miércoles, 20 de julio de 2016


Christa Zaat

Harold Charles Francis Harvey (British painter) 1874 - 1941
Early Spring, 1918
oil on canvas
30 x 26 in. (76 x 66 cm.)
signed Harold Harvey and dated '18 (lower left)
private collection

Catalogue Note
Harold Harvey's career spanned the two generations of the Newlyn School, the first being represented by Norman Garstin, Walter Langley and Stanhope Forbes and the second being represented by Laura and Harold Knight who arrived in Newlyn in 1907. Although Harvey learnt much from Forbes' paintings of fisherfolk and stable-hands, his work has the Modernist qualities of the later generations, including a clarity of forms, crispness of lighting and lushness of color. Early Spring combines all of these qualities, resulting in a strikingly modern composition. A lone female figure stands on a rolling hilltop holding a baby in her arms. The brilliant sun soaks the countryside, creating a dramatic shadow behind her. Almost as if standing on a stage, she peers out toward the viewer, motionless, her purpose and direction unclear as there is no farm or townspeople in sight. Appearing young and isolated, she is a powerful and unconventional image of motherhood. The up-turned ground plane is divided into plots of land; Harvey's gestural brushstrokes are less a precise record of the rolling hills, but rather an expressive impression of the lush countryside. Harvey was committed to the principles of plein-air painting and his greatest works were painted out of doors in the sunshine, capturing the brilliance of color and light which give his pictures such a bold and modern quality.

Harvey often asked natives of Cornwall to pose for his pictures. A young Cornish mother and her son, surname Tregenza, posed for Mother and Child (National Museum of Wales) the same year as the present painting. When the war broke out, the government told artists to cease painting outdoor scenes, for fear the compositions would provide useful information to invading armies. This was problematic for the artists of the Newlyn School since they were primarily landscape painters. In concession to the government's request, Harvey turned indoors for inspiration and, as a result, is today well-known for his domestic interiors.

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