Alfred Wallis

The Blue Ship


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Not on display

Alfred Wallis 1855–1942
Oil paint on board on wood
Support: 438 × 559 mm
frame: 528 × 646 × 46 mm
Presented by H.S. Ede 1959

Display caption

Alfred Wallis spent most of his working life as a fisherman but by the time he was discovered in St Ives by Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood in 1928 he had become a rag and bone merchant. He began painting at the age of seventy to keep himself company. Wallis painted memories of deep sea fishing boats which were no longer in use. He also painted landscapes based on the surrounding area. Nicholson and Wood were impressed by the directness of Wallis's work, his use of irregular shaped pieces of cardboard as a support and ground, and the object-like quality of the paintings. The discovery of Wallis encouraged them to pursue further their adoption of a 'naive' vision.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T00291 THE BLUE SHIP (?) c. 1934

Not inscribed.
Ship's oil paint on cardboard mounted on plywood, 17 1/4×22 (44×55·5).
Presented by H. S. Ede 1959.
Coll: Purchased by H. S. Ede from the artist c. 1934.

The artist used to post Ede bundles of his work, and he now finds it very difficult to be precise about the acquisition date of any one painting.

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

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