Julian Trevelyan



Not on display

Julian Trevelyan 1910–1988
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 458 × 610 mm
Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1990

Display caption

Julian Trevelyan lived in Paris from 1931–4 where he studied art and worked at Stanley Hayter’s print studio Atelier 17. There he met Miró, Ernst, Giacometti and Picasso and became a close friend of Alexander Calder, all of whom were associated with Surrealism.

He described those years as living ‘the life of a somnambulist groping at experiences, often dangerously, tottering on the edge of dark precipices and suddenly veering away in another direction’. His work at that time often combined simple free-floating forms with a taut architectural background, as seen here.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Technique and condition

Painted in oil paints on a fine, oil primed linen canvas stretched onto a strainer prepared by a French colourman, size 12 paysage, the painting has gone through several changes in composition.

The artist has worked over already 'dry' paint, modifying layers with thin rubbed washes and scumbles, or obliterated them with substantial applications of impasted brush marked paint. The earlier shapes remain visible in the surface texture.

The surface has a general, thin varnish layer and there appears to be some varnish between layers of paint, possibly to prevent 'sinking' of the paint when reworking.

The painting had been treated in the past, including cleaning and improving the attachment of the canvas to the stretcher. It required surface cleaning and the restoration of some minor scratches and abrasions on acquisition. The existing frame of relatively recent origin was also improved.

Roy Perry

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