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Glyn Philpot

[ Exhibition )

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A black man standing in profile facing right, wearing a mustard yellow top against a red and yellow background.

Glyn Philpot, Portrait of Henry Thomas, 1934-5, oil on canvas, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

The first major exhibition in over 35 years to explore the work of British painter and sculptor, Glyn Philpot (1884 – 1937).

Philpot began his career as a highly sought-after portrait painter, achieving international recognition when he won the 1913 Carnegie Prize. He painted influential figures from Siegfried Sassoon to the Duchess of Westminster and King Fuad of Egypt.

His early work, inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and Old Masters, led him to be elected as one of the youngest Royal Academicians. Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1905, he began exploring more religious subjects. Through these works he expressed his devout faith, although these themes were unpopular amongst his contemporaries.

His dramatic change of style in the 1930s, abandoning tradition for the clean lines of Art Deco modernism, led to newspaper headlines declaring that he had ‘gone Picasso’.

His sensitive portrayal of young men, often of his friends and lovers, and his Jamaican servant Henry Thomas, include some of the most powerful depictions of black sitters in Modern British art.

Paintings of ballet dancers from the Ballet Russes, circus performers and cabaret clubs in Berlin and Paris reveal a striking modern and international painter whose work has been overlooked.