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Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988)

Rivieres Tiedes (Mediterranee)

Colquhoun encountered Surrealism in Paris in the early 1930s and was influenced by Salvador Dali's double images, where the same part of a picture could be read as different objects. She was a member of the British Surrealist group from 1936 to 1940. Colquhoun shared the Surrealist interest in the occult and alchemy; magical theories were an important element in her life and work.

Rivieres Tiedes is based on a church Colquhoun saw in Corsica. It is a mysterious and disturbing painting: snake-like rivulets of coloured liquid seep from four closed doors. Colquhoun wrote that her paintings at this time had erotic themes and the title comes from a poem about fading love by Mallarme. It has been suggested the coloured fluids may hint at an alchemical transformation occurring inside the building.

Medium oil on wood
Date 1939
Dimensions 911mm x 612mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 1977/46
Credit Line Purchased in 1977 through the Frederick William Smith Bequest Fund