Christopher Wood 1901-1930

Provenance

Crane Kalman Gallery 1960’s 

Mr & Mrs Rose Collection

Literature

Christopher Wood Memorial Exhibition, Redfern Gallery, 1937

Sebastian Faulks The Fatal Englishman – Christopher, Wood Hutchinson, 1996

Christopher Wood briefly studied architecture in Liverpool, before working in Paris where he me Picasso and Jean Cocteau. His first one-man show was at Heals in 1924. He showed with Paul Nash in 1925 and in 1926 he met the Nicholsons and was encourage by Diaghilev to design stage sets.

Wood’s work showed much experimentation, as he came into contact with so many cross-currents in contemporary art in Europe, from Cubism to Surrealism, but was always vigorous and painterly. In 1928 he and Nicholson famously discovered Alfred Wallis who also greatly influenced his style: not least the adoption of a limited earthy colour range.

This small still life possess immense charm and beauty and incorporates several elements which Wood painted throughout his career. But it is the clay pipe that tells us most about the artist. This little object played a pivotal role in Wood’s life as it was the means by which he smoked opium and is seen in several works, perhaps most famously in his masterpoiece of 1927, Self-Portrait (Kettles Yard, University fo Cambridge).

Wood would have familiarized himself with the work of Geroges Braque in Paris and he shows a firm understanding, flattening and simplifing the form of the pipe and fruit in contrast to the intricate work of the pink and white flower heads with their richly think impasto. Areas of the fruit, leaves and pipe have been left transparent, allowing the ledge the objects are resting on and the drapery of the background to become an integral part of the subject, on a stage-like setting, a technique shared with Braque to create brilliant ambiguities with space and perspective.