Saturday, 19 May 2018

John Craxton In Greece: The Unseen Works

Three Figures, Poros

I hadn't visited the Osborne Samuel gallery since they had moved to their new premises in Dering Street. This new John Craxton exhibition was the perfect opportunity to remedy this, and it was great to see many of Craxton's pieces that I hadn't seen before. This show complements the other significant Craxton exhibition - Charmed Lives In Greece - currently on display in London at the British Museum. There are some lovely works on display here charting the ways in which he picks the brains of Picasso, Matisse, and other artists of the European avant-garde of the period, before ultimately developing his own voice. The show at the British Museum also features paintings and drawings by Craxton's good friends artist Niko Ghika, and the celebrated writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. I have featured a very good earlier Craxton retrospective seen at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in January 2014, in this very blog which features many of the pieces seen at the British Museum's Charmed Lives In Greece show, which you can visit here.

Couple by the Sea (Panorama Revisited)

Standing Figure

Boy on a Sea Wall

Goat Eating a Vine

This lively depiction of a goat rooting in the vines was one of the highlights of the exhibition for me.

Cat, Tree and Bird

I had fun trying to discern the cat and bird from the tree in this piece above.

Autumn Landscape with Hills, Spetses

Faces and Fig Leaves

I really enjoyed this fan-like design merging man with nature similar to the legend of the Green Man and much like John Piper's Foliate Heads series.

Blue Still Life

Cat and Butterfly

Sleeping Fisherman in Olive Grove

Reclining Male Nude

Seated Figure, Paros

Portrait of Petros Mastopetros

Dancing Sailor

These following depictions of men dancing were charming and very amusing - like seeing fathers and uncles 'getting their groove on', doing their best 'dad-dancing' at family get-togethers. Craxton's observations here are so accurate, and perfectly capture the joy of the figures lost in their own reveries to the rhythm, fully engaged in the act of interpreting the music through a series of increasingly athletic and bizarre dance movements. Wonderful.

Bouzouki Player

 Dancing Sailor II

Dancing Sailor IV

 Dancer IV

Dancer V

Dancer II

Dancer III

John Craxton In Greece: The Unseen Works
until 8th June
Osborne Samuel
23 Dering Street
London W1S 1AW