Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Evelyn Dunbar: The Lost Works

A 1944 Pastoral, Land Girls Pruning at East Malling
Also on at Pallant House at the moment is a selection of work by WWII Official War Artist Evelyn Dunbar (1906 – 1960). The show consists mostly of paintings, drawings and illustrations found in the attic of a relative's home and not seen before. Mostly studies, these have been brought together with the finished works from public and private collections. These works are rarely seen also so it's a bit of a privilege to see them now.

Land Army Girls going to Bed

Dunbar was quite versatile and had different styles according to project in hand but it's the 'domestic' war scenes I really like. Part of me harrumphed that 'the little woman' had been kept at home and not sent to document the 'real' war stuff, but of course, the domestic was just as important to record as part of the war effort. These paintings are rather Spenceresque; the shapes of the figures, the composition and colours. 

Flying Apple Pickers
I think it's rather a shame though that Dunbar's work was squished into three small, dark rooms whilst David Jones was languishing in the more spacious upstairs galleries. Flying Apple Pickers, a painting I particularly liked, could hardly be seen as it was hung on a piece of wall sticking out into the space only a couple of feet wide - the painting just fitted.

Read more about the exhibition here.

1 comment:

  1. Good review, thanks. I also enjoyed the exhib. - Caspar.