"Windermere" ~ Edward Burra, 1973.
Pencil and watercolour, 100.3 x 68 cm.
Edward Burra (1905-1976) was an English painter, draughtsman, and printmaker, best known for his depictions of the urban underworld, black culture and the Harlem scene of the 1930s.
Burra travelled widely, and many influences are at play in his works, which were usually watercolour on a large scale in strong colours. During World War Two, when it became impossible to travel, he also became involved in designing scenery and costumes for ballet (including Miracle in the Gorbals) and became very successful in that field.
In 2011, the BBC aired an hour-long documentary “I Never Tell Anybody Anything: The Life and Art of Edward Burra”, wherein art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon chronicles the life of Burra. The documentary follows Burra from his native town of Rye to the Paris nightlife spots he loved and the jazz clubs of prohibition-era New York and the war-torn landscapes of the Spanish Civil War and back to England during the Blitz. It shows how Burra’s increasingly disturbing and surreal work deepened and matured as he experienced at first hand some of the most tragic events of the century. Through letters and interviews with those who knew him, it presents a portrait of an English eccentric.