Graham graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1951. In the same
year, he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy. Graham's
skill in fondling paint is evident. He is particularly concerned with
the light and colour of his subjects and his spontaneous paintings (all
painted on site) have a vibrancy and richness which transform them into
images of visual and emotional experience." Patricia
Herrod, Bruton St. Art Gallery
are for sale. Prices on application. They can be viewed at:
2 Curran Studios • Lucan Place, Chelsea • SW3 London - UK
0208 6993 790 (London) Tel.
+34 658 173 682 (Spain)
143, 210, 271, W5 (directly to the House), 4, 10, 17, 41, 43,
134, 263, C11 (to Archway Station), 4 and C11 in Magdala Ave
NEAREST TUBE: Archway (Northern Line).
Exhibition, Part IV
David Graham paintings in a beautiful setting
of historical interest
exhibition of more than a 100 oil on canvas paintings of David
Graham RP will be on show from Wednesday 10th of August til Sunday 4th of September,
2011, at the galleries of Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park.
This exhibition comprised part of his recent work in Spain,
Prague, Cordoba, Marrakech, Israel, Venice, Paris, and several portraits
1582, Lauderdale House is an arts and education centre based
in the beautiful Waterlow Park. We run an extensive programme
of performances, workshops, outreach projects and exhibitions.
House, Highgate Hill, Waterlow Park
London N6 5HG • Tel: 020 8348 8716
Graham's work at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
Mall Galleries, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, London SW1 • www.therp.co.uk/
In June 1891 the society held its first exhibition. It included works by the members and also works from such well-known portrait painters as Sir John Everett Millais, G.F. Watts and James McNeill Whistler.
Graham exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition
(Israel), by David Graham, 1987. Oil on canvas, 40"x36".
by David Graham. Backyard of Picasso's Museum in Malaga City.
Oil on canvas, 40"x36". £7.000
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has a theme: printmaking and
the multiple. Over the years the Print Room in the Summer Exhibition
has become increasingly popular. Commercially successful and
artistically interesting, it shows work that not only sells
but also reveals a wide range of printmaking techniques. This
years Summer Exhibition offers the same extraordinary
range of media and artistic invention, but focuses attention
on works that use traditional as well as new printmaking technologies.
have always wanted to make poetry through mechanics. Many
of the greatest artists from Rembrandt, Blake and Goya
to Munch, Picasso, Rauschenberg and Hockney have made
printmaking central to their artistic output. Prints are a
uniquely sensitive and graphic way of expressing ideas, and
many artists today are alive to a world that is buzzing with
printed and virtual imagery and the visual and communicative
potential it offers.
exhibition contains works by artists who translate their ideas
through woodcut and etching, processes that go back centuries;
by those who use innovative print techniques, such as photography
and video; and by those who employ inkjet, giclée and
other processes that are derived from new technologies. Whether
artists are using pencils or computers, and whether they are
producing works of art in an edition of one or 1,001, this years
Summer Exhibition shows the enormous possibilities afforded
by printmaking in all its manifestations.
democratic nature is also mirrored in the number of works
submitted from overseas. Alongside famous names are works
by artists from as far afield as Australia and China, proving
once again that the Summer Exhibition is a celebration of
quality and diversity.
See DG's recent work (2004-2007) • (2007) • (2008) • (2009)
Graham's work at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition
Mall Galleries, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, London SW1
Lady in a boat
Leylah de Prada
Maribi Arnedo de Prada
Martha painting David
June 1891 the Royal
Society of Portrait Painters held its first exhibition. It included
works by the members and also works from such well-known portrait painters
as Sir John Everett Millais, G.F. Watts and James McNeill Whistler.
By the late 1980's the Society had become both a registered company
and a registered charity, and was beginning to attract the generosity
of sponsors in furthering its charitable aims. In 1991 the Society celebrated
its centenary with an historical exhibition of works by past members
loaned by the major art collections of the country. The Royal Society of Portrait Painters continues to seek to promote
excellence in portrait painting in all its forms, regardless of style
Vega in Fuengirola
Fatima at Marrakech
de Prada, at Cafe Central
and María Cacciatore
Royal Society of Portrait Painters is a registered charity which
aims to promote, maintain, improve and advance education in the Fine
Arts and in particular to encourage the appreciation, study and practice
of the art of portraiture.
Annual Exhibition is held at The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London, SW1Y
Graham is a painter whose work has never been shown on a large scale.
This year, the 25th anniversary of the consecration of the new Coventry
Cathedral, has provided him with a unique opportunity to present to
the public a major exhibition of his paintings about Israel.
Over the course
of the past six years Graham has made seventeen separate visits to Israel
with the specific intention of recording his impressions of the country
while actually on location. It is an achievement which required dedication
and a determined sense of mission.
The paintings, witness
to his accomplishment, represent the many facets of the life and terrain
of Israel. Collectively they are a remarkable document of the cities,
the people, the secular and religious architecture, and the extraordinary
and beautiful features of the landscape. They bring to mind Turner's
nineteenth Century views of England and the Continent.
