Artist in Focus
Selected works from the collection will be on show in the exhibition gallery during the building work.
In a series of small, focused displays familiar works will be presented in new ways and with contextual material from the archive and the reserve collection that is not normally available to the public.
7 April - 8 July 2012
Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) is one of the most original and inspiring British artists of the 20th Century. Living in St.Ives, Cornwall and with no training, Wallis took up painting late in life ‘for company‘ after the death of his wife. Previously, he had worked as a mariner, crossing the Atlantic and later working smaller fishing boats. With only household oil paint in limited colours on found bits of card, Wallis made works that are, as he said himself, more experiences and events than paintings. ‘i do most what used To Be what we shall never see no more…’ he wrote to Jim Ede, creator of Kettle’s Yard, and one of his most ardent collectors.
On display are about forty paintings, from the reserve collection and the part of the house closed due to building work. They show what Wallis knew best: from brigantines and sailing boats to lug boats and motor vessels, often battling with an unpredictable sea. What shines out is Wallis’s exceptional natural talent.
Feb 9 1934
Receved your letter all Right with Thanks
glad you are pleased with The paintins
i have got a few more
i will send Them on so you shall have Them in Time
They was not Dry
i have got 3 or 4 Big ones
They are Two Big to send By pos
i should like for you To see Them
i do most what used To Be
what we shall never see no more
avery Thing is altered
so i must Clos for The Time
with all good wishes
from your friend alfred wallis