John Armstrong: Paintings 1938-1958 presents a carefully curated selection of outstanding works by pre-eminent twentieth-century British artist John Armstrong (1893-1973). A deeply independent artist, Armstrong rejected the confinement of artistic groups, yet he was at the heart of inter-war and post-war British art. Armstrong was propelled to the forefront of avant-garde British modernism at the start of the 1930s as a member of the short-lived but highly influential group Unit One alongside Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Edward Wadsworth. From 1938; however, he forged his own unique and influential path producing a superior body of mature work.
Writing in the catalogue for John Armstrong’s 1938 exhibition, T. W. Earp, the esteemed Telegraph art critic, explained his visionary, surreal paintings thus: “The actual provides a half-way clue to this work: at its end opens the enchanted distance”. 1938 signalled for Armstrong the beginning of two decades of immense creativity, productivity and innovation with solo exhibitions in 1938, 1945, 1947, 1951 and 1957. His work engages with European and International artistic movements, whilst addressing the political legacy of World War Two and the new threat of the Cold War and nuclear apocalypse. Consistently producing prophetic, dreamlike paintings of emotional and political insight, Armstrong was simultaneously constantly experimenting with his artistic craft. Romantic yet challenging, Armstrong’s works speak to the universal through the language of the individual.
Bringing together exceptional paintings from important private collections, some of which have never before been seen on the market, John Armstrong: Paintings 1938-1958 presents a unique vision of an extraordinary artist.