William Gear



Not on display

William Gear 1915–1997
Lithograph on paper
Image: 282 × 400 mm
Purchased 1986

Display caption

Gear made this lithograph shortly after his return to London from Paris where he had lived from 1947 to 1950 and where he had been associated with the Cobra group of artists. Cobra artists had shared a common commitment to creative spontaneity, expressionist techniques, and vigorous subject matter. This work is typical of Gear's later work in which he moved away from his Cobra interests. Although there are strong suggestions of landscape in the use of colour and composition the subject is more general and has been described by the artist as 'a structure in the landscape'.

Gallery label, August 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

P77163 Trellis 1952

Lithograph 282 × 400 (11 1/8 × 15 3/4) on Vélin d'Arches wove paper 384 × 567 (15 1/8 × 22 1/4); printed by Jean Pons and issued by the artist in an edition of 25
Inscribed ‘Gear '52’ below image b.r. and ‘11/25’ below image b.l.
Purchased from Redfern Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Exh: British Prints of the Postwar Years, Redfern Gallery, Jan.–Feb. 1986 (43)

This lithograph employs a very prominent grid structure with vertical bars fanning out from a central column, overlaying a horizontal sequence of bars. Strong suggestions of landscape are made by the rich yellow and green colouring of the areas between the black tracery. In his written reply, dated 23 December 1988, to a questionnire sent by the compiler, the artist explained that ‘in general terms, around this time, my work though “abstract” had a kinship with nature and landscape’. P77163 was exhibited at the Redfern Gallery in 1986 under the title ‘Autumn Landscape’. According to Gear he subsequently decided that ‘Trellis’ was a more appropriate title as the subject of the work is ‘a structure (trellis) in the landscape’. The trellis motif appeared in several painting of the same period.

P77163 was printed, under the artist's supervision, by Jean Pons, painter and lithographer whose print studio was in the cellar of his wife's millinery shop at 128 rue de Vaugirard, Paris in the 6e arrondissement. Gear recalls that he met Pons in April 1949 and made several lithographs with his assistance between then and 1952. During the same period Pons was working with a number of Ecole de Paris artists including Lapique, Soulages, Manessier and De Stael. Pons was also the printer of P77187, a lithograph by Stephen Gilbert, who was introduced to Pons by the artist (see entry on this work below): Gear recalls that ‘Trellis’ was produced as part of a project initiated by the gallery Gimpel Fils, where he showed his work regularly from 1949 to 1967. The gallery also commissioned three other artists, Sandra Blow, Lynn Chadwick and James Hull, to each make a lithograph with Jean Pons.

William Gear was resident in Paris from 1947 to 1950 and during that period he was closely associated with the Cobra group of artists (see entry on Gear T04995). P77163 is typical of the direction his work took in the years immediately following Cobra and after his return to England. The overtly expressionist references of his Cobra works were abandoned in favour of a style that was ‘essentially “non-figurative”’.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

You might like