Description & Technical information

As a watercolourist, George Clausen produced both landscape studies and smaller variants of his oil paintings. He showed regularly at the Royal Watercolour Society, and in 1921 exhibited forty-one watercolours at the Grosvenor Gallery in London. Indeed, in the latter part of his career the medium came to dominate his output. As one recent scholar has aptly noted of such later works as the present sheet, however, ‘the watercolours that Clausen increasingly painted are not identifiable landscapes but dream-like renderings of an atmospheric rural utopia.’

Writing in 1930, Clausen noted of his technique that ‘I try to work as simply and directly as possible in water-colour…I try (though, of course, I can seldom do it) to put the colour on in one wash, without re-touching, for I think there is nothing so beautiful as a clean tint in water-colour that is exactly right. And even if it does not exactly run into the right place (for water-colour is a tricky medium) the quality of the colour has something of the spontaneity and effortless rightness that one finds in Nature itself – a quality that is always lost by labouring and stippling a drawing...It seems to me that water-colour painting depends more on simplicity of method than oil-painting, and this means, of course, that you must know pretty well what you want to do before you begin.’

Comparable landscape watercolours by George Clausen are in the Bury Art Gallery, the British Museum, the Royal Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and in the collection of the late Sir Brinsley Ford.

Medium: Watercolour
Signature: Signed G. CLAUSEN at the lower right.
Inscribed (by the artist?) The Ash Tree in Spring / by G. Clausen RA in pencil on the old backing board.
Further inscribed Arnold Fellows/ Collection No 246 on the old backing board.
Also inscribed Sir George Clausen / R.A. R.W.S. / 1852-1945 / Rain Clouds / A.F. No 246 on another old backing board.

Dimensions: 26.3 x 35.1 cm (10³/₈ x 13⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: Arnold Fellows, Chigwell and Barnes
Possibly bequeathed, with the rest of the Fellows collection, to Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall
The Property of a Charitable Trust, until 2019.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints