Kamis, 05 Mei 2011

Meredith Frampton - portraitist

Meredith Frampton (right)
Here’s a change – some old fashioned and very elegant portraiture from English painter Meredith Frampton (1894 – 1984). Frampton was born in London; the only son of the noted establishment sculptor Sir George Frampton and the artist Christabel Cockerell. Meredith studied at John’s Wood Art School and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1913. His first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1920, his work winning increasing critical recognition. The final years and aftermath of the Great War saw a return of realism and of styles dating back to before Post-Impressionism, in the so-called ‘Return to Order’. This became known as ‘Neo-Realism’ or ‘Modern Realism’ in England and it was led by Meredith Frampton, Charles Ginner, Harold Gilman and the Euston Road School.
Frampton produced highly finished portraits and still-lifes, sometimes with a slightly Surrealist flavour. He excelled at conveying the intellectual qualities of his sitters. Frampton’s portraiture harks back to the tradition of full-length portraits of women associated with the work of earlier artists, such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough.

1919 Sir George James Frampton
 On the death of his father in 1928, Meredith took over his studio at 90 Carlton Hill in St John’s Wood. Frampton became one of the most sought-after portraitists of the inter-war years, but was a painfully slow worker and unsurprisingly, his output was small, but significant. He painted a few female portraits that helped define the ‘Roaring Twenties’. His 1921 portrait of Winifred Radford was commissioned by her husband, Douglas Illingworth.

1921 Winifred Radford
Frampton’s elegant full-length portrait Marguerite Kelsey is in the collection of the Tate Galleries.

1928 Margeurite Kelsey
 His oil on canvas Portrait of a Young Woman was also presented to the Tate. Frampton later said that he painted that picture as ‘a relaxation from commissions, and to celebrate an assembly of objects… beautiful in their own right’. The sitter was Margaret Austin-Jones, then aged 23. Her dress was made up from a Vogue pattern by Frampton’s mother. The vase in the picture made of mahogany, was designed by Frampton himself.

1935 Portrait of a Young Woman
 Frampton was elected ARA in 1934 and RA in 1942. His Diploma Work was Still-life. Most years between 1926 and 1945 he exhibited a picture at the RA. His refined and highly finished portraits of attractive young women and men of science and of letters, carefully posed with appropriate accoutrements, were lauded for their psychological intensity and the artist’s personal sense of mystery. Frampton’s overriding concern for formal clarity was paramount, his exceptional ‘clarity of expression’ considered ‘a vehicle for a celebratory delight in the material world.’ Due to failing eyesight Frampton retired from the active exercise of his profession in 1953 and fell into obscurity, but his 1982 Tate retrospective somewhat revived his reputation. He wrote of his own work: ‘I think my principal aim has always been to paint the sort of picture that I would like to own and live with had it been painted by someone else.’ Frampton died in 1984.

1927 Still Life

1929 King George VI

1931 Sir Henry John Newbolt

1932 Still Life

1937 A Game of Patience

1945 Dr. Clive Forster-Cooper

Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins

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