Artwork of the Month: October

October's Artwork of the Month has been chosen by Tim Harrisson RWA. He has picked'The Beach, Varengeville, Normandy' by Dan Burden from the RWA Permanent Collection. Tim writes:

'Little is known about the derivation of this painting or the artist, Dan Burden. However the title is a clue. Varengeville-sur-Mer is a village on the Normandy coast. The great cubist artist, Georges Braque is buried in the churchyard. Also in the church there is a stained glass window by Braque depicting the tree of Jesse. Braque was born in La Havre, the second largest city in Normandy and spent the latter part of his working life on the Normandy coast not far from Varengeville.

The geology of the Normandy coast is identical in form and appearance to parts of the southern coast of England: high white chalk cliffs like the Seven Sisters in Sussex laid down in the Cretaceous period some 66 million years ago rising dramatically from a relatively flat pebbly beach.

The light and atmosphere of the Normandy coast inspired the Impressionists. Monet painted a view of the sea from the top of the cliffs at Varengeville above the coastguard’s house. However I feel that Dan Burden’s painting does not owe much to the Impressionist’s endeavour to capture the ever changing patterns of natural light as they move across the surface of things but more to the structural analysis of form developed by Cezanne and the early cubists. Braque believed that an artist experienced beauty  " terms of volume, of line, of mass and through beauty interprets his subjective impression." He also described "Objects shattered into fragments ….as a way of getting closer to the object…fragmentation helped me to establish space and movement in space." I think similar ideas to these were in the forefront of Dan Burden’s mind as he was working on his view of the beach at Varengeville. It is Dan Burden’s search for underlying structure that appeals.'

Dan Burden's painting will be on display on our upstairs landing throughout the month of October.

Tim Harrisson RWA has two works in our Annual Open Exhibition, opening this Sunday 9 October.