|12/08/2014, Sims Gallery.
The End of an Era...
|An important selling exhibition
at the Crypt gallery in St Ives (6th to 26th September) marks the end of
an era for both artist and organiser. The artist, Robert Borlase Smart,
was probably the single-most important figure in the town's long history
of art. After settling in St Ives after WWI, Borlase went on to become a
key figure in the town, not only as one of the most influential and
innovative artists, but also as an organiser, council member and verbose
supporter of the young modern artists whose arrival on the art scene
was resisted by many of the traditional artists. As his great friend and
fellow St Ives artist, Leonard Fuller, so aptly said "he was St
|The exhibition features an
impressive 100 works, from large oils to small works on paper, most of
which come from the collection of Michael and Diana Smart, the artist's
son and grand-daughter. The idea for the exhibition was born around a
year ago, following the sad passing of Diana's parents, Michael and
Tricia. Diana wanted to provide a lasting tribute to Borlase, and
following discussions with Leon Suddaby, the renowned art dealer who has
been a major figure in Cornish art circles since the late 1970's, the
concept of a book and selling exhibition was agreed. Diana was
particularly keen that the works would be dispersed far and wide, to
homes and galleries, to be appreciated by new owners for years to come.
Several of the works have been exhibited at major institutions such as
the Royal Academy, and most are available to purchase at very affordable
prices. The show provides the astute collector with a unique opportunity
to acquire an original work from the family collection. A special
edition of 250 posters, each numbered and stamped, will also be
available on a first-come-first-served basis at only £20 each. A
range of greeting cards will also be available.
|To underline the importance of
the artist, a new book Borlase Smart a life in Art
(ISBN 9781291959079) will be launched, with copies on offer throughout
the show at the promotional price of £12 (RRP £19.99). The
book includes contributions from Diana Smart, Marion Whybrow, David
Tovey, reproductions of all 100 works and a fascinating reappraisal of
the artist's oeuvre.
|Organiser Leon Suddaby, of the
Sims Gallery, will be well known to many in Cornish art circles. Leon
came to Cornwall in the late 1970's and was one of a very small number
of art dealers to re-launch traditional Newlyn and St Ives art, which
until then had lost momentum and was not considered commercial. The
rest, as they say, is history. Leon ran galleries in Penzance, St Ives
and Marazion, and once famously took up a challenge from his great
friend, Terry Frost, who he went on to represent in one of the most
successful artist-dealer relationships in the annals of Cornish art
history. Leon, who is to retire after the exhibition commented, My
meeting with Diana was fateful, not only did it provide us with a unique
opportunity to promote St Ives' most influential artist and disperse the
family collection of works, but it also provided me with a rather
special way of bowing out of the art business. St Ives, in particular,
has a special place in my heart, and having staged many exhibitions in
the town over the years, I would consider this exhibition to be the
best, the most resonant, and my swansong.
|In keeping with the Borlase Smart
philosophy, a select number of works by his great friends, the artist
couple Leonard Fuller and Marjorie Mostyn will be available, together
with a selection of works painted in tribute to Borlase by the leading
contemporary St Ives artist, Eric Ward.
|Borlase Smart a life in
Art. Crypt Gallery, St Ives, 6th to 26th September 2014. Open daily from
10am until late.
|Contact: Leon Suddaby (Sims
Gallery): 01278 663337 - firstname.lastname@example.org