Isle of San Clemente, Venice signed and inscribed 'Isle of Sante Clemente, Venice By Algernon Newton' (on the stretcher) oil on canvas 51 x 93 cm. (20 x 36 1/2 in.) Painted in 1926
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, U.K.
EXHIBITED: Sheffield, Graves City Art Gallery, Algernon Newton R.A. (1880-1968), 26 July - 26 August 1980, no.14; this exhibition travelled to Plymouth, City Art Gallery & Museum, 13 September - 12 October 1980 and London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1 November - 7 December 1980
Having been influenced by Frank Brangwyn and George Lambert at the London School of Art, Algernon Newton's early work relied on the impressionist based method of direct painting in front of the motif. By 1918 Newton had realised that this technique and style was stunting his progress and turned to the National Gallery's collection of Old Masters for inspiration.
Newton was particularly struck by the Canaletto's and commented 'I had never before seen such accurate and sensitive values in any other master concerned with the rendering of light in landscape' (Sheffield City Art Galleries, Algernon Newton R.A. 1880-1968, 1980, exh.cat, p.3). From this point, and over coming years, Newton meticulously studied Canaletto's methods and made numerous studies, which helped formulate his own independent technique. In the catalogue for the 1980 exhibition Nicholas Usherwood states that, although they exist, the beautiful Island of San Clemente is the only Venetian painting by Newton he has physically seen.