Paul Feiler

Portheras Grey


Not on display

Paul Feiler 1918–2013
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 917 × 1325 × 17 mm
frame: 924 × 1330 × 32 mm
Presented by the family of Mrs Anne Hewer in memory of their mother 1998

Display caption

Planes of paint, densely applied with large brushes and a palette knife, establish a structured composition, dominated by subtle modulations of white. This evokes Feiler’s experience of the local landscape in Cornwall, acknowledged in the conjunction of place-names and colours in his titles. Since moving to Cornwall in the early 1950s, Feiler has been one of the leading painters in Britain responding to the landscape through abstract means.

Gallery label, May 2008

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Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of commercially primed, plain-weave line canvas that is stretched to its original strainer.

The paint is an oil paint and covers the whole of the surface of the canvas. It has been applied in a variety of consistencies. The upper layers of paint are generally more thickly applied and matt in appearance. Much use has been made of a palette knife but there are also very broad brush stokes in evidence. Through small gaps in these layers more thinly applied paint beneath can be glimpsed. The interplay between broad areas of paint is fairly complicated with much interweaving of layers. Sometimes the layer beneath appears to have been dry before further paint was applied but there is also a great deal of wet-in-wet. The artist appears also to have deliberately gauged into the wet paint surface.

The priming and paint layers are all rather brittle. There are pronounced, wide drying cracks in the upper oval layer of white paint and the upper paint layers are flaking locally. In response to this a shiny coating has been applied in the areas of cracked paint, probably by the artist. The coated areas are visually disturbing both because of the general mattness of the rest of the image and because the coating has discoloured and is now much more yellow than the surrounding paint. There is a layer of surface dirt but this is not visually disturbing.

Elisabeth Reissner
September 2000

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