Friday, February 21, 2014

The Newlyn School: Painting Outdoors

Stanhope Forbes Gala Day at Newlyn, Cornwall, 1907
The painters of the Newlyn School of southwest England a century ago followed an extreme devotion to painting directly from life. Led by Stanhope Forbes (1857-1947), and inspired by the Jules Bastien Lepage in France, they tried: 

"To paint the picture entirely and absolutely out of doors, braving all difficulties, and relying in no way upon sketches or studies, with which, later on, the work could be comfortably finished within the walls of a studio—such was the creed to which they pledged themselves. Nature was to be respected and followed without question: to be blindly obeyed. Models might grumble and dislike having to sit in the street under the very eyes of the whole village; but the cult demanded it, and its exponents gave an example of self-sacrifice, for they spared themselves no trouble, and worked out their principles with admirable conscientiousness."

Mrs. Stanhope Forbes arranging a model
This may be a bit of an exaggeration, because Newlyn artists were known to work from models posed under more controlled conditions.
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The quote is from the book "Stanhope A. Forbes A.R.A., and Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes, A.R.W.S." by Mrs. Lionel Birch.
The best recent art book on Forbes is Stanhope Forbes and the Newlyn Schoolby Caroline Fox.

4 comments:

Tom Hart said...

The aims of the group are admirable, and no doubt the guidelines in that strict-sounding quote were adhered to...(mostly?). But the sample painting is interesting, juxtaposed above the quote. I can't imagine that it was painted strictly out of doors or with all the models in place.

Cleo said...

Here is a classic Jack Ziegler cartoon in the spirit of outdoor painting (in case you haven't seen it!)
http://imagecache5d.allposters.com/watermarker/60-6066-UYZD100Z.jpg?ch=775&cw=775

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Maywyn Studio said...

Thank you for the thought provoking information
I thought how it would be outdoors painting my snowmen before they melt. Nah. Photographs are better. Yet, I'm wondering how the process would feel being outdoors sketching or painting the latest snowman.