, 2006

TREVOR BELL

Acrylic on shaped canvas
124 x 140 cm
Signed, inscribed and dated verso

As Whites Corona, 2007

TREVOR BELL

Acrylic on shaped canvas
143 x 142 cm
Signed, inscribed and dated verso

As Whites Hooked, 2007

TREVOR BELL

Acrylic on shaped canvas
124 x 140 cm
Signed, inscribed and dated verso

Square Relief XX, 2009

PAUL FEILER

Gouache, silver leaf, gold leaf, stainless steel and perspex on perspex
51 x 51 cm

Danger, 2010

TREVOR BELL

Acrylic on shaped canvas
160 x 165 cm
Signed, inscribed and dated verso

Online from 1 - 25 June 2021


The town of St. Ives, a historic fishing village in Cornwall, its rolling hills, rocky shores, quaint homes, sandy beaches and clear waters have attracted rugged dreamers as far back as 1312 when The Sloop Inn, the first local pub, opened there for business.

In addition to good surfing and excellent fishing, there has always been something extraordinary about the light in St. Ives.That is what began attracting painters to the area in the 1800s, when Impressionism and plein air painting were the rage.

In 1877, when the Great Western Railway extended to St. Ives, and it became an even simple matter to travel there, so many more artists started to come. They painted replications of the cliffs, the sea, the boats, the village, and the hard-working villagers bathed in that mysterious St. Ives light.

In the mid-20th Century, for a couple of decades, this sleepy fishing village of St. Ives joined Paris, New York, and the other world capitals to become a global epicenter of Modern and abstract art.

Ben Nicholson had first visited St Ives during the 1920s with his first wife Winifred. It was here that he and Christopher Wood ‘discovered’ the work of local fisherman Alfred Wallis. They were both delighted and inspired by his naïve seascapes.

Nicholson would return to St Ives during the Second World War, this time with his second wife Barbara Hepworth and the Russian sculptor Naum Gabo. Here their reductive style of abstraction found sympathy with other painters: Peter Lanyon, John Wells and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.

During the 1950s a group of painters gathered around the St Ives and formed the nucleus of avant-garde art in Britain. Among them there were some of the leading modern artists of their time: Alan Davie, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, William Scott, Bryan Wynter. They represented Britain's contribution to an international search for an art that respected modernism's abstract values and was suited to the post-war world and explored the sensitive zone between representation and abstraction. They translated the experiences and sensations surrounding them into pure painting or sculpture.

Many works derived from the artists experience of seeing boats rocking in the harbour. Although drawing inspiration from the surroundings, the compositions were guided principally by the response to the expressive qualities of the materials, colour and form. This was an approach that is common to works by Terry Frost, William Scott and Patrick Heron. The harbour and seawall which Patrick Heron could see from his studio window were the subjects of many of his paintings.

In 1954 painters connected to the St. Ives School including Terry Frost, William Scott and Roger Hilton were included in Lawrence Alloway’s survey Nine Abstract Artists. This publication was significant for examining their work within the framework of contemporary theories of perception. It also introduced the abstract sculptures of Victor Pasmore and Robert Adams - their industrial-looking forms recalled the Constructivist style pioneered by Naum Gabo in the 1930s.

Trevor Bell is widely regarded as the last of the St. Ives School Modernists.

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