Alfred Wallis (St Ives Artists)

Paperback / softback
One of a series exploring the life and work of major artists associated with St Ives, this study of Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) sets out to revise previous accounts of his life in the light of new research. It also discusses the gradual development of his painting over 17 years of activity. Wallis spent most of his life in the Cornish ports of Newlyn, Penzance and St Ives, and went to sea as a young man. His main occupation was as a dealer in marine supplies, and it was only at the age of 70, and after the death of his wife, that he took up painting for company . He sold his works for a few pence to anyone who wanted them, and died in the poorhouse near Penzance. He is now recognized as one of the most original British artists of the 20th century. After his encounter with Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood in St Ives in 1928, his pictures of boats and harbours, produced on odd-shaped boards with the use of ordinary ship's paint, were an inspiration to artists seeking a new approach. The directness of his primitive vision and the object-like quality of his paintings were highly influential in the development of British Modernism. The book discusses the mythology that quickly grew up around Wallis's life, and at the sustained interest in an irascible eccentric whose work affected a whole generation of British artists.