I’ll admit that, until now, I hadn’t been particularly familiar with the work of Christopher Wood. Opening the book therefore surprised me, as I immediately felt completely at home, and that I knew all these paintings intimately. How is this? The only answer I can find is that Wood crystallises the English style of painting at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
There are elements to Wood’s work that also pre-figure some of the movements that came later and, from the sheer variety of his style, to see evidence of what was effectively a melting pot before Symbolism, Surrealism and Modernism fully coalesced. It is also fascinating to see how he sometimes looks back to what went before, perhaps as a way of defining and rooting his own voice. It’s also worth noting the impressive volume of work that he produced in his 29 short years, meaning that this selection of 130 paintings, set designs and drawings drips quality throughout.
Katy Norris, Curator of the always impressive Pallant House Gallery, has produced the definitive account of an artist previous ignored by published literature.
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