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Avinash Chandra: painter from India

Article relating to an individual, 1961
Published by: The Studio
Year published: 1961
Number of pages: 4

image of Avinash Chandra: painter from India

Important feature on Avinash Chandra that appeared in The Studio magazine, Vol. 161, No. 813, January 1961. [Avinash Chandra: painter from India, pages 4 - 7]. The article was written by W. G. (William George) Archer, an  expert on Indian poetry, culture and art. He was born in 1907 and worked for the Indian Civil Service, from 1931 until about the time of Indian Independence in 1947. He was, subsequently, Keeper, Indian Section, Victoria and Albert Museum 1949- 59. W. G. Archer died in 1979.

This feature was a useful introduction to Chandra and his practice. It was illustrated with five reproductions of his then-recent work, one of which was in colour. Archer began his text with, “Avinash Chandra was born in India in 1931 and brought up in Simla and Delhi. He early showed a flair for drawing but it was not until 1947 when he entered the Delhi Polytechnic that he began to acquire a detailed knowledge of painting. At that time his main medium was tempera and in the works which he executed after he had joined the staff he expressed a youthful nostalgia for the trees and vegetation of the Punjab hills. His style was, at first, a continuation of that of Amrita Sher Gill, another Punjabi artist, but it is significant that he shrank from overtly portraying human figures and concentrated mainly on trees. He remained at Delhi Polytechnic for nine years. The atmosphere of Delhi, however, failed to satisfy him and in 1956, he came to London and settled with his wife in the comparative seclusion of Golders Green.”

This sympathetic and informative piece concluded with, “… Avinash Chandra must be hailed as one of the most significant modern Indian artists to appear since Independence. Yet his work is far from being merely Indian and just as Rabrindranath Tagore broke with previous styles, becoming in the process ‘naturally Indian.’ Chandra in the isolation of London has developed a type of expression which is Indian in spirit but also an original contribution to the modern movement. If Chandra’s morale can be maintained he may well become a major figure in modern art.”

The colour reproduction was City of Churches (no date given). The other reproductions were Moon and Houses, The Goddesses, Male and Female Figures, and Presences. All these four works were dated 1960.

Related people

»  William George (W.G.) Archer

Born, 1907. Died, 1979

»  Avinash Chandra

Born, 1931 in Simla, India. Died, 1991

Jacob Lawrence: article in The Studio magazine 1961

Article relating to an individual, 1961
Published by: The Studio
Year published: 1961
Number of pages: 2

image of Jacob Lawrence: article in The Studio magazine 1961

Published in 1961, this appreciation of Jacob Lawrence opens with sentiments that reflect the problematic ways in which Black artists have been framed and discussed throughout much of the 20th century. Written by Clifford Wright, this feature (that appeared in The Studio magazine, Vol. 161, No. 813, January 1961, pages 26/27) opened with, “Even if it rightly irritates and hurts artists who happen to be negro to be described as ‘the best negro artist’ as though there were two standards, one for whites and a lower one for negroes, I want to use this designation for Jacob Lawrence. He is exactly that - the best negro painter in the U.S.A. and it is not beside the point to emphasize his race, for his works treat the life of the negro in U.S.A. in a fantastic yet deeply convincing way and in a pure and extremely precise style.”

The appreciation was accompanied by three monochrome reproductons of Lawrence’s paintings; one piece from Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro series, 1940/1, The Pool Player, 1956 and Night After Night, 1952.

Wright’s piece concludes, “In these days of promise for American art (in 1958 an American artist, Mark Tobey, was awarded the Grand Prix of the Venice Biennale for the first time since Whistler) Jacob Lawrence is one of the brilliant talents of American art. His works are as fresh as ever, his subjects are still painfully topical, but most important is his compassion that is above the topical and the personal - something universal and eternal in the description of the small and limited and mortal.”

