Philip Wilson Steer

Girls Running, Walberswick Pier


Not on display

Philip Wilson Steer 1860–1942
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 629 × 927 mm
frame: 860 × 1170 × 95 mm
Presented by Lady Augustus Daniel 1951

Display caption

Steer made many visits to Walberswick in Suffolk, where he had friends. He completed a number of paintings of the beach there that are among the most authentically Impressionist works produced in Britain. Here he captures the rich warmth of late afternoon sunlight but, unlike the French Impressionist Monet, he was just as interested in the figures as in their setting. Steer has reworked the dashed, broken colour of the paint surface extensively. The two girls were originally holding hands, and in their shadow they still are. This kind of picture was seen as uncompromisingly avant-garde. One critic in 1892 even described such works at the New English Art Club exhibition as 'evil'.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘Steer 94’ b.r.
Canvas, 24 3/4×36 1/2 (63×92·5).
Presented by Lady Augustus Daniel 1951.
Coll: Purchased by Sir Augustus Daniel from the Goupil Gallery April 1894.
Exh: Goupil Gallery, February 1894 (37), as ‘Girls running’; Representative Works by some of the Foremost Painters of the Modern British School, Goupil Gallery, June–July 1921 (3), as ‘Girls on the Pier’; Barbizon House, May 1927 (26), as ‘Walberswick Pier’; The Collection of the late Sir Augustus Daniel, Leicester Galleries, June 1951 (86).
Lit: MacColl, 1945, pp.49, 195.
Repr: Ironside, 1943, pl.24; John Rothenstein, The Tate Gallery, 1958, p.97 (in colour).

Post-dated 1894, this picture has been reworked. Bruce Laughton points out that the pierhead is on the opposite side of the harbour mouth from the view shown in N05351; the curving shingle bank is the same. The scene is done from memory and not painted on the spot.

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

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