David Jones occupies a unique place in twentieth-century British art, and is often called the greatest painter-poet since William Blake. A selection of work from Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales
outstanding collection of works by the artist David Jones (1985-1974): Paintings and Watercolours are on display at National Museum Cardiff from 5 November 2011 4 March 2012.
Amgueddfa Cymru has the principal public collection of Joness work, but as he worked primarily in watercolour, these pictures are not on permanent display due to the fragile nature of watercolours. This exhibition focuses on his work in this medium, and will be followed by another (March - July) which examines Jones engravings, book illustrations, and inscriptions.
Like William Blake, David Jones was a Londoner, born at Brockley, in north Kent. However he was the son of a Welsh father and an English mother, and the landscape, language, and myths of Wales were powerful influences upon his art.
Jones had art school training, interrupted by service in the trenches during the First World War. In 1921 he became a pupil of the artist-craftsman Eric Gill, and lived with the Gill family for much of the 1920s.
In 1924 Gill moved to Capel-y-ffin in the Black Mountains where Jones developed a vision of the Breconshire landscape that has its roots in the art of Cézanne. He was a member of the modernist exhibiting group, the 7 & 5, from 1928 to 1935.
Jones was permanently damaged by the war, which inspired his first great poem In Parenthesis (1937). He had severe nervous breakdowns in 1932 and 1947, and often found it difficult to work. His later paintings are uniquely personal, being richly worked and full of allusions to theology, history and legend.
On Friday 2 December at 1pm, join Oliver Fairclough, Keeper of Art, Amgueddfa Cymru, for Changing Attitudes: David Jones at the National Museum, 1932 2000. David Jones is now seen as one of the great artists and poets of twentieth century, but the first works to enter the collection were grudgingly accepted gifts.
Oliver Fairclough, Keeper of Art, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales, said, The new galleries for art at National Museum Cardiff are enabling us to explore some of the infrequently seen areas of the collection, and I hope visitors will share my excitement in the beauty and emotional complexity of Joness work revealed in this display.