barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Percy Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)

A Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, ‘Froanna’

America, 1940

Pencil and coloured chalks on blue paper

48.3 x 31 cm

 

This portrait of the artist’s wife Gladys Hoskins (1990-1979), known as Froanna, was made in America where Lewis spent the war years.

The artist bought the distinctive blue paper in a drugstore and the unusual support perhaps inspired his use of coloured chalks. With the exception of the ornate turban, the artist restricts himself to bold lines and a few areas of shading. Nonetheless, he captures a sense of strain and intensity in the sitter, enhanced by the lack of a setting. Lewis was one of the leading British avant-garde artists who explored the lessons of continental modernism.

Purchased with the help of the Art Fund and the MLA/ V&A Purchase Grant Fund in 2006 (No. 2006.3)

 

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