Private Collection

Barry, Claude Francis

(1883 – 1970)

Victoire Feux dArtifices Moscow, VE Day 9th May 1945.

oil on canvas

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Studio

This was one of three works on the subject Barry painted in St Ives after VE Day 9th May 1945.

There is no evidence that Barry visited Moscow – it is likely that he worked from photographs.  His friend Misomé Piele recalled: when the great Moscow Fireworks was finished, all the pent-up fury and determination[which] had somehow been controlled [by] the delicate balance of true artistic genius ….. seemed to blast the studio asunder…..

Barry’s lifelong exploration of the French Pointillist technique – separating colours into dots which form vibrant tones across the picture surface – make him one of the key exponents of this style in 20th century British Art. In his paintings of the First and Second World Wars, with their trademark searchlights over London, he created a powerful cycle of works, whose poignancy was transformed into joy in his subsequent firework paintings celebrating the end of hostilities.

We are grateful to David Capps and Katie Campbell for assistance.

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THE ARTIST

Barry, Claude Francis

1883 – 1970

Much of Barry’s early life has been pieced together from letters found
in
his briefcase after his death. Also in the briefcase ‘ along with a
very
full passport and his battered old eye-shade ‘ was an unpublished
manuscript
on painting. This is the source of his quoted pronouncements
on life and
art.

1883 Claude Francis Barry born in England to British parents
1885 His
mother dies when he is two years old
1897 Goes to Harrow, leaves after
two years due to a nervous breakdown
1899 Travels to Italy with a doctor
– a drawing and painting tour
1900 Returns to England where Sir Alfred
East R.A tutors Barry
1906 First paintings accepted at Royal Academy.
Joins Royal Society of
British Artists
Exhibits at Royal Society of
Scottish Artists
Exhibits at Salon Des Artistes Francais
1909 Has a
daughter, Kathleen; 1910 Son Rupert is born; 1915 Second
daughter Sheila is
born
1915 R.A submissions show shift from narrative to
landscape
1916 Tutored by Frank Brangwyn. Barry begins
etching
1917 Exhibits etchings with Royal Society of Scottish
Artists
1922 Leaves family in England and travels in France and Italy to

concentrate on etching
Exhibits at Paris Salon throughout 1920s and
1930s
Awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals for his etchings in France
and Italy
Queen Mary, Neville Chamberlain and Mussolini are patrons of
Barry’s work
1927 Marries second wife Violet Gwendolyn
Pretyman
1939 Returns to St. Ives after storing
his etching plates in Milan
1940 Joins St. Ives Arts Club and befriends
Hepworth and Nicholson
Works in Alfred East’s old studio on Porthmeor
beach
Returns to oil painting
1943 Paints wartime “blitz
paintings” in pointillist technique
1944 A US bomb explodes in Milan
destroying all his etching plates
1945 Holds last exhibition in St.
Ives and moves to Jersey
1946 Inherits title- third baronet of St.
Leonard’s Hill, Berkshire and
Keiss Castle, Caithnessshire
1957
Second wife dies of cancer
1960s Barry moves in with friend Tom Skinner
and his family in Jersey
1968 Stops working and moves into a nursing home
in Kent
1970 Dies and leaves his remaining works to Tom Skinner

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