Object of the month October 2011

Brimley Hill, Devon by Robert Bevan

Brimley Hill, Devon, around 1915
By Robert Bevan (1865 to 1925)

This painting by Robert Bevan was acquired by the Herbert in 1982.

In the 1890s Bevan became a friend of the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin, whom he met in Pont Aven in Brittany. At this time, Gauguin had just returned from his first trip to the South Seas and was experimenting with a style of painting which involved the use of simplified colour and flattened clearly outlined shapes. This clearly had a powerful influence on Bevan and a radical and expressive use of strong pure colours became characteristic of his work. One critic, commenting on a painting by Bevan, described ‘a rainbow horse, drawing a crimson plough, followed by a magenta ploughman over a purple field’.

Bevan was a member of the Camden Town Group of Artists which grew out of the Fitzroy Street Group in 1911. He painted many views of London’s horse drawn cabs and cabyards. His work also featured the suburban streets of St Johns Wood and Hampstead and the rural landscapes of Sussex, Somerset and Devon.

Bevan’s first solo exhibitions, in 1905 and 1908, were poorly received and his work was strongly criticised. His contribution to British art was not widely recognized until 1965, the centenary of his birth. In that year the artist’s son published his memoir and organised a series of exhibitions. His work is now found in many museum and gallery collections, including the Tate.

This painting is on display in the Herbert’s Art Since 1900 gallery.

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Posted on 03/10/2011, in Object of the Month and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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