I have started a quest to find all of the 54 paintings and 12 sculptures included in the Festival of Britain Sixty Paintings for ’51 (see previous posts here and here). My second blog post about this discussed four paintings that were purchased by The Arts Council, which organised the show, and later donated to regional galleries. There was also a fifth, William Gear’s Autumn Landscape (1951) which I have found is in the collection of the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle which acquired it as a gift in 1952 (detail above, with the full painting across the jump). I got to it via another, closely related painting by William Gear, also called Autumn Landscape, which is in the collection of National Galleries Scotland. The description of this work gives an inkling of the story behind the one included in the exhibition:
This is one of several paintings Gear completed in the autumn of 1950. A similar but larger work also titled Autumn Landscape was painted for the Festival of Britain show Sixty Painters for ‘51 in 1951. Although awarded the Arts Council purchase prize, it was denounced by the president of the Royal Academy, Sir Alfred Munnings, who deemed it as a ‘scheming, self-conscious, anglicised, fifty-year old repetition of the École de Paris’.
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