Leslie Manasseh previews the upcoming Dulwich Gallery exhibition of works by the multi-talented Edward Bawden
Edward Bawden was one of the most celebrated British artists of the last century.
Best known as a commercial illustrator and print maker, he was also a fine artist, producing many works in different media and capturing some of the main events of his time.
Whether as a graphic designer for the advertising industry, an official war artist in France and North Africa, a portrait painter of middle eastern and African people, or simply recording everyday life in Britain, Edward Bawden made a huge contribution to the visual arts.
Dulwich Picture Gallery will present a major retrospective of his work from 23 May until 9 September. It will be the first to look at every aspect of his 60-year career and will showcase previously unseen works and as 18 rarely seen war portraits.
Featuring 170 works, the exhibition includes Bawden’s signature linocuts alongside watercolours and engravings.
Bawden belonged to a circle of artists including Eric Ravilious and Paul Nash. Echoes of their work can be seen in this collection.
But his innovative approach to print-making using multiple blocks, overlapping colours and stippling effects underline his individual contribution to the development of this medium.
His work is bold and linear yet delicate and humorous. Monumental linocuts for companies like Shell and Fortnum & Mason contrast with lacy watercolours of landscapes and gardens.
Bawden was a creator of imaginary worlds, inspired by stories, travel and the everyday world. His work will make a really enjoyable summer exhibition.
Edward Bawden, 23 May – 9 September 2018
Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21 7AD, 020 8299 8710.