Morris's paintings combine a strong sense of colour with pictorial economy, often with unusual tactility. Conveyed with great immediacy, a painting's principal motif is usually juxtaposed boldly with a contrasting background. His subjects include still-lifes and flower paintings, such as Iris Seedlings (1943; London, Tate); landscapes and townscapes, both local and from his wide travels; animals and birds, such as Greenland Falcon (1928; Belfast, Ulster Mus.). Some of his most arresting works are his penetrating portraits, for example that of his student Lucian Freud (1940; London, Tate). The attitudes implied by his paintings range from tenderness to satire. Morris, averse to English tastefulness, seemed at times closer to the sensibility of the Neue Sachlichkeit. His paintings include protests against prudery, environmental pollution and also hypocrisy, as in the Entry of Moral Turpitude into New York Harbour (1926; priv. col., see exh. cat. 1984, no. 31).
Cedric Morris (exh. cat. by R. Morphet, London, Tate, 1984)
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