Exploring the art of Cedric Morris, artist plantsman

Two exhibitions are celebrating in London the achievements of Cedric Morris (1889-1982), the only person of his generation to achieve national stature both as a painter and a plantsman. The exhibition at the Garden Museum, ‘Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman, Paintings of Flowers and Gardens’ (18 April – 22 July 2018), the first museum show of Morris’ work in over 30 years, will show how the two disciplines intertwined to form one of the most remarkable artistic lives of the 20th century. The exhibition will consist of 34 paintings, the majority of which are on loan from private collections and have never been seen in public before. It will also incorporate key institutional loans, including a painting of irises from Tate and a self portrait from the National Portrait Gallery. Morris painted a variety of subjects during his lifetime, making still-­‐lifes, landscapes and portraits, but this exhibition will focus on his paintings of flowers, to illustrate the close relationship between his two practices. Morris painted plants unlike any other artist of his generation. He took flower painting out of the taxonomic sphere into an expressionist mode that was distinctly Modern, echoing surrealism and cubism.

At the same time another exhibition ‘Cedric Morris: Beyond the Garden Wall’ (18 April – 20 July 2018) will showcase over twenty of the finest examples of Morris’ landscape paintings from 1908-1971 at the gallery Philip Mould & Company and will highlight some of Morris’ most significant pieces from his travels abroad. The travel works of Cedric Morris are a body of paintings hitherto unexplored and yet they represent an extensive aspect of his output as an artist. Travel was an integral part of Morris’ artistic life and as a collector and breeder of exotic species of plants and flowers. Morris was the only person of his generation to achieve national stature both as a painter and a plantsman. It was his release from teaching and planting at his Suffolk home for over forty years, Benton End and it enabled him to paint passionately and independently all the while absorbing the vistas and landscapes of foreign lands. The show will provide a unique opportunity to see travel through the lens of an artist whose intuitive understanding of flowers and their forms perfectly translated into the realm of the landscape genre. The two exhibitions will present the first reassessment of Morris’ work in over thirty years and ‘Beyond the Garden Wall’ will demonstrate just how multifaceted the artist was in his approach to subject matter. Two exhaustive fully illustrated catalogue will accompany both exhibitions.




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