The Garden, 1922

by Edward Burra

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: (sight) 15 x 10.8 inches (38.1 x 27.4 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘E J Burra’ (lower right)
MEDIUM: Watercolour on paper

 

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    Catalogue No: 6714 Categories: ,

    Modern urban life was the theme of much of Edward Burra’s and in the years between the two world wars he gained inspiration from travel to London, the U.S., France, Italy and Spain. The vision of modern urban life reflected in his paintings is inclusive and largely positive. It is also multicultural, and encompasses all races, ages, sexualities and types.

    Private collection, UK

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    Edward Burra was born in London in 1905. He briefly attended boarding school but when he caught pneumonia in 1917 he was sent home to Rye and his formal education came to an end. Burra’s education continued at home where he was surrounded by books. The Burra household was highly cultivated and arty and Burra was encouraged to read and draw. Between 1921 and 1923 Burra attended the Chelsea Polytechnic where he studied life-drawing, illustration and architectural drawing. It was here that Burra developed an interest in jazz and the cinema and made friends that he would keep for the rest of his life. This was followed by two years at the Royal College of Art between 1923-1925.

    Burra travelled extensively during his lifetime spending time in Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, North and Central America and Ireland. In 1925 Burra met Paul Nash, who encouraged him to exhibit his work and taught him wood engraving and collage making. Paul Nash exposed Burra to Surrealism which captivated him. While he did dabble in the movement and was briefly a member of Unit One, Burra was never whole-heartedly part of any artistic group. Burra also designed costumes and sets for theatre and opera productions, particularly during the War years when travel was more difficult.

    Burra suffered from poor health throughout his life. As he grew older it became more difficult for him to travel as far or as extensively. In his later years, his sister Anne drove him around Britain and he produced many landscape paintings at this time.

    He had his first solo exhibition at the age of 24 at the Leicester Gallery, London in 1929. He went on to exhibit widely in the U.K and abroad, establishing an international reputation as a painter, and gaining acclaim for his theatre designs.

    A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Tate Gallery in 1973. He died in hospital in Hastings in October 1976 aged seventy-one.

     

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