They are a contemporary
exploration of interesting places and also a personal development. Indeed
for Graham the activity and total experience of painting is as important
as it was with Turner, Monet and Sickert before him. Graham is concerned
with the light and colour of his subjects. Consequently, all his paintings
have a vibrancy and richness which reflect his delight in transforming
the ever changing face of nature into images of visual and emotional
a water pipe with bedouins in Jericho (Israel), 1995
Graham painting on site down below in Tajo de Ronda (Spain)
His subjects range
from the subtle light of an evening skyline over Jerusalem to the Negev
desert and the monumental cliffs of Solomon s Pillars. They span from
Filat to Dan. The Western Wall and markets of Jerusalem contrast with
the pastoral views of the Mount of Olives
and the oasis of Jericho. Graham has looked at Israel with a sympathetic,
yet objective eye.
It is not difficult to appreciate Graham's skills in handling paint
or his ability to respond to his subjects with flair, honesty and economy
This website is
a tribute to Graham's years of endeavour and a rewarding experience
for those who come to share his vision."
Patrick Day. Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. Coventry
Self-portrait, 1950 (Click to
are four letters from David Graham to Ruth Borchard. The first
three were sent from his studio in Chelsea, London SW3 but the
year was not dated. The fourth, from Gravesend, is dated '10 Aug
60: 'I have moved from Chelsea where you originally wrote to me
regarding a self-portrait.'
the first letter, he writes: 'The best self portrait I have happens
to be a black and white lithograph, I also have a 15" x 10"
sketch portrait in oils... The two pictures together will be 1Ogns.'
At the top of this letter, Ruth has written in pencil, 'Asked
for oil sketch only 14/3/59' - for which, as Graham noted in his
second letter, 'The price is 8 guineas.'
painting is dated 1950, when the artist was living in what he
now calls 'a very dark room in Euston - at seven shillings and
ninepence a week - in a building that was con demned'. Born into
a Jewish family in London in 1926, Graham was about twenty-four
years old when he painted it. 'A very dark room in Euston' is
a peculiarly, poetically apt loca-tion for a painter very much
influenced by Sickert and then by the Euston Road School. Graham
portrays himself as a slender, sensitive, serious-minded youth
with a handsome, rather noble-looking head. The rich, painterly
treatment of the green-tinged background and the artist's yellow-and-ruddy
skin is somewhat reminiscent of Gustave Courbet, as in the latter's
portrait of the poet Baudelaire.
was impressed early on by reading A Free House! Or The Artist
as Craftsman; Being the Writings of Walter Richard Sickert, edited
by Osbert Sitwell (Macmillan & Co., London, 1947). In a 1910
essay, 'The Idealism News', Sickert wrote: 'It is because the
portrait-painter is not free - he fills a useful and honourable
place in a world of supply and demand - that I con-tinue rather
to draw attention to work outside... limitations. The more our
art is serious, the more will it tend to avoid the drawing-room
and stick to the kitchen. The plastic arts are gross servants,
dealing joyously with gross material facts. They call, in their
servants, for a robust stomach and a great power of endurance,
and while they flourish in the scullery, or on the dunghill, they
fade at a breath from the drawing-room.'
in a 1954 essay in Encounter magazine, David Sylvester called contemporary
'Kitchen Sink' art, was thus part of a long tradition - with antecedents
in Chardin, for example, and Sickert. David Graham never set out consciously
to make 'Kitchen Sink' paintings but his early work depicted drab and
mundane urban life. A newspaper article, 'Love on the Rates: It's a
little chilly for the models' by Francis Martin (Evening Standard, November
13th 1953), featured three young artists, including Graham (photographed
looking tall, slender and serious in a suit, with thick dark hair, as
he 'paints his favourite model- his wife, June Patricia'), who had settled
into some stu-dios built specially by Chelsea Borough Council (with
rents varying from 48 shillings to £3 a month). Graham is quoted
as saying: 'Before I came here I had a gaslit room in Euston... An 80-year-old
widow had the room above, an old woman who sold newspapers the room
below. The three of us shared a sink and water-tap on the landing. All
very squalid and, from the artistic angle, fascinating.' The article
tells of a portrait (sold then for £35) of 'five of Graham's neighbours,
whom he paid three or four shillings to pose for him, in the room at
Euston. It is a strongly handled, melancholy piece.'
Room in Euston. "Five
of Graham's neighbours" (1951) by David Graham. Private
collection. (Click to enlarge)
Teaching Staff of the Painting School, Royal College of Art
(1949-50) by Rodrigo Moynihan. Tate, London. (Click to enlarge)
portrait of 'Five of Graham's neighbours' was shown in his 1951
degree show, and then illustrated in black-and-white in Young
Artists of Promise. The setting of A Room in Euston is a nondescript
bed-sitting room (actually Graham's 'condemned' room in Euston).
