Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight
19 Sep 2011 – 15 Jan 2012
The first major exhibition of Grimshaw's work in over three decades has arrived in London.
Previously at the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate, the show includes more than 60 paintings, charting the artist's career from his early works inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites to the impressionistic seascapes of his final years. As well as spectacular canvases, the display includes little-known drawings, manuscripts and photographs.Highly successful in his day (but vilified by his colleagues for his willingness to paint from photographs), the self-taught Grimshaw is now most celebrated for his dusky cityscapes. After visiting the artist's studio, Whistler is said to have remarked: 'I considered myself the inventor of Nocturnes until I saw Grimmy's moonlit pictures.'More of Grimshaw's work can be seen across the other side of London at the Richard Green Gallery, 147 New Bond Street. There are several works for sale and a good selection of loans. The exhibition closes on 23 October.
Leeds Bridge (1880), is considered by many to be Grimshaw's finest cityscape. It was painted at the height of the artist's success, before a financial crisis obliged him to reign in his expenditure and step up his productivity. We know precious little about the artist's life, but soon after painting this picture, he is known to have sold his Scarborough home and taken up a studio in Chelsea.Painted in 1882, Park Row, Leeds shows the warm handling of moonlight that has earned the artist his place in history. The subject matter is particularly nostalgic in that none of the three main buildings featured exist today. The church in the distance is the old St Anne's Cathedral, now sited on Great George Street. The building on the right is the old Beckett's Bank, a magnificent Venetian Palace-inspired construction that was torn down in the sixties despite a long preservation campaign headed by John Betjeman. The building with the portico on the left is the Philosophical Hall " the original headquarters of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, housing the original Leeds City Museum, it was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1941.