Girl in a Kimono

Dennis Creffield (1931 - 2018)

Oil on canvas


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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    Girl in a Kimono, an oil painting by Dennis Creffield, reveals the artist’s arresting semi-abstract style, composed of angular forms and bright colour. 


    Creffield’s angular treatment of the human figure in Girl in a Kimono is charged with enormous energy. The rich reds, blues and yellows in grids to the right of the work impose a structure on the composition. In turn, the more fluid daubs of colour on the kimono and the brushstrokes of the white doorway that frames the standing girl, suggest a feeling of motion.  The great floods of colour and the bright tonality of this painting link to Creffield’s interest in the renowned English painter J. M. W. Turner’s investigations into light and movement in the 19th century. 


    It is interesting that Creffield chooses to depict a woman wearing a kimono. The national dress of Japan, ‘kimono’ literally translates as ‘something worn’. Although familiar to European people as a traditional Japanese garment, kimonos are synonymous with a culture that is very different from our own in the UK. Creffield’s painting similarly succeeds in combining familiarity and difference to great effect.


    Working in a manner that is heavily influenced by the expressionistic style of his former art tutor, the painter David Bomberg (1890–1957), Creffield combines loose gestural brushstrokes with more ordered and geometric shapes in an attempt to reconcile their apparently opposing characteristics.

  • About the artist
    Dennis Creffield was born in London and studied under David Bomberg at Borough Polytechnic, London, from 1948 to 1951, after which he attended the Slade School of Art between 1957 and 1961. In 1961, Creffield was a prizewinner in the John Moores Painting Prize, held at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He would go on to teach at the University of Leeds and Leeds College of Art, as well as other colleges in Britain and abroad. In 1987 the Arts Council commissioned Creffield to draw all 26 medieval cathedrals of England, a project for which he produced more than 600 drawings. His works of art can be found in numerous collections including the Arts Council Collection, Leeds City Art Gallery, the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, and the University of Sussex.
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Girl in a Kimono
    Oil on canvas
    height: 91.50 cm, width: 71.00 cm
    Purchased from the Slade School of Fine Art, February 1973
    verso: Dennis Creffield Girl in a Kimono 1971
    GAC number