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In Storage

Alfred Wallis (1885-1942)

Boat on the Sea

Wallis had worked as a merchant seaman, fisherman and marine stores dealer. He brought his family to St Ives in 1890. When his wife died in 1922 he took up painting 'for company'. Wallis used whatever marine or household paint he could find and worked mainly on pieces of card. Much of his work was based on memories and events from his working life. Having had no lessons in art Wallis arranged his pictures as he wished, often ignoring perspective.

Wallis was discovered by the artists Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood during a visit to St Ives in 1928. His naive and primitive work made a profound impression on them and they invited him to exhibit with them in London in 1929. The influence of Wallis can be seen in Ben Nicholson's drawings of St Ives. Despite this recognition Wallis sold few of his paintings and died in a workhouse near Penzance.

Mediumoil on card
Dimensions486mm x 572mm
Acquisition NumberSOTAG : 2002/19
Credit LineBequeathed in 2002 by Dr David Brown and Liza Brown