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Record Image
Hodgkins, Frances Mary (New Zealand, b.1869, d.1947), Artist
Boy with a Boat
Circa 1927?
oil on canvas
545 x 515mm sight size
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1970 with funds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society
Painted just before she left Manchester and combining two perspectives – the boy himself, and the landscape behind him tipped up to fill the picture plane – this work seems to point the way towards the still life/landscapes which Frances would develop in the 1930s. She spent the following winter in France, painting hard to ensure she had enough work for her first big London show since 1923. She wrote to Lucy Wertheim from Martigues: ‘I hope…my Show will make things right for me – I am putting my Shirt on paint, canvas, models & frames – if the beastly thing is not a success Luce, I shall go up in the air not come down again…. My present work is consistent – I shall sink or swim by it – I think swim…'(1) The exhibition opened at the Claridge Gallery in April 1928 with this solemn and compelling work, priced at 15 guineas and titled Boy and Boat. The Times critic wrote: ‘In her own way, she, too, like Cézanne, is engaged in trying to “make of Impressionism something like the old masters”.’ He described her as ‘an original artist’, admired her skill as a colourist and found her work ‘extremely sympathetic’.(2) It was a very positive review, the show sold reasonably well and she was indeed back in the swim.

1.Letter to Lucy Wertheim, 13 February 1928, Gill, p 406
2. Quoted in E. H. McCormick, Portrait of Frances Hodgkins, pp 106-107

not on view

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