A major retrospective selling and loan exhibition of works by Edward Seago (1910-1974) organised by The Taylor Gallery Ltd in collaboration with Colnaghi. Includes loans from the private collection of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh and the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. At Colnaghi, 15 Old Bond Street, London W1. Monday 8th September to Friday 19th September, 2008 (excluding Sunday 14th)
The Taylor Gallery Ltd., specialists in work by Edward Seago, are organizing a major retrospective exhibition of his paintings and watercolours, in collaboration with Colnaghi, London, the gallery that represented the artist in his heyday. The exhibition coincides with the Sky Arts screening of a four-part documentary produced by Colonial Pictures about the artist’s life and work and that of his friend, the author John Masefield. The exhibition comprises approximately 50 oil paintings, watercolours and drawings available for sale together with important loans from H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Loan exhibits include four of Seago’s Antarctic paintings loaned by The Duke of Edinburgh and seven seminal East Anglian works lent by The Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery including ‘The Anvil Cloud’, a landscape painted by Seago specifically for the Museum’s collection. There will also be a display of catalogues and press cuttings from the Colnaghi archives. The exhibition, which is the second joint exhibition of Seago’s work by the Taylor Gallery and Colnaghi, following on from their successful 2006 exhibition Atmosphere and Light, runs from 8th until 19th September at Colnaghi, 15 Old Bond Street, London.
Colnaghi acted as the artist’s agents from 1946 until 1967 and hosted annual Seago exhibitions in their galleries on Old Bond Street. These exhibitions were so popular that visitors had to queue up outside the gallery; collectors were limited to one painting per person and one journalist commented that so many works were sold that “the visitor to the Colnaghi exhibition is apt to suffer from red spots in front of his eyes”. By 1967, the year of Seago’s last exhibition at Colnaghi, demand for his work was so great that several buyers queued all night so as to be first through the door. Many of the works in the current exhibition, so sought-after by collectors today, were originally sold by Colnaghi more than 50 years ago, testifying to their enduring popularity.
Seago’s work is represented in many major private collections including those of H.R.H. The Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, the late Queen Mother and the Swire Family. He was a regular guest at Sandringham and often painted with Prince Philip. The Royal paintings date from the 1956-1957 trip, when Seago was invited by the Duke of Edinburgh to accompany him on a tour of Antarctica on the Royal Yacht “Britannia” after the opening of the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Seago also stopped off in Singapore for a week on the way, and finished six paintings, two of which- ‘South Bay Quay’ and ‘Riverside, Singapore’, are included in the exhibition. Other Far-Eastern works include two paintings executed during Seago’s 1962 trip to Hong Kong: ‘Fishing Boats at Siu Hang’ and the flower market in ‘Queens Road West, Hong Kong’. Having been commissioned to produce five paintings of local views for the Boardroom of John Swire & Sons Ltd, the Far-Eastern shipping and trading house, Seago extended his trip to Hong Kong for three months.
Edward Seago RBA RWS saw himself as heir to a long tradition of British landscape painting stretching back to Crome, Cotman, Constable, and Gainsborough, all of whom, like Seago, were born in East Anglia. He was almost entirely self-taught, having drawn continually during long periods of illness throughout his childhood; and his fascination with cloud patterns, which he shared with his great precursor Constable, can be seen in a ‘Norfolk Beach Summer’ and the study of the Suffolk fishing boats - ‘The Butt and Oyster’ (the title derived from a favourite pub) in the present exhibition. It is these East Anglian scenes for which Seago is perhaps best known. Less well-known are his atmospheric renderings of the more ceremonial aspects of London shown in two large works from the late 1950s: ‘The Quadriga at Hyde Park Corner’ and ‘Horseguards on The Mall’.
Wide-ranging chronologically and geographically, the exhibition spans almost the whole of Seago’s long career, including scenes from his early life in the circus and records of his frequent boat-trips to France and Holland, such as the ‘Basin Step at Honfleur’, one of Seago’s favourite locations and ‘The Street at Langres’.. Seago’s love of Italy is reflected in three Roman paintings- ‘Ponte Sant’ Angelo’, drawing the viewer’s eye to the Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum, also known as Castel Sant’ Angelo, ‘Piazza Navona, Rome’, capturing the bustle of a Roman afternoon outside Borromini’s Church of Sant’ Agnese in Agone and Sunlight & Shadows, Rome’, which features the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria and, by contrast, a quiet study of deserted Venetian square: ‘The Grey House in Venice’.
