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Charles Howard, The Well Developed Trophy, 1948

Who made it?

This work is by the American artist Charles Houghton Howard (1899 – 1978). Howard moved to Paris in the early 1920s and on his return to America began to paint in a Surrealist style. He is credited with bringing the European movement to America through his surreal biomorphic abstractions.

How was it made?

Howard created this work using gouache, pen and ink on paper.

Where can I see it?

This painting can be seen in our exhibition, Discovery through Display at the Alison Richard Building, for only two more weeks, until 24 March. The exhibition was curated by Josephine Waugh, a second year History of Art student. She says this of ‘The Well Developed Trophy’;

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Charles Howard’s biomorphic abstractions were shown in numerous Surrealist exhibitions in England and the United States. Commenting on a work similar to this one, Howard described his abstractions as intending ‘to recall shapes and relations of things which are common to all mankind.’ We can trace a common thread between Howard’s universal abstractions and [John] Blackburn’s primal emotion, which garner meaning not through their political or social context, but in their confrontation with the viewer. The name of the piece urges the viewer to read figuration into this abstracted image; the patches of delicate shading evoke the glossy sheen of a trophy, obscured by the layering of linear shapes.

‘Discovery through Display’ will be at the Alison Richard Building until 24 March 2017. More information on the exhibition can be found here.