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ABOVE Baroque Interlude

Ceri Richards

Ceri Richards was born in Wales (1903-1971) and lived for most of his life in London. A draughtsman of genius and a painter of rare energy and imagination, Richards trained at the Royal College of Art in the mid 1920s, where he began his life-long engagement with modern European art. He was deeply affected by Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse and Ernst, and later Rubens and Delacroix.

In the 1930s he made a number of relief constructions and paintings with cubist, figurative and abstract elements, a contribution that ranks with the best European art of the period.

He was a gifted musician, very responsive to music and poetry. His versatility enabled him to shift styles and to treat his subjects and themes with virtuosity. For all its diversity of imagery and variations of mood, there is an underlying coherence to his work. It is to be found in the constant recurrence of visual motifs and symbols, always associated with the mythic cycles of nature and of human life, and with the great theme of his life’s work, the central necessity of art to human existence.

Ceri Richards’ work was shown at The Redfern Gallery, London through the 1940s and 50s, and Marlborough Fine Art during the last ten years of his life. In 1962 he represented Great Britain at The Venice Biennale, and in 1981 he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Tate Gallery.

A second major retrospective followed in 2002 at the National Museum and Art Gallery of Wales, coinciding with the publication of the book ‘Ceri Richards’ by Mel Gooding, published by Cameron and Hollis.

Highly respected by his contemporaries, Richards was described by Henry Moore as “the finest draughtsman of his generation.”

The prints in the exhibition all come from his family estate.

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