Orange and Lemon Playing Games I

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 - 2004)



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© Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

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  • About the work
    Country: Turkey
    City: Ankara
    Place: British Embassy

    Ovoid shapes and oblongs are arranged playfully in this  screenprint by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. Colours move from vivid yellow through to flesh tones, pale lemon and white. A sense of joy is reiterated by the title of the work: Orange and Lemon Playing Games I. Oval shapes appear to be lemons, one standing, others lying as if in a dish. The exuberant colours reinforces the artist’s evident pleasure of playing with form and colour in these semi-abstract works.

    Much of Barns-Graham’s painting and printmaking from the 1970s until her death in 2004, was concerned with formal explorations of geometric shapes, especially circles, on rectangular canvases. She preferred to add titles to her works after they were completed, which she felt closely reflected her feelings during the making of a work, and did not restrict her to a particular idea before starting. The spontaneity of her approach is expressed vividly in the prints seen here.

    Barns-Graham’s early paintings were entirely figurative, but through her long career, the style of her works moved towards abstraction. The rich intensity of her colour schemes nevertheless recalled the hues of her native Scottish landscape – perhaps more so than the Cornish coast where she lived and worked for over 60 years until her death.

  • About the artist
    Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was born in Fife, in Scotland, and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1932 to 1936. In 1940, she moved to St Ives where she met the artists Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Peter Lanyon. From the 1960s onwards she divided her time between her home in St Ives and a small estate in St Andrews, inherited from an aunt. She exhibited consistently from the 1940s and was included in surveys of the St Ives School, in particular the 1945 exhibition St Ives 1939-64 at the Tate in London. In 1999 she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy and was awarded a CBE in 2001. In that year a major monograph went some way to assert Barns-Graham’s rightful position as a significant British artist.
  • Explore
    abstract, lemon, orange
    Materials & Techniques
  • Details
    Orange and Lemon Playing Games I
    height: 29.50 cm, width: 40.70 cm
    Purchased from Art First, March 2001
    BL: 46/75 BR: W Barns Graham 1999
    Art First
    GAC number