Dark Street, Ronda

by David Bomberg

P.O.A.

MEDIUM: Chalk on paper
DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 23.5 x 25.3 ins/ 59.6 x 64.2 cm

This study by David Bomberg was drawn from the artist’s bedroom window in Ronda, a town in the Spanish province of Málaga. Here, Bomberg uses sharp, expressive lines in chalk and a creeping sense of darkness to convey a sense of evening shadows, which encourages the viewer to explore the most ancient part of a city which had captivated the artist as soon as he arrived.

 

Catalogue No: 6289 Categories: ,

This study by David Bomberg was drawn from the artist’s bedroom window in Ronda, a town in the Spanish province of Málaga. Here, Bomberg uses sharp, expressive lines in chalk and a creeping sense of darkness to convey a sense of evening shadows, which encourages the viewer to explore the most ancient part of a city which had captivated the artist as soon as he arrived.

Bomberg first visited Spain in 1929 as he spent the autumn months in Toledo. His future wife, Lilian Holt, joined him before travelling to Southern Spain, visiting Ronda briefly after the couple had quarrelled. This lead to Lilian later on suggesting they go to Ronda, wanting to be closer to Gibraltar and hoping Bomberg would find abundant inspiration in a location dramatic enough to bring out the most forceful and impulsive side of his temperament.

Bomberg responded very directly to a place he later described as ‘the most interesting of the towns of Southern Spain’. He was particularly impressed by its command of ‘an extraordinary view of the amphitheatre of mountains by which it is surrounded’, and drew special attention to ‘the gorge – a stupendous rent 250–300 ft wide & 400 ft deep’, so the family settled in Ronda for the next six months. He painted incessantly and became particularly interested in working late in the day, when the light would disappear.

Private Collection, United Kingdom

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David Bomberg is regarded as one of the greatest British artists and teachers of the 20th Century, best known for his brash, angular avant-garde works. He was commonly associated with his treatment of the human figure, in terms of clear-cut forms charged with energy, reveals his determination to bring about a drastic renewal in British painting.

Born in Birmingham to a Polish-Jewish family, Bomberg’s education began in earnest with a move to London in 1905 and evening classes under Walter Bayes at the City & Guilds. He was fortunate to study under Walter Sickert at the Central School of Art and Westminster College, before joining the ranks of the ‘golden generation’ at the Slade School, with other artists like Stanley Spencer and Dora Carrington.

He then became a member of the Whitechapel Boys, a group of London based Jewish artists and writers who were particularly interested in exploring political ideologies, including socialism.

However, the advent of the First World War severely impacted the artist and his work, as with many of his contemporaries, and in the interwar period he instead began working primarily on more traditional landscape paintings, reminiscent of Post-Impressionist painting. His disillusion with the destructive power of the machine at war led to a few years spent experimenting with ways of making his stark pre-war style more rounded and organic.

On the 30th anniversary of his death, the Tate Gallery in London held a high-profile retrospective on the artist’s work, and after many museums around the world held similar exhibitions of his work. Currently, his works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, among others.

 

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