Sunday 10 April 2016

Art in Britain after 1930 at the Museum of Wales, Cardiff

Art in Britain after 1930, at the Museum of Wales, Cardiff

The museum's collection of British art after 1930 exemplifies the wide approaches adopted by artists during that period. With the influence of modern European art, a move towards pure abstraction began in Britain, where artists explored the use of linear and geometric forms free from the direct representation of objects or the natural world.

With the arrival of WWII, a new style sometimes described as neo-romanticism emerged embodying a desire to return to a more truthful representation of nature and traditional values. Artists in Wales who drew strong inspiration from the landscape embraced this movement.

St Ives had become the centre of abstraction during the 1940s. In the late 1950s, this modern approach developed into a more physical, gestural and expressionist style of painting in Britain. As a result there was a return to the subjects of landscape and the figure, but treated in a non-representational way.

Ben Nicholson, 1940-43 (Two Forms), (oil on canvas on board)

Patrick Heron, Various Blues in Indigo, 1962 (oil on canvas)

Adrian Heath, Interlocking Forms, 1950 (oil on board)

John Piper, Painting, 1935 (oil on canvas on board)

Ivon Hitchens, Arched Trees No. 12, 1954 (oil on canvas)

Frank Auerbach, Tree on Primrose Hill, 1965-69, (oil on canvas)

Lucian Freud, The Painter's Brother, Stephen, 1985-86, (oil on canvas)

Francis Bacon, Study for Self-Portrait, 1963 (oil on canvas)

Ceri Richards, Cycle of Nature, 1944, (oil on canvas)

Peter Lanyon, Beach Girl, 1961 (oil on canvas)

Henri Moore, Upright Motif No. 8, 1956 (bronze)

Derek Williams, Cabinet

The works on paper in this cabinet are displayed for six months after which a new display is installed.


  1. These artists have a somewhat overlooked reputation internationally, and I am enjoying gradually revisiting them in close focus. It may take some time, but is extremely rewarding.

  2. This is very true, Olga: they do have an overlooked reputation internationally, but also amongst a lot of people in the UK, I think. I am learning as I go along and it's exciting.