Graham Vivian Sutherland

British , 1903 - 1980

Born in London in 1903, Graham Sutherland studied engraving at Goldsmith’s School of Art from 1921- 1926. His early etchings are reminiscent of Samuel Palmer’s work and he was also greatly influenced by F.L. Griggs.

Sutherland’s first one-man exhibition was in 1925, the same year he was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. After the collapse of the print market in 1929, he made designs for posters, china, glass and fabrics. From 1928 to 1939, Sutherland taught at the Chelsea School of Art and during the 1930s, he turned to oil and watercolor painting, while still retaining an etcher’s linearity and ability to translate small objects into greater scale.

In 1936, Sutherland exhibited in the International Surrealist Exhibition and was quite impressed with the work of Picasso. From 1940 to 1945, Sutherland was a war artist, painting armaments factories and the devastation of shattered masonry and twisted iron in crumbled cities. He painted mining and quarry scenes in Wales and Cornwall, as well. During the late 1940s, Sutherland used plant and insect themes, influenced by Picasso’s more Expressionistic pictures such as “Guernica”.

In 1944, Sutherland was commissioned by St. Mathew’s Church in Northampton to paint a Crucifixion. In 1950 and 1951 he painted the “Origins of the Land” for festival of Britain and in 1952, he designed the huge tapestry of “Christ the Redeemer Enthroned in Glory in the Tetramorph” for the new Coventry Cathedral. In 1949 Sutherland’s portrait of Somerset Maugham showed his talent for characterization. Another of his major portrait commissions, that of Sir Winston Churchill, was destroyed in 1954.
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