Dennis Creffield: Paintings of Innocence and Experience

18 September - 30 October 2015

James Hyman is honoured to present a major exhibition of paintings by one of the most esteemed British artists, Dennis Creffield.

Dennis Creffield. Paintings of Innocence and Experience presents paintings spanning seven decades to trace the range of the artist's work from the 1940s, and his days in the classes of David Bomberg at the Borough Polytechnic, through to more recent paintings. This is a major opportunity to explore the diversity of the artist's paintings and includes celebrated works as well as several that are being exhibited for the first time. The exhibition follows recent exhibitions Dennis Creffield. Jerusalem (James Hyman Fine Art, London, 2011) and Dennis Creffield. Cathedrals of England and France (Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 2014).

James Hyman writes:

R.B.Kitaj once described Creffield as 'England's most closely guarded secret' and although enormously respected, his work remains less well-known than it should. Often compared to Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, who also took classes with David Bomberg at the Borough Polytechnic, Creffield's language is unmistakeably his own, whilst the diversity of his subjects is incomparable. As well as returning to familiar motifs - such as views from Greenwich in the 1950s and of the sea at Brighton in the 1970s and 1980s, Creffield's oeuvre is characterised by the diversity of subjects on which he has worked, often as a result of a commission. Now in his eighty-fifth year, this exhibition confirms Creffield's stature, provides a rare, in depth, opportunity to see paintings by Creffield and is a chance to marvel at the extraordinary accomplishment of his economic yet lush mark-making. I am honoured to be staging our third solo exhibition of Creffield's work. I am grateful to Dennis for agreeing to this selective overview and for releasing favourite paintings that he has previously retained.

Editor's notes:

Born in London in 1931, Creffield attended the Borough Polytechnic from 1947-51, where he was a pupil of David Bomberg.

Subsequently Creffield studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1957-61) (where he was winner of the Tonks Prize for Life Drawing and the Steer Medal for Landscape Painting). He was a prize-winner at the John Moore's Liverpool Exhibition in 1961, awarded the Gregory Fellowship in Painting at the University of Leeds 1964-68, awarded an Arts Council Major Award for Painting in 1977 and an Abbey Scholarship in 1997.

In 1987 Creffield was commissioned by the Arts Council to draw all 26 of the medieval cathedrals of England. Beginning with Chichester Cathedral on St Valentine's Day, he described the project as his 'Pilgrimage of Love'. This moving journey has been compared to JMW Turner's travels in England and to Auguste Rodin's tour of French cathedrals.

More recently, another commission, Jerusalem, drew together many aspects of Creffield's work and included a response to the Holy Land as well as to the Jerusalem of William Blake.

Dennis Creffield's work is owned by many public galleries including the Ashmolean, Arts Council, Contemporary Arts Society, House of Commons, Los Angeles County Museum, The National Trust, Pallant House in Chichester and the Tate.

Dennis Creffield is represented by James Hyman Fine Art.