25 October 2008 – 4 January 2009
The star of the exhibition of paintings by Peter
Lanyon is a very large oil painting titled ‘Porthmeor’,
commissioned in 1962 as a mural by the American collector and
patron, Stanley J Seeger.
The idea for the mural was to show the sea and myths associated
with it such as the legend of the Golden Fleece. As Lanyon
explained: “The main appearance of it is as a fast-moving sea with
cross-shore drift and counter drift.” The artist began the painting
in his St Ives studio and completed it on site, Debussy’s La
mer inspiring him to phrase the work musically.
Also included in the show is the full size study for the mural
which will be hung directly above the mural itself, bringing these
two important works together for the first time since they were
Peter Lanyon (1918-64) was the only native-born Cornishman among
the leading artists of the St Ives School. He taught at the Bath
Academy of Art from 1952-57 and is remembered by former students
for his unusual approach that involved exploring landscape from
every conceivable angle. In his work he rejected the conventions of
the picturesque and instead evoked the more gritty working life of
the Cornish industries, such as fishing, farming and mining. He
died in 1964 from a blood clot following a gliding accident.