This miniature masterpiece by Clifford Hall is as fresh as if it were painted yesterday.
Clifford Eric Martin Hall was born in Wandsworth. In the 1920s he studied at Richmond Art School under Charles Wheeler and at Putney Art School under Stanley Anderson. From 1925 to 1927 attended the Royal Academy schools, where he won a Landseer Scholarship and started accepting portrait commissions which together funded his studies and lodgings. He lived in Paris from 1928, studying with cubist painter André Lhote, and sharing a studio in Malakoff with Edwin John, son of Augustus John.
Hall returned to England in the 1930s. From 1940, he painted Quentin Crisp three times. In May 1941, an exhibition of Clifford Hall's war drawings, entitled Bombs On Chelsea, was held at the Leger Gallery in Old Bond Street, London, W1. Some of his drawings from that period depicting the effects of air raids are in the Imperial War Museum collection. Hall's work was also part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1948 Summer Olympics.
Hall exhibited with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the New English Art Club, the Royal Society of British Artists, the London Group, the National Society of Painters, Sculptors and Printmakers and the Chelsea Art Society.Hall had a one-man exhibition at Helen Lessore's Beaux Arts Gallery in 1935 and, after the end of the Second World War, at Roland, Browse and Delbanco (1946, 1947, 1950), the Anthony dOffay Gallery, the Ashgrove Gallery, the Redfern Gallery, Goupil Gallery, and the Leicester Galleries (1952). A memorial exhibition was held at the Belgrave Gallery in 1977. A further three shows of Hall's work were held at the Belgrave Gallery in 1982, 1989 and 1997.
Our oil on mahogany panel measures 21.5 x 13 cm. The overall framed size is 30 x 22 cm.
I was lucky enough to receive information about the painting from the artist's son, who found a record of the painting in his father's archives: "March 25, 1968 (I) Repainted the figure and the beach (coloured girl). This painting has, I think, an air of vulgarity about it but, so far, I cannot say I mind that. I think it has movement and this is one of the qualities I wanted (...)"
Our picture is a detail study for a larger painting, of which I will be happy to email you a photo for reference.
With great thanks to Geraint Hall, son of the artist, for his help with the description.
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