Related people

»  Jacob Lawrence

Born, 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Died, 2000

American Negro Art book review

Review relating to a publication, 1961
Published by: The Studio
Year published: 1961
Number of pages: 2

image of American Negro Art book review

Published in 1961, this review of Cedric Dover’s book American Negro Art was written by Clifford Wright. (It appeared in The Studio magazine, Vol. 161, No. 813, January 1961, pages 28/29) and followed directly on from Wright’s appreciation of American painter Jacob Lawrence on the two preceding pages of the same publication. The review was overwhelmingly positive and began with, “Cedric Dover’s picture book, with an intelligent, informative, and passionate text, is a moving work and a much needed one. In presenting American negro artists comprehensively, indeed exhaustively, the bitter is presented with the better, as the case would be in any group that were comprehensively covered. But even the bitter is interesting in this case, for the subject does have both sociological and human interest as well. And the good painters of the group are certainly comparable to any first-rate [white] American or [white] European painters.”

Dover’s book was an important work for a number of reasons, including the ways in which it embellished a hitherto limited amount of scholarship on African-American art (James Porter’s Modern Negro Art being the most significant publication dedicate to the visual arts that preceded Dover’s work.) Wright’s review referenced several artists, namely Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Beauford Delaney and the perhaps lesser-known Charles Sepree. Wright’s review ends with an eager anticipation of the sorts of more in-depth scholarship and comprehensive surveys of African-American art that were to become relatively commonplace by the closing years of the 20th century.

“The scholarly and careful text still abounds with modest remarks about just scratching the surface, and anticipation of augmented studies in the field. But to most readers inside U.S.A., and certainly outside, too, the book fulfils all expectations one might reasonably hold. There are sensible introductory chapters with titles that intrigue at first sight and themes that expand vivaciously and with touching fervour. It leaves the reader wanting to read more negro poets and writers, as well as wanting to see a comprehensive exhibition of the works of American negro artists.”

The review was accompanied by a full page colour reproduction of Jacob Lawrence’s Ambulance Call, no date given

 

Related people

»  Beauford Delaney

Born, 1901. Died, 1978

»  Cedric Dover

Born, 1904 in Calcutta, India. Died, 1961

»  Jacob Lawrence

Born, 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Died, 2000

»  Horace Pippin

Born, 1888 in Pennsylvania. Died, 1946

»  Charles Sebree

Born, 1914. Died, 1985

Prophet of Man’s Hope: Ronald Moody and his Sculpture.

Article relating to an individual, 1950
Published by: The Studio
Year published: 1950
Number of pages: 2

image of Prophet of Man’s Hope:  Ronald Moody and his Sculpture.

An invaluable appraisal of Moody and his work appeared in British magazine The Studio, in a January 1950 issue of the magazine. The writer, Marie Seton had the measure of Moody when, early on in the text, she expressed the view that the sculptor’s work, “which is concerned with man as an evolving type, is unique, haunting and far from easy to label.”

The wide ranging text recalled moments of high drama in Moody’s life, particularly his escaping, with his wife, from Nazi-occupied France. He had earlier moved to Paris, where his first one-man exhibition took place towards the end of 1937 at the Galerie Billiet-Vorms.

Recounting Moody’s flight, Seton wrote, “Then the German juggernaut approached Paris and many of Moody’s most beautiful works were dispersed across occupied France. Moody and his wife escaped from Paris with the stream of refugees and finally reached Marseilles on foot. For months the existence of a refugee kept him inactive. This terrible period has left its mark upon his later work, accomplished when at last he escaped to England (by the daring act of walking across the Pyrenees into Spain and crossing that country with the help of the ‘underground’ to Gibraltar.”

Clearly a great admirer of Moody’s work, Seton noted, “With each work he has captured a greater degree of sensitivity within the human spirit and achieved a greater and more subtle feeling of spiritual unity.”

The text was illustrated with four monochrome reproductions of Moody’s work, inluding The Late Dr Harold A. Moody Brother of the Sculptor, 1946 and Midonz, 1937.

Related people

»  Ronald Moody

Born, 1900 in Kingston, Jamaica. Died, 1984

»  Marie Seton

Born, 1910. Died, 1985