Roger Fry

Still Life: Flowers


Not on display

Roger Fry 1866–1934
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 965 × 610 mm
frame: 1100 × 748 × 73 mm
Purchased 1956

Display caption

The composition of this painting contrasts the spikey leaves of the artichokes with the elegant descending curve of the tail of the golden pheasant in the oriental screen. The thickness of the paint also gives a distinctive texture to the painting.

Fry took up painting after an education in science at Cambridge. He was principally a writer on art, both on the old masters and the decorative arts as well as modern painting in Paris. He encouraged an appreciation of Cezanne and the Cubists in Britain, and interpreted their art in terms of abstract form.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T00101 STILL LIFE: FLOWERS c. 1912
Not inscribed.
Canvas, 38×24 (96.5×61).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1956.
Coll: There appears to be no record of how this picture came into the possession of the C.A.S.
Exh. Paintings and Drawings lent by the C.A.S., Bath, March–April 1938 (12); Selected Paintings, Drawings and Pottery lent by the C.A.S., Leicester Galleries, October–November 1939 (55), as acquired in 1918.

There was an exhibition of flower pieces by Roger Fry at the Carfax Gallery in 1917 (see Burlington Magazine, XXXII, 1918, p.38) at which the C.A.S. purchased ‘Lilies’, an oil given to Bristol. This painting may also have been included and acquired though not recorded. No catalogue of the exhibition has been traced.

The artist's sister, Miss Margery Fry, wrote (30 November 1956): ‘He always had a great passion for the leaves of artichokes.... The background is a Korean screen.’ To this his daughter Pamela Diamand added (letter of 13 September 1959): ‘I found a painting of the same subject - the artichoke and screen - by Henri Doucet which I presented to the Musée Doucet and this gives a definite date to the painting as I think he was killed in 1915 and I only remember his visiting our house in 1912. As to the so-called Korean screen I now find it is Japanese nineteenth century.’ The house referred to is Durbins near Guildford. Roger Fry built it in 1910 and lived there till 1919.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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