The Old Barn, 1896

by Sir George Clausen

Barn and stable interiors appear in Clausen’s sketchbooks as early as 1884, but it was not until 1897 that the first in a long series of such subjects was exhibited at the Royal Academy. This painting, The Old Barn, contrasts a farmer leaning on a stick in the middle distance with a man working in the background.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 42.3 x 34.0 ins/ 107.5 x 86.4 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘G Clausen’ and dated (lower right); signed and dated ‘G. CLAUSEN.1897’ (lower left)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 6062 Categories: ,

Sir George Clausen was a founder-member of the New English Art Club (NEAC) and was the most widely respected of the NEAC painters, promoting the interests of the Glasgow Boys, such as James McNeil Whistler.

Barn and stable interiors appear in Clausen’s sketchbooks as early as 1884, but it was not until 1897 that the first in a long series of such subjects was exhibited at the Royal Academy. This painting, The Old Barn, contrasts a farmer leaning on a stick in the middle distance with a man working in the background.

Clausen’s Diploma work was admired by contemporary critics for its atmospheric lighting. The chiaroscuro is pronounced, with the nearest figure seen only in silhouette. Perhaps influenced by his work in pastels, the painting is highly coloured, with light entering the barn from both the side and the rear, and blue highlights showing on the man and ground. The brushwork is free and uninhibited.

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Royal Academy Illustrated, 1897, p. 27.

The Academy Notes, 1897, Chatto and Windus, p. 6 (illustrated).

ACR Carter, ‘The Royal Academy 1897’, The Art Journal, 1897, p. 174.

‘Chronicle of Art – May’, The Magazine of Art, 1897, p. 47.

Art at the Royal Academy, London, 1897 (Studio Special Number), p. 45 (illustrated).

‘The Royal Academy – Second Notice’, Dundee Courier, 6 May 1897, p. 4.

MH Spielmann, ‘The Royal Academy II’, The Graphic, 8 May 1897, p. 570.

Kenneth McConkey, Sir George Clausen, RA, RWS, 1980, exhibition catalogue, Bradford, Bristol and Newcastle Art Galleries and Royal Academy of Arts, p. 70 (illustrated as untraced).

Kenneth McConkey, George Clausen and the Picture of English Rural Life, Edinburgh, 2012, fig. 205, p. 125 (illustrated as unlocated p. 126).

London, Royal Academy, 1897, no. 52.

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