1877-1961
Floral Still Life

Oil on canvas, signed lower left
Image size: 30 x 22 inches (76 x 56 cm)
Original frame

 

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This striking work by Wolmark was probably painted by him in New York around 1919-20, as an old label to the back of the frame is for a American framer.

Alfred Aaron Wolmark (28 December 1877 – 6 January 1961) was a painter and decorative artist.

He was a Post-Impressionist and a pioneer of the New Movement in Art. Wolmark was born in Warsaw, Poland, into a Jewish family, who were amongst the many subsequently fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe. The family moved to Devon when he was six and in 1894, he became a British citizen.

When Wolmark moved to London in the 1890s, he began training at the Royal Academy Schools. His early brightly coloured Breton scenes are characterized by bold, geometric patterning and vivid colour, which owed much to the influence of Post-Impressionism. He was a close friend of the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and the two artists made portraits of one another. In addition to painting, Wolmark created stained glass, decorative painted vases, ballet designs for Diaghilev, and illustrated Israel Zangwill’s complete works.

Wolmark kept to traditional genre, and transformed his subjects through the use of flattened forms, built up with a heavy impasto. His daring use of bright colour on some paintings such as the above painting demonstrate a skillset akin to Andy Warhol and earned him the title of ‘The Colour King’.

His use of colour was so bright that in an exhibition of the International Society of Artists no English painter dared hang work next to his. His work was finally placed next to Van Gogh’s, a matter of considerable pride to the artist in later years. He also exhibited at “Manet and the Post Impressionists” show at the Grafton Gallery in 1910.

This work demonstrates the juxtaposition between nature in the foreground, green and lush, and industry in the background with plumes of smoke. It is in the original frame, designed and handmade and by Wolmark himself.