Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson A.R.A. (British, 1889-1946)
On the Downs signed 'C.RW. NEVINSON.' (lower right) oil on canvas 40.6 x 60.8 cm. (16 x 20 in.)
PROVENANCE: With The Fine Art Society, London, September 1966
EXHIBITED: Possibly London, The Royal Academy, 1946, cat.no.551 (as House on the Downs) Possibly London, E.Brown & Phillips, The Leicester Galleries, Memorial exhibition of pictures by C.R.W. Nevinson, May-June 1947, cat.no.48 (as House on the Downs)
Celebrated for some of the most enduring trench paintings of The Great War and an official war artist during WWII, Nevinson's peacetime work is more often focused on the modern world rather than the natural. Yet landscape forms an important component of his oeuvre and echoes of the artist's wider concerns can be found here by way of symbolism. On the Downs holds detailing reminiscent of the artist's wartime engagements; the scattering of poppies in the foreground and barbed wire scarring through the sun dappled hillside. However these are not the focus of the picture, our eye is led by a sweeping composition and a flock of birds in flight towards the cottage and tree clump afar; a peaceful existence nestled on the horizon.
In style, tone and palette the present work relates to further works painted by Nevinson on the South Downs in his later years such as Summer in the Downs (Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry) and Peaceful Rhythms of the Downs (shown Royal Academy, 1941). As such a date circa 1940 would be appropriate.
We are grateful to Christopher Martin for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.