Starting to paint late in life with no artistic training, the exquisite work of painter, Alfred Wallis gets the close attention it deserves in this major collection of his work.
Drawn largely from Kettle’s Yard reserve collection, which is very rarely seen, the exhibition revolves around the recent discovery of three late Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) sketchbooks, loaned to the gallery to celebrate the Cornish fisherman and artist.
The works shown are among the finest examples of Wallis’ expressive drawings and paintings, in which he captured his direct experiences of the sea. Working on deep sea fishing boats and as a marine scrap merchant, Wallis didn’t have any formal training in painting, but turned to the medium when he was in his seventies as a means to escape loneliness after his wife’s passing.
The central works in this exhibition were made in the final year of his life, when he was living in a workhouse – it was here he continued to recall and sketch his memories of the sea, shore and Cornish landscape.
The exhibition also reveals Wallis’ close friendship with the creator of Kettle’s Yard, Jim Ede, who although never visiting him in person, engaged in correspondence with the artist during many years and became Wallis’s keenest collector.
Alfred Wallis at Home allows online visitors to discover the exhibition through a collection of resources, including several films with curators, Dr Jennifer Powell and Eliza Spindel and director Andrew Nairne. There is also a family activity set to engage in creative activities inspired by the artist’s work.