'Bassouto Boy'
'Matisse Inspiration'
'Modligliani inspired'


Edward Wolfe RA


Our star painting ‘Bassouto Boy’ (1920) displays characteristics of the French Fauvists, namely Matisse, with use of thick, confident paint strokes that hint at a character that was both a bold explorer and an adventurer. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Edward Wolfe (1897-1982) arrived in London in 1916 and studied at the Slade School of Art and Regents Street Polytechnic. Wolfe’s style is distinct; one can tell that his work is unique to himself, possessing a refined and gentle English style and gaze in subject matter, yet there is an urgency and bold expression to his painting style. As is characteristically evident in his paintings, Wolfe took inspiration from works of Matisse, Gauguin and Modigliani.

Whilst studying at the Slade, Wolfe joined the Omega Workshops, founded by members of the Bloomsbury Group and established in 1913, to provide graphic expression to the Bloomsbury ethos. Wolfe exhibited with the Omega Workshops in 1918. He later had his first solo exhibition in Johannesburg in 1920, subsequently showing extensively in Britain and internationally. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1951 to 1970, and was elected an Associate Member of the Academy in 1967, and a Member in 1972. Currently, Wolfe’s work is held by the Tate Gallery, the Royal Academy, the National Portrait Gallery and various other private and public collections.

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Posted 9 May 2024

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