Harold Gilman exhibition announced for Nottingham’s Djanogly Gallery

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The Djanogly Gallery at Nottingham Lakeside Arts is has announced a major exhibition of the work of the Camden Town Group painter Harold Gilman (1876–1919). This is the first exhibition devoted to the artist since the Arts Council retrospective in 1981 and has been organised to mark the centenary of his death.

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Beyond Camden Town: the Late Works of Harold Gilman will run from 17 November 2018 to 10 February 2019.

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When Gilman succumbed to the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919, art in this country was deprived of a vital and significant presence. As a student at the Slade School of Art, Gilman was a contemporary of artists including Gwen and Augustus John, William Orpen and Wyndham Lewis. In a career spanning fewer than 15 years he emerged as one of the most distinguished and distinctive British painters of the early twentieth century.

In the last decade of his life, as this exhibition demonstrates, his work displayed an increasing engagement with French post-impressionist painting and he developed a style quite unlike that of his contemporaries in the Camden Town circle. Under the influence of artists such as Edouard Vuillard and Van Gogh, his colours became lighter and cleaner, his brushwork more broken.

With his particular use of colour and paint, Gilman’s images offer a very different view of urban life from that projected by slick academicians and the proto-modernist Bloomsbury set. His work has a powerful presence and realism, yet it remains enigmatic. In much of his mature painting, and especially the important group of works depicting female subjects such as Mrs. Mounter, Gilman created a distinctive vocabulary to explore the interiors and people living in London during the First World War. Through his intensely focused compositions Gilman was able to draw out the essence of their characters.

The exhibition will have a particular emphasis on Gilman’s repeated explorations of specific subjects, notably the paintings of figures in interiors, and assess how these were subtly altered in successive versions.

Bringing together well known and much loved paintings from public collections such as Tate alongside rarely exhibited works from private collections, this exhibition aims to demonstrate the innovation and pictorial power of an artist who died prematurely at the height of his artistic powers.

The exhibition has been curated for the Djanogly Gallery by James Rawlin and Lara Wardle and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Gilman experts Wendy Baron and Lily Foster.