Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Edward Burra in Wales

Another eccentric English artist who spent time engaging with the Welsh landscape was Edward Burra. Unlike Lucian Freud (see previous post) Burra came to Wales towards the end of his life. From 1968 to 1971 he made several visits taking in the delights of the Wye Valley, Llanthony, Brecon, Newport, Ebbw Vale and the Valleys. He did a particularly fine watercolour of Ebbw Vale which was purchased by the National Museum of Wales, though I haven't seen it on public display for years. Burra is perhaps best-known today for his depictions of the jazz subculture of Harlem in the 1930s. Neglected for many years his idiosyncratic work has become increasingly sought after. In 2011 his painting of West Indian immigrants in London, Zoot Suits (1948), sold for a cool £2.1 million. The above watercolour depicting Newport Docks was completed by Burra in 1971.

*There's an excellent documentary about Edward Burra written and presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon that you can view on YouTube.