Home Architect John Craxton to Mesher – Artforum International

John Craxton to Mesher – Artforum International

by godlove4241
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“Drawn to Light” traces the exceptional career of John Craxton (1922-2009), an English painter in love with the Aegean Sea. Craxton’s teenage years spent studying Picasso and drawing nudes in Paris were cut short by war in 1939, when he was summoned to black England. Poor Physical Health Halted His Conscription Prospects: In Ink and Watercolor poet in landscape, 1941, he takes shape next to an oak whose branches, transformed into a machine of war, stab the leaves while legions of prisoners of war parade nearby; reading Blake under a bomber moon, the artist is a sitting duck for Hitler’s Luftwaffe. self-portrait1946–47, captures Craxton’s ecstasy of reaching Athens in 1946: Captured with semi-cubist lines against a turquoise background, the artist radiates life.

The fruits of his new life on Poros, the Greek island where Craxton spent the next decade, are a series of portraits, including Dancing Sailor I1950, a gouache on paper, and The butcher, 1964–66, a pencil drawing of a Cretan meat merchant. Inspired by the beautiful regulars of the taverns of Poros, these portraits allow Craxton to experiment with styles such as pointillism and cubism, and to articulate his homosexuality, which remained illegal in England until 1967.

Craxton savored the effects of light on the Aegean Sea. In Two figures and setting sun, 1952-1967, a bather rests next to an octopus fisherman who crushes his catch to soften it. The waters and mountains of Hydra surround these figures, whose outlines glow yellow and red as the setting sun pulsates. Craxton took fifteen years to paint this Arcadian tribute to his adopted land, which hauntingly combines his love of Greek antiquity and English romanticism.

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