A compelling biographical study of a leading twentieth-century British artist, Graham Sutherland: Life, Work and Ideas offers new insight into how he and his paintings developed. In the culmination of her life’s work, Rosalind Thuillier builds on the reflections and recollections of a friendship spanning decades to craft a comprehensive portrait of Sutherland’s life and works, interweaving his perceptive responses to his own art, taken from personal notes and correspondence, with critical reviews and collectors’ musings to give an authentic picture of the man whose work divided critics. Drawing on Sutherland’s personal archive, the book includes an expansive collection of images that provide a fresh view of the artist. Studies by Sutherland, along with preparatory works for what would become renowned paintings, are published for the first time.
Graham Sutherland’s distinctive style and the emotions that shaped the paintings are here vividly explored. Thuillier describes not only the inspiration he found in the windswept Pembrokeshire countryside, but also his time as an official war artist, and his friendships inside and outside the art world. She expertly details the process behind the creation of works such as the controversial portrait of Churchill (1954), subsequently destroyed, and his most famous work, the huge Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph tapestry (1962) in Coventry Cathedral.
Graham Sutherland: Life, Work and Ideas is not merely a biography, but a journey behind the scenes of the artist’s career, exploring the paintings, relationships and influences that formed his vision as an artist and his undeniable contribution to art.
List of Illustrations
1. A Walk with Graham Sutherland in Pembrokeshire
2. In Pursuit of Colour
3. The Early Years
4. First Pembrokeshire
5. A Taste of Conflict
6. Religious Subjects
7. The South of France 1947-1980
9. Return to Pembrokeshire and much else in Italy, France and Kent
Endorsements and Reviews
Letters from friends; images of stunning pictures from private collections in Italy; memories and photographs of the author (in a wonderful red skirt) with Sutherland in Pembrokeshire – make this a unique and intimate publication. It is entirely due to the trust and affection which the author evokes that has made it possible for her to gather so much that is personal or hitherto unseen. What a treat and an honour that we too can now glimpse ‘behind the scenes’.
Sally Moss, Lecturer and Curator at the Graham Sutherland Gallery
This beautifully illustrated book, drawing on the author’s conversations with the artist, provides fresh and illuminating insight into Sutherland’s personality and his work in Wales.
Professor Louise Campbell, author of Coventry Cathedral: Art and Architecture in Post-War Britain
This book is for anyone wanting to appreciate Sutherland as an artist. It bears witness to an artist deeply influenced by the world around him and its relationships; it is also a striking memorial to a thoughtful friendship.
Revd Neil Thorogood, in Reform, September 2015
Perhaps the major selling-point of Thuiller’s book, parts of which are compendium-like, is the amount of primary material she has assembled: there are archive items from a range of sources including correspondence and interviews, newspaper articles, reviews and reminiscences, many quoted in full.
Stephen Laird, in Art and Christianity, Issue 83