The Landscape of Welsh Art

Over recent years the art world has witnessed a steady ascendance in the popularity and status of Welsh Artists. Works by renowned painters such as Kyffin Williams, Jack Jones, Kevin Sinnott and Donald McIntyre have taken the auction market by storm, achieving unprecedented interest and selling prices. Recent sales have demonstrated that the demand is not limited to the medium of canvas, with pieces by highly respected Welsh sculptor Peter Nicholas in materials such as fibreglass, bronze, marble and Portland stone collectively realising several thousands at Anthemion Auctions in Cardiff.

In the next Fine Art Sale on the 24th May, Anthemion are fortunate to be able to offer a huge range of works by celebrated Welsh artists. Pictures by Jack Jones, Donald McIntyre, Ceri Richards and Valerie Ganz are joined by works by Mike Jones, John Selway, Frances Richards and John Wright. As well as nudes and figurative sketches from Thomas Rathmell, are paintings by well established artists John Elwyn, E.J Maybery, Arthur Miles and John Knapp Fisher. Also offered in the sale is a vivid depiction of a miner by artist Chris Griffin, in the unusual medium of fibreglass and coaldust.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For all the diversity that is represented by both the leading contemporary Welsh artists, and the established names of the 20th century, a feature that remains unchanging in its popularity is the allure of the Welsh landscape.  Captured in so many different ways, from the country’s mining and industrial heritage, to green valley vistas and rugged coastlines, there is something in the countries physical nature, its very bones, which draws the artist, and fascinates the viewer, time and again.

The skill in the work of an artist such as Jack Jones, whose works are dominated by images of Welsh towns and valleys, is to convey not just the drama of the landscape itself, but something of its legacy and shaping influence on the lives and experience of its inhabitants. At first glance often beguilingly simple in interpretation, his images of streets in Welsh towns incorporate a just respect for the imposing majesty of the stark mountains or industrial landscapes, and the challenges of their environment. At the same time, and in very simple terms, they also somehow capture a sense of the warmth and comradeship, shared history, and singular ordinary encounters, that form the essence of a Welsh community. With Jones’ work in particular, the clever juxtaposition of elemental meets everyday forms part of his unique appeal. The Fine Art Auction on the 24th of May at Anthemion features a colourful seaside scene by Jones, depicting figures in the foreground with a lighthouse at sea, and is estimated to realise between £600-800.

Among the works by renowned artist Donald McIntyre, the images that have consistently attracted the most ardent buyers at Anthemion are his dramatic coastlines and seascapes. The stunning ocean hues and vibrant, saturated coastal flora in his painting  ”Incoming Tide” transported auction viewers to a windswept rugged scene, full of life and movement, and went on to sell at auction for £5,300. The spring fine art sale features another of his coastal works, with figures walking on a sandy beach; estimated to realise between £1800 and £2000.

Another oil painting to feature in May’s auction, by Welsh artist John Elwyn, entitled “cottages on a lane”, assaults the senses appealingly in a blaze of bright oranges and yellows. Depending on your interpretation of the picture, the apparently steep rocky lane depicted is awash with dappled sunlight, illuminating simple stone cottages before disappearing into the shade of conifers in the distance, and the hint of a more brooding mountain landscape beyond. The work is expected to realise between £3,000 and £5,000 at auction.

Following the auction, these stunning pieces will find new homes and audiences, but in the art world, and indeed as a nation, our fascination with the unique landscape of our country will be undiminished.

For any queries regarding Welsh Art or Artists, or upcoming auctions at Anthemion, please contact the auction house on 02920 473444 or anthemions@aol.com