Archive for October 21st, 2015

Edward Burra

Edward Burra-Cornish Landscape With Tin Mines 1975I can’t remember how I came across the painting above but it really caught my eye then jammed itself into my memory.  It was just a picture that mad me want to look at it– the subjects, the colors, the contrasts and composition all created an interesting form.  It was from the late British painter Edward Burra, who lived from 1905 until 1976.  It was yet another name that seemed new to me.  Looking at some other images of his work, I wondered how it could be that I had never heard of Edward Burra.

Doing a little research I found that I wasn’t the only one.  In a 2007 British newspaper review of a biography of his life, Burra was described  as  forgotten and neglected.  I don’t know how much that has changed in the past few years but the work is truly compelling.  He is best known for his scenes of the seedier side of urban life including  Harlem of the 1930’s along with war scenes and macabre scenes of cavorting skeletons.  Working primarily in watercolor and ink,  there were also quiet landscapes.  All in all, it is a wide and varied body of work, one that provides a truly unique vision.

I certainly hope he gets his due recognition.  There is a film, I Never Tell Anybody Anything :The Life and Art of Edward Burra,  that is available for viewing on YouTube.  I am hoping to get to it today.  Meanwhile, take a look at some of his work below.  

Edward Burra Cabbages Springfield Rye 1937 Edward Burra Zoot Suits 1948 Edward Burra Skeleton Party 1952-4 Edward Burra -Newport Docks 1971Edward Burra Harlem 1934

Edward Burra- Dancing Skeletons 1934

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