Wilson Steer, introduction by Robin Ironside. (Phaiclon Press, 20s.) —
Dutch Drawings at Winelsol Castle, edited by Professor Leo van Puyvelde. (Phaidon Press, 25s.)
Reviewed by IRIS CONLAY WILSON Steer has been chosen as the first to appear in a magnificent series of Modem
British Artists which is being edited by John Rothenstein, director and keeper of the Tate Gallery, for the Phaidon Press, already internationally known for their hooks of reproductions. We have enjoyed the Phaidon Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Roman portraits and much other continental fare, and here at last we arc among our own.
For several reasons Wilson Steer seems a good choice for a beginning. Not only did he spend a lifetime's devotion upon our English landscape and portrayed it with such loving, poetic sensibility, but be was also so typical an Englishman in himself. Liking to plough his own furrow, he seems to have slipped through his Studentship in France not much affected by anyone, and continued in this solitary, individual way to the end.
Light, weather, the formations of clouds, trees and the diaphanous quality of the sea, Steer absorbed their changing appearances, and his pictures (aft of them are reproduced here) reflect a real and mercurial England. Not always, though, is it possible with so subtle art artist to capture the essential Steer in reproduction. His watercolours are impregnated understatement. They are understood best RS a shorthand note of an experience, and without colour even the shorthand is a bbreviated.
Robin Ironside, in his introduction, suggests that Steer was the great extrovert of English painting, an artist who reflected rather than analysed. Constable is the great extrovert, and Blake the great introvert. I hope there will be room in this series for examples of the modern introvert school. England is too often pubbelted as the unanalytic. Stanley Spencer is listed to appear, could one hope, also, for David Jones? ailDROFESSOR van Puyvelde, whose I. discoveries at Windsor have been brought to the public's notice recently. has edited these 150 reproductions of Dutch drawings in the Castle. A scholar's work, this book will never take the unknowledgable out of their depths. The language of drawing is particularly universal, neither Lime nor place seem to alienate it from sympathy. Only the subject-matter (the clothes, the buildings and the life) seems to tie a drawing to a period. These sixteenth-eighteenth century carefully executed and finished Dutch drawlop are technically timeless, ask few questions of their audience, and demand only admiration. Every page offers examples of consummate skill,