Carel Weight

Sienese Landscape


Not on display

Carel Weight 1908–1997
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 762 × 635 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1963

Display caption

The preliminary sketches for 'Sienese Landscape' were executed during the Easter of 1959. Weight had spent a week with the artist Leonard Rosoman at the Villa Solario, Malatrasca, which is situated about four miles outside Siena. Weight painted the landscape periodically between 1959 and 1963. 'Sienese Landscape' was originally larger than its present dimensions. Weight reduced the canvas size and redesigned the image in 1963.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Sienese Landscape 1960-3


Oil on canvas

762 x 635 (30 x 25)

Inscribed in red oil paint 'Carel Weight' b.l.
Inscribed label on back: 'Carel Weight | 33 Spenser Road SW18 | SIENESE LANDSCAPE'

Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1963

Chantrey purchase from the artist 1963

Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London, May-Aug. 1963 (532)
Carel Weight, Reading Museum and Art Gallery, Sept.-Oct. 1970 (56)
Carel Weight, Emeritus, Royal College of Art, London, June-July 1973 (14)

Tate Gallery Report, 1963-4, London, 1964, pp.45-6
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, Tate Gallery: The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, II, London 1965, p.764

Sienese Landscape resulted from Carel Weight's visit to Tuscany with his friend and colleague Leonard Rosoman, when they were in charge of students from the Royal College. Soon after it was acquired by the Tate Gallery, he wrote (11 Sept. 1963):

The preliminary sketches were done four years ago at Easter time. I spent a week with Leonard Rosoman at the Villa Solario, Malatrasca which is about four miles outside Siena. I painted this landscape on and off during the last three years. Originally it was rather larger and never quite seemed to work. Eventually, earlier this year, I reduced the size and redesigned it into its present state. I have a small oil sketch on which the idea of the picture evolved.
One result of this reduction in size is that the paint overlaps and has cracked along the edges where the canvas has been turned over a smaller stretcher; the strips turned over on all four sides are c.40-45 mm (1 1/2-1 3/4 in) wide. Cutting down has been a relatively common solution for Weight although he admitted that he remained dissatisfied with this painting (conversation with the author, 8 Dec. 1995). As with many of his works, there is a mixture of impasto and scraping in the application, and the bare canvas is visible in parts of the tree to the left. A wistful atmosphere lingers in the movement of the trees and clouds, and the labouring woman. In discussing the work with Cathy Courtney ('Artists' Lives', National Life Story Collection, British Library National Sound Archive, 1991, Tate Gallery Archive, tape F2550 side B), Weight commented that it was difficult to adjust to a new country over a short period. A larger work by the same title was exhibited in Weight's Ghosts, Marvels, Moments and Scenes from Foreign Lands show at Zwemmer's Gallery (1960).

Matthew Gale
March 1996


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