Stanislawa De Karlowska

Berkeley Square

c.1935

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 610 x 510 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented anonymously 1935
Reference
N04816

Catalogue entry

Entry

During the 1930s Stanislawa de Karlowska painted a series of views of central London squares. These included Manchester Square 1930, Regent Square, Bloomsbury 1932, In Russell Square 19351 and Soho Square 1936 (private collection),2 which were all included in her retrospective exhibition at the Maltzahn Gallery in 1969. Other works include St James’s Square c.1934, The Square Gardens c.1938, The Square in Wartime 1939–40 and The Corner of the Square c.1939, listed in the memorial exhibition at the Adams Gallery in 1954, and Imperial Hotel, Russell Square (Nottingham Castle Museum) and Woburn Square (Lotherton Hall, Leeds).
The view of Berkeley Square depicted in the Tate work must have been painted from an upper window in the south-east corner, looking west down Charles Street. This high vantage point, looking down into the square is common to many of the works in Karlowska’s series, and is also similar to Spencer Gore’s high viewpoints in works such as Houghton Place 1912 (Tate N03839, fig.1). The Berkeley Square site has been redeveloped since the painting was made, but at that time the French Gallery stood on this spot.
Spencer Gore 'Houghton Place' 1912
Fig.1
Spencer Gore
Houghton Place 1912
Tate N03839
Robert Bevan 'Belsize Park' 1917
Fig.2
Robert Bevan
Belsize Park 1917
Museum of London
Photo © Museum of London


Several of Karlowska’s London square paintings, including Berkeley Square, were shown at her exhibition at the Adams Gallery in Pall Mall in 1935. These received a positive response from the critic of the Times, who observed:
In her 39 paintings ... Miss S. de Karlowska, who is the widow of Mr R.P. Bevan, excites interest and wins approval by the quiet consideration of her methods and her nice discrimination in the effects of colour. Probably her best picture is ‘St James’s Square’, in which acceptance of symmetry in the composition, with gate, statue, and tall house in a central vertical series, has produced a novel effect. ‘Berkeley Square’, apart from its gravity, pleases by the justness with which a moment of twilight has been recorded ... ‘Portman Square’, again, suggests that toned colour rather than pure colour is her natural field of enjoyment.3

Robert Upstone
May 2009

Notes

1
Reproduced in Stanislawa de Karlowska: Paintings 1909–1936, exhibition catalogue, Maltzahn Gallery, London 1969 (22).
2
Reproduced in Frances Stenlake, Robert Bevan: From Gauguin to Camden Town, London 2008, p.194.
3
‘Art Exhibitions: Miss S. de Karlowska’, Times, 12 October 1935, p.10.
4
See, for example, Newton’s The Surrey Canal, Camberwell 1935 (Tate N05343).

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