National Museum Cardiff opens John Piper. The Mountains of Wales

The National Museum Cardiff presents John Piper. The Mountains of Wales – Paintings and Drawings from a Private Collection, an exhibition on view 11 Feb–13 May, 2012.


John Piper, The Rise of the Dovey, 1943-44, oil on gessoed canvas mounted on board, private collection. ©T he John Piper Estate

This exhibition showcases an extraordinary private collection of works by John Piper.

Piper lived and worked intermittently in North Wales over a period of around 15 years during the 1940s and ’50s.

His dramatic depictions of the mountains of North Wales provide the subject of this exhibition.

Piper is a major figure in British art of the twentieth century. His work encompasses portraiture, landscape, architectural studies, still life, ceramics and design for stained glass and tapestry.

Piper’s interest in landscape and architecture extended to all areas of Britain, including Snowdonia.

This exhibition presents an outstanding group of views in Snowdonia and places these in context.

The mountains of North Wales provided a great source of inspiration to Piper from the early 1940s to the mid-1950s, during which time he rented two cottages, Pentre and Bodesi, in the Snowdonia area.

Using these as a base, he travelled round this glacial landscape, capturing the rugged beauty of the mountains.

Piper mainly worked outside sketching the mountains and lakes in all seasons and weather conditions. The effect this had on the colours of the rocks played an immense part in his work.

In addition to the effect of light and weather, Piper took a great interest in the geology of the area. Many of the paintings and drawings exhibited here demonstrate the artist’s keen eye for geological detail.

The exhibition has received generous support from the Colwinston Trust, the Paul Mellon Foundation and the Derek Williams Trust.

It is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue by the exhibition curator Melissa Munro, including an essay by David Fraser Jenkins. – www.museumwales.ac.uk

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