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This catalogue was published to accompany an extensive exhibition of the works of Glyn Philpot, held between 9th November 1984 to 10th February 1985, at the National Portrait Gallery. Philpot was a very successful and wealthy portrait painter during the first twenty years of the 20th century and became an RA at a very early age. His work his thought by some to display an edge and character often missing from the more staid portraits of Lavery and Sargent. The subtitle, Edwardian Aesthete to Thirties Modernist, relates to the dramatic change in style adopted by the artist around 1932 when he took up a more Modernist, but still representative, style after years of success as a portrait painter.
The book contains an excellent short chronology, a well written introduction to the life and work of the artist and then an extensive illustrated catalogue of the paintings, drawings and watercolours, sculpture, book illustrations and family photographs of Philpot. The catalogue betrays its age in one respect in that virtually all the illustrations are in black and white, there are only twelve full colour plates although these do represent some of his most iconic pictures. The introduction is well written, lucid and flows well giving details of Philpot's life and friendships and dealing with aspects of his painting style in a clear, straightforward manner. For those who wish to know more of Philpot's complicated friendships I would recommend `Glyn Philpot; His Life and Art' by J. G. P. Delaney, Ashgate, 1999, as they are only lightly sketched in here.
I would think this book is a must for those wanting to know more about this very accomplished and highly regarded but now largely forgotten painter, being yet another casualty of the headlong and uncritical rush to embrace Modernism. There are copious illustrations and the whole catalogue is well presented.
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on 29 July 2014
a very useful guide to an underated artist
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