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Alfred Wolmark 1877–1961
T01241 Decorative Still Life circa 1911
Inscribed with the artist’s monogram ‘W ‘ b.r. Canvas, 24¼ x 20 (61.5 x 51).
Purchased from Eric Wolmark through the Fine Art Society (Grant-in- Aid) 1970.
Call: Wilfred Malone; sold Sotheby’s, 1 April 1962 (134) as ‘Vase of Flowers’, bt. W. E. Walker; Eric Wolmark (the artist’s son).
Exh: Fine Art Society, October–November 1970 (14).
Wolmark dated very few of his pictures, but this painting with its flattened, stylized design and vivid colour seems typical of his work of about 1911. This style appears to have been influenced by Van Gogh and Gauguin, whose work was included in Roger Fry’s famous first Post-Impressionist exhibition in London in November 1910, though the artist’s son Eric Wolmark says that his father claimed that he did not know the work of these artists at the time.
Wolmark painted a large number of still-life and flower pictures at this period, most of which were entitled simply ‘Decorative Still-Life’. In October 1911 he exhibited no less than thirty paintings of this title at his one-man exhibition at the Baillie Gallery, followed by thirty-seven paintings entitled’ Decorative Arrangement’ at the Goupil Gallery in April-May 1912. It is not known whether T01241 was included in either of these shows.
Eric Wolmark told the compiler on 6 April 1972 that this picture would have been composed on the canvas; the only drawings he knows of are for figure studies. The gilt frame with painted decorative borders and corners in brown and blue must have been made or at least decorated by the artist himself. According to Eric Wolmark, his father designed all his own frames between about 1910 and the early 1930’s. ‘Nearly all his paintings were conceived as decorations with the purpose of decorating someone’s walls, the frames being an essential part of the decoration.’
Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.