His taste for the exotic, on the other hand, is ably illustrated with ‘Morning Sunlight on the Golden Horn, Istanbul’ a work depicting the chaotic shipping of the Bosphorus, and the ‘The Walls of Marrakech’. Both cities were favourite spots, to which he regularly returned.
Jeremy Howard, Head of Research of Colnaghi, commented: “We at Colnaghi are proud to have been Seago’s most important dealers during his lifetime and delighted to be working with The Taylor Gallery again, as we did two years ago, celebrating the talent and achievements of an artist whose work continues to be an inspiration to other artists and bring pleasure to his many collectors and admirers”.
Jeremy Taylor, Director of The Taylor Gallery says: "Interest in Edward Seago as an artist, has been increasing and there has been a move to reassess him as an artist who never received the critical acclaim he deserved, despite his popularity and commercial success during his lifetime. His work has had a profound influence on many current artists, hence the title of this exhibition ‘The Artists’ Artist’.”
Catalogues at £10 are available from The Taylor Gallery, Colnaghi and Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Proceeds from the sale of catalogues will support the acquisitions of works of art for Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
Images available upon request
Notes to Editors:
P. & D. COLNAGHI & CO., LTD.
Colnaghi was established by Paul Colnaghi and his partner Anthony Torre in Paris in 1760. The original shop in Paris, known as the ‘Cabinet de Physique Experimental’, dealt in scientific instruments imported from England and they quickly branched out into print selling, importing English mezzotints and barometers. After managing a new shop in the Palais Royale, Paul Colnaghi took over the London branch of the business, based in Pall Mall in 1783, and as a result of the French Revolution transferred the business to London becoming print sellers to the Prince Regent (later George IV). Colnaghi established itself initially as the premier dealership for prints. By the end of the 19th century the firm had begun dealing in Old Master paintings and drawings and was instrumental in the formation of some of the most important American collections, including that of Isabella Stewart Gardener, Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Mellon. In 2002, the Old Master paintings dealer Konrad O. Bernheimer, the fourth generation of one of Europe’s major art dealing families, acquired Colnaghi. Under the Colnaghi umbrella, Bernheimer joined forces with the renowned Old Master drawings dealer Katrin Bellinger. In October 2006, Hauser & Wirth opened their third London gallery at the Colnaghi building in Bond Street – Hauser & Wirth at Colnaghi. Bernheimer and Bellinger continue to maintain a presence in Munich, Bernheimer Fine Old Masters, and Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel. Colnaghi continues to operate as one of the world’s most important dealerships, specializing in Master paintings and drawings from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century.
THE TAYLOR GALLERY
Established in 1986, for their first ten years, The Taylor Gallery were based in The Royal Arcade in London’s West End. There they held exhibitions of works by American Impressionist, Irish, Modern British, Marine and China Trade artists. They no longer have retail premises but now operate by private appointment and through antique fairs, including the BADA and Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fairs, and their website www.taylorgallery.com. Whilst still dealing in Marine and China Trade paintings, they have become specialists in works by Edward Seago.
EDWARD SEAGO RBA RWS (1910 - 1974)
Born in Norfolk, Edward Seago was one of the most commercially successful artists of his time. Confined to bed by a heart problem for much of his childhood, he received only 18 months formal schooling and taught himself to paint. His fascination with clouds that is so apparent in his work dates from this period, when he was lying in bed drawing. Between the ages of 18 and 22, Seago worked at a circus, and it is from this period he studied animals and circus scenes in the manner of Dame Laura Knight. He later trained to be a fighter pilot, but was let down by his poor health. He was, however, invited to become unofficial Artist to the Italian Campaign, by his friend, General Alexander, Commander-in-Chief of the allies in Italy.
In 1946 Seago met a director of Colnaghi, Tom Baskett, who suggested he have an exhibition at the gallery’s premises on Old Bond Street. This proved such a success that he continued to show there for the next 20 years. His work was admired by HRH Prince Philip at the 1949 exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and as a result he was invited twice a year to Sandringham to paint with the Duke. Seago was later invited to join the Duke of Edinburgh on a painting trip to Antarctica on the Royal Yacht Britannia following the official opening of The Olympic Games of 1956 in Melbourne. He also helped the Prince of Wales to paint in watercolour and was the close friend of the generals, playwrights, ballet dancers and actors of his day.
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1. The images generously loaned by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh from his private collection are reproduced courtesy of “The Estate of Edward Seago courtesy of Thomas Gibson Fine Art”; with photographic copyright from The Scott Polar Research Institute and photographer Peter Mennim
2. Images from Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery are copyright of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and generously loaned by Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
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