Manchester Art Gallery

Wynford Dewhurst: Manchester’s Monet

The first retrospective of the English impressionist painter and art theorist Wynford Dewhurst since his death in 1941.

Manchester Art Gallery
Friday 9 December 2016–Sunday 23 April 2017

Free

A controversial figure on the Anglo-French art scene at the turn of the twentieth century, Wynford Dewhurst is most famous for his 1908 work The Picnic, in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery. He was born in Manchester in 1864 and began his career studying law. He moved to Paris at the relatively advanced age of 27 to train as an artist, returning to France throughout his life to paint in the valleys of the Seine and the Creuse in the style of Claude Monet, who became his principal mentor. This exhibition brings together a large selection of Dewhurst’s shimmering paintings with archival photographs and documents to reintroduce the painter to his native city.

His views have the archetypal Impressionist quality of appearing in the gallery like windows on to a sunlit world, the purple hills warm and inviting in the distance.

Dewhurst’s pictures take their cue from Monet, though his particular vision is of a dense ether from which cliffs and castles emerge solidly, glowing as if lit from within. Although from Manchester, Dewhurst’s affinity was with French landscape and the bright light of the continent. His views have the archetypal Impressionist quality of appearing in the gallery like windows on to a sunlit world, the purple hills warm and inviting in the distance.

Dewhurst was an art theorist as well as a painter and his 1904 book Impressionist Painting, Its Genesis and Development was the first important British study of Impressionism. The book became notorious for Dewhurst’s insistence that the English landscape tradition, especially the work of John Constable and J. M. W. Turner, was at the root of modern French painting. Dewhurst’s thesis was that, ‘the French artists simply developed a style which was British in its conception.’

The exhibition is brought together by independent curator, Roger Brown and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book, the first monograph to be written on this influential artist and writer.