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26 x 22 cms (26.01 x 22.00 cms)
Hardback, 136 pages. 80 colour and 30 b/w illustations
Born into a mining family in rural Cumberland, British painter Sheila Fell (1931-79) studied at Carlisle College of Art, then at St Martin's School of Art in London. Though she spent her adult life in London, her artistic inspiration came from the dramatic images of the landscape of her childhood in the tough northern fells, which she interpreted with a unique intensity, authenticity and expressive power. With her narrow focus on place, she found a poetic language to express the interdependence of earth, people and work, and the universal struggle between nature and humanity's precarious survival in an unforgiving landscape.
Talented, determined and charismatic, Sheila Fell was one of the very few women artists to achieve national recognition in the 1950s and 1960s and was one of the youngest artists ever to be elected a Royal Academician in 1974. L.S. Lowry praised her as the best landscape painter of the age and became her lifelong supporter and patron. Like other contemporary figurative painters, including her friends Frank Auerbach, Craigie Aitchison, and Euan Uglow, she persevered with her singular vision despite the tides of fashion which threatened to engulf figurative painting.
Sheila Fell's tragic early death in 1979 cut short her burgeoning artistic career. This book, the first comprehensive study of her life and work, draws on previously unpublished letters and archive sources to establish Sheila Fell as a significant force in twentieth-century British figurative painting. It includes reproductions of many hitherto unseen works to convey the diversity and power of her paintings and her original, transforming vision.
Contents: Acknowledgements; Foreword, Frank Auerbach; Chapter 1 A Small Windswept Town, 1931-50; Chapter 2 A Question of Commitment, 1950-55; Chapter 3 Dark Satanic Hills, 1955-8; Chapter 4 A Voluptuous Passion for Paint, 1959-63; Chapter 5 Changing Light, 1963-6; Chapter 6 The Dignity of the Ordinary, 1967-74; Chapter 7 Gathering Clouds, 1975-9; Chronology; Exhibitions; Public Collections; Select Bibliography; Picture Credits; Index.
About the Author: Cate Haste is a writer of political memoirs and works of historical non-fiction which include Clarissa Eden: A Memoir (2008), The Goldfish Bowl: Married to the Prime Minister (with Cherie Booth - 2005) and Nazi Women (2005).
Reviews: 'A wonderfully illuminating illustrated biography.' Galleries
'Richly illustrated and quite revelatory, the book draws on hitherto unpublished sources including letters, diaries and interviews with friends and contemporaries such as artists Frank Auerbach, the late Craigie Aitchison and Sir Peter Blake, and has been well worth waiting for.' Cumbria Life
'Haste's compelling saga of a mesmerising artist, part of the post-war generation that includes Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Euan Uglow and others, is a brilliant biography that brings to life her vision of the "universe in a village" that dominated her creative life.' Islington Tribune
'This book is a worthy testament to her talent and will provide an insight into the life and art of this significant painter.' Albion Magazine Online
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