Spring Sunshine

Sir Roger de Grey (1918 - 1995)

Oil on canvas

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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection
    A subtle, dappled light falls upon trees, hedges and path in a manner that might remind a viewer of a work by Cézanne or Pissarro. Exploring light and shadow, volume and tonal variation are the artist Robert de Grey’s central concerns in this work. Grey would begin painting his landscapes on-site, and then revise them in the studio. This meant, not only that the final paintings were carefully refined but also that they gave an impression of being in that particular location, rather than a sense of recalling a time or a place. Grey talks about his paintings as being born in the imagination and going beyond a sense of the place they were made in.  ‘What the painting looks like,’ he said ‘is almost beyond your control because what you see, what you come to understand about what you’re looking at, is more important in the formation of the painting than a conscious desire to make it look like one thing or another’. His works were inspired by landscapes around the Thames estuary or in south-west France, which in Grey’s view were places that became more and more interchangeable, ‘… the subject of the next painting seems to grow from the one I am doing’.
  • About the artist
    Born in Penn, Buckinghamshire, Sir Roger de Grey studied at Chelsea School of Art. He was the nephew of Spencer Gore, the Camden Town painter, which helped to fuel an early love of painting. During the Second World War he served in the Army and, in 1945, he was awarded the United States Bronze Star. From 1947 to 1953 he taught in the Department of Fine Art at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne, first as a lecturer and subsequently as Master of Painting. In 1953 he became Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art, where he taught Roderigo Moynihan and Carel Weight. He then became Principal of the City & Guilds of London Art School, transforming it into a leading academy for artists and craftsmen. De Grey was elected to the Royal Academy in 1964, of which he became President in 1984. During his nine year tenure he extended the Academy’s programme of exhibitions and was instrumental in the building of the Sackler Galleries. His work is represented in many public collections including Tate London; Arts Council; Royal Collection; Brisbane Art Gallery and several provincial galleries. He won the Wollaston Award in 1979.
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Spring Sunshine
    Oil on canvas
    height: 68.00 cm, width: 88.50 cm
    Transferred from Royal Signals & Radar Establishment, November 1981
    br: de G
    GAC number