About the work
Gertler briefly abandoned painting for sculpture in 1916. Eventually returning to painting, works such as The Pond reveal the impact of his work with three-dimensional form. Gertler creates a palpable sense of depth by building up his composition with blocks of colour, creating the impression of standing beneath the tree, overlooking the scene.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Gertler was one of many artists and writers associated with the Bloomsbury Circle invited to Garsington Manor, the Oxfordshire residence of renowned literary and artistic patron Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873–1938). By 1916, Gertler had declared himself as a conscientious objector and he spent the rest of the war working on the farm at Garsington. His painting A Merry-Go-Round (1916), expressed his repulsion at the futility of the conflict with its chilling vision of mannequins riding a carousel. The Pond (1917) almost certainly was based on the fish pond at Garsington. The same subject features in the artist’s more geometric composition, The Pool at Garsington (1918), also in the Government Art Collection.
About the artist
Born in Spitalfields, in London’s East End, Mark Gertler was the son of Polish Jewish immigrants. Encouraged by his parents, he attended art classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic and in 1908, won a national art competition. His success attracted financial assistance that allowed him to enter the Slade School of Art where he studied from1908 to 1912. There he befriended artists including Dora Carrington, with whom he had a brief affair. Gertler exhibited in London up to the 1930s, and acquired several aristocratic patrons most notably, Lady Ottoline Morrell. Suffering from depression for much of his life, Gertler committed suicide in his studio in Highgate, London in 1939 and was buried at the Willesden Jewish Cemetery.
Mark Gertler (1891 - 1939)
- The Pond
- August - September 1917
- Oil on canvas
- height: 51.20 cm, width: 61.20 cm
- Purchased from Leicester Galleries, June 1963
- verso: THE POND = / Mark Gertler / Aug - Sep, 1917.
- Collection of Bernard Wilson; from whom purchased by Leicester Galleries, London; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in July 1963
- GAC number