A plump, bearded man in a hat and an over-coat - in life, an elderly
Russian gentleman - sits on a chair. A woman stands at a canvas
on an easel. At the right a youngish black man stands, wearing
an overcoat and beret. Another young woman sits by him on a couch,
and to the left of the Russian, a girl lies on the bed. (These
in life were twin sisters, painting students). The walls are bare,
except for odd sketches on the wall. Graham painted the sitters
individually and separately, bringing them together for the overall
composition. This may help explain not only the beautifully evoked
atmosphere of nervous isolation and disconnectedness in the room,
but also each sitter's meditative dignity.
recollects today that sources of inspiration for A Room in Euston
included two paintings, each showing the gath-ering of a group
of artists in a room: Gustave Courbet's The Painter's Studio (1855)
and The Teaching Staff of the Painting School, Royal College of
Art (1949-50) by Rodrigo Moynihan, Graham's own teacher. In Moynihan's
picture, John Minton is shown on the far left, seemingly separated
from the main group. Moynihan had based his painting on a photograph
taken by Ruskin Spear's nephew, Eric Stanley, which showed, among
others, Carel Weight, Robert Buhler, Kenneth Rowntree, Ruskin
Spear, and Moynihan himself on the far right; Moynihan had added
the image of Minton - not originally present in the pho-tographed
scene - to the composition. As the critic John Russell wrote in
his preface to the exhibition of Moynihan's 'Paintings 1970-73'
(at Fischer Fine Art, London, 1973), 'the look of John Minton,
sealed up in his own apartness, is one of the most haunting of
contemporary likenesses. As with Moynihan's still-lifes of the
1940s, there is a point of historical reference for these groups
in Courbet's The Studio or Degas' account of the cotton-brokers
in New Orleans.'
a letter to the author (May 24th 2002), Graham wrote: 'my first
three paintings exhibited in London was at the Leicester Galleries
(Leicester Sq.), the annual exhibition, 'ARTISTS OF FAME AND PROMISE'
in 1951, chosen by Oliver Brown (Just on [my] leaving the RCA)...
It was stimulating to see one's paint-ings against Sickert, John,
Piper, etc. etc..'
1957, Graham made two remarkable paintings of London's Piccadilly
Circus, with heavily overcoated, haunted-looking figures wandering
down dark streets lit by neon signs. One picture is dominated
by the huge, red curvilinear sign (with white lettering) for Coca
Cola, and a sign for 'Forte's Popular' (the word 'Cafe' being
obscured by a lamp-post); the other by a Guinness advertisement.
These pictures - at once sinister and cosy in atmosphere - seem
unconsciously to unite Sickert's. 'gross material facts' of urban
life with, presciently, qualities of early Pop Art.
almost thirty years, Graham was an art school teacher in London, becoming
senior lecturer at the Sir John Cass School of Art. For many of these
years, he showed portraits in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Many
show isolated or vulnerable yet resilient-looking figures set against
starkly defined back-grounds, as in a 1975 Degas-influenced portrait
of Nestoras Manetas - the Greek Student - a portly, bearded young man,
hauntingly introspective in demeanour.
A frequent sitter
in recent years has been Martha Graham,
his second wife. In a spatially complex and ingenious double portrait,
c.1988, we see - distantly reflected in a mirror - the artist at his
easel. In front of him sits Martha, herself at an easel, painting a
still-life of fruit, flowers and an archaic mask. The back of her head
of luxuriant black hair is pictured in the fore-ground. In the mirror
we see Graham standing - looking alert and quizzical- and Martha sitting
- a fresh, exploratory look on her face. To the right of their own reflections,
the backs of each of their canvases are mirrored: two tiny rectangles,
one on top of the other.
enjoys painting en plein air, in
latter years reverting, he says, 'to what I was doing when I was younger',
when 'through necessity, through lack of accommodation... I was painting
out of doors.' His subjects have included the river Thames,
and spanish landscapes, and Venice.
A 1987 exhibition, 'David Graham -
Recent Work; 100 Paintings of Israel', at the Herbert Art Gallery and
Museum, Coventry was the result of seventeen visits to Israel over a
period of six years.
The sombre yet evocatively
distilled bedsitter palette of his early years has moved on to the vibrancy
of golden-hued pictures depicting gardens, markets and religious settings
like the Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem,
deserts, oases, mountains and rocks (notably the ultra-coppery Solomon's
Pillars, the sub-jects of some fine, ambitious pictures on .the verge
of abstrac-tion). Though freer in their handling of paint and radically
higher in light voltage than he was once used to as a young painter,
his 1980s portraits of young Bedouin men in their ten~s, a Coptic priest
immersed in a book, and a young Arab woman, reach back to the poignant,
introverted portraiture of Graham's early days in Euston and Chelsea.
Face to Face: British Self - Portraits in the Twentieth Century by Philip
Vann. Samson & Company, Bristol 2004