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Previously unseen John Piper Paintings unveiled for the first time –From 3 March

Previously unseen John Piper Paintings unveiled for the first time –From 3 March

Previously unseen John Piper Paintings unveiled for the first time –From 3 March

One of the most influential modern artists in Great Britain is John Piper and a major collection of work by the artist has recently been unveiled and Henley-on-Thames. The artwork has been unveiled at the River & Rowing Museum and is called The Gyselynck Collection.

The exhibition is going to be running from March to October this year and there is going to be a preview for the press taking place on 1 March. For those in attendance there is going to be a compliment tree lunch from the award-winning cafe at the museum.

Over 30 works from the artist are going to be shown and they’ve all been collected by Michael Gyselynk who lived near Henley-on-Thames before recently passing away. Before he died the entire collection was never seen together and it is due to be opened by Lord Camoys who is the current president of the Museum and is also a close friend of the artist.

The collection comprises works across a wide variety of mediums. Works of note:
‘Composition’, 1936, oil on canvas, one of a few pure abstracts by Piper painted during a period when he was experimenting with abstraction, influenced by the likes of Braque and Picasso and reflecting the trend of European Modernism at the time. The painting, on loan from the Ashmolean is brought back to the Collection for the first time.
‘Reclining nude’, 1982, painted ceramic dish produced by Fulham Pottery, one of eight beach girl designs where the figure has been formed using the minimum of line made from a piece of finely rolled clay laid on a roughly shaped platter. Piper did not like the shape of the pots to be too perfect and enjoyed using bright glazes to achieve painterly effects.
‘Autumn Flowers’, 1987, oil on canvas, a large and vibrant example of Piper’s expressive work from towards the end of his life when he could no longer travel far and often painted the flowers from his garden at Fawley bottom, near Henley on Thames. It was one of Michael Gyselynck’s favourite pieces in which he saw the flowers exploding from the canvas like fireworks

The exhibition marks the twentieth anniversary of Piper’s death and the tenth anniversary Gyselynk’s death.
John Piper (13 December 1903 – 28 June 1992) lived near Henley on Thames for most of his working life. John Piper was a widely accomplished artist mastering many different media. He is perhaps best known for his stained glass designs most notably Coventry Cathedral, his architectural depictions of Britain’s built heritage through his commissions as an official war artist, for Kenneth Clarks’‘Recording Britain’ project and his work with John Betjeman for the Shell County Guides. He was passionate about exploring different methods, seeking to work alongside skilled craftsmen and producing over his long career paintings, prints, ceramics, collage works, designs for textiles, stained glass theatre sets and murals.

The Gyselynck Collection exhibition provides a unique opportunity to view work spanning the artist’s entire career across his different mediums and represents many aspects of Piper’s artistic output including abstract landscape compositions, topographical and figurative paintings, collage and ceramics. Piper was influenced in his early career by Braque, Picasso and modern French artists. He was friends with other pioneers of modern British art such as Alexander Calder, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and during the 1930s experimented with pure abstraction. Moving away from this beginning Piper went on to develop his own unique style, fusing fluidity of line with elemental forms and perfectly balanced use of colour to communicate the spirit of a place, the feel of a body or the pure essence of a landscape.
At the heart of the River & Rowing Museum exhibition lies one man’s pursuit for works by an artist he became passionate about. Michael Gyselynk began his enthusiasm for John Piper’s work with the purchase of one print. Over the years it became almost an obsession to search out works available for sale and then hang them in his home. When his house was full of Piper’s works he built another one so he could show his collection off to the full. He took immense pleasure from the paintings, sharing his passion with visitors; a favourite past time with guests was quizzing them about which Piper work appealed to them the most, the least and why..
This exhibition will continue the River & Rowing Museum’s special relationship with John Piper, building on two previous major Piper shows; ‘Master of Diversity’ (2000) and ‘Crossing Boundaries’ (2003/4) and complementing the Museum’s extensive reference collection about the artist and his work. The Museum also currently housesLandscape of the Two Seasons (1960) by Piper, on long-term loan from the P&O Art Collection.

Paul Mainds, Trustee and Chief Executive of The River & Rowing Museum said: “It has been an enormous pleasure to work with Gyselynk family for this exhibition and we are indebted to them for allowing us to display Michael Gyselynck’s remarkable collection for the first time. This exhibition also enables us to continue our reputation for excellent Piper exhibitions, showcasing the work of this internationally significant artist.”

Plan your Piper Journey
The River & Rowing Museum’s John Piper – The Gyselynck Collection exhibition is linked to another Piper exhibition taking place at Dorchester Abbey from 21 April – 10 June 2012. The exhibition, called John Piper and the Church, in Dorchester Abbey – about 30mins drive from the Museum – demonstrates Piper’s vision to bring colour, energy and modernity into the heart of the church buildings and showcases the artist’s work across stained glass, tapestries, ecclesiastical vestments, paintings and drawings. Together both exhibitions provide a unique opportunity to experience the widest possible range of John Piper’s work.


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