Welsh Estuary Foreshore (1943)
About this artwork
Accompanied by the artist Graham Sutherland, John Craxton visited Pembrokeshire in 1943. On his return, he painted this picture on a sheet of burlap that a friend had wrapped around some books. Craxton said, "I pinned it to a wall and worked on it and it became a synthesis of ideas, objects and forms gathered during my visits to Pembrokeshire". The shape of the shoreline can be seen in the picture, while the eye-like form on the shore is a kind of cuttlefish, partly inspired by a painting of a weeping woman by Picasso.
John Craxton was born in London. He studied in Paris in 1939 and then in London until 1942. A friend of Graham Sutherland, Craxton also shared a studio with Lucian Freud from 1942 to 1944. Craxton's early work consisted of neo-romantic landscapes, but after travelling in Europe from 1946 to 1947, his work became more structured, reflecting his interest in Cubism. In particular, Craxton was affected by visiting Greece. The subject matter of his work then turned towards the landscape and culture of Greece and from 1960 he lived in Crete, only occasionally returning to London.