The Jerwood Gallery in Hastings launched a new exhibition yesterday (Tuesday 25th): In Focus: Edward Burra – A Rye View
Edward Burra (1905-1976) is one of the most intriguing and enigmatic artists of the 20th century. A Rye View brings together a group of his watercolours depicting the East Sussex coastal towns of Hastings and Rye. This exhibition forms part of an ‘In Focus’ series in which a work from the Jerwood Collection is the starting point for a small-scale show. Burra’s The Churchyard, Rye, was purchased and added to the collection in 2010.
The works in this two-room exhibition span Burra’s career: he was 22 years old when he painted The View from Springfield (1927) from his family home and was nearing the end of his life when he completed the vibrant, large-scale Hastings Pub (1971).
One of the highlights of the exhibition is The Harbour, Hastings (1947) which depicts Hastings’ lively fishing industry where fishermen go about their daily routine. The Jerwood Gallery sits next to this same beach which remains the home to the largest active beach-launched fishing fleet in Britain.
Also included in the exhibition will be a rare portrait of Burra (c. 1930s - loaned by the National Portrait Gallery) by his friend and neighbour, the artist John Banting, in addition to archive material loaned by Rye Art Gallery. At selected times during the exhibition two films about Burra will be shown in the Jerwood Gallery Studio: I Never Tell Anybody Anything: The Life and Art of Edward Burra (2011); and Edward Burra (1972).
Edward Burra suffered life-long health problems and had chronic arthritis from a young age. This debilitating condition meant that he had to work in watercolour rather than oil paints which he found too heavy for his arthritic hands. He also loved to travel but always returned to recuperate at Springfield, his family home in Playden, close to Rye, which he affectionately referred to as ‘Tinkerbelle Towne’.
Lara Wardle, Curator of the Jerwood Collection and the exhibition says: ‘Burra painted Rye and its locality in numerous guises and this exhibition is a perfect opportunity to bring a small group of these works together. A key figure in 20th century British art, Burra’s extraordinary watercolours demonstrate his unique artistic vision.’
Exhibition Dates: Thursday 26th February – Sunday 7th June 2015
Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm