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Hargrave Fine Art Home Early Northants Artists Other Artists Exhibitions Contact Us Sir Alfred East - St Ives, Cornwall

The Image

An etching measuring 12" x 15". Signed with monogram in the plate. Published by Vervielfaltigende Kunst (The Society for Art), Vienna.

About the Artist

Sir Alfred East (1844-1913) is one of the most significant figures in English landscape painting in the decades before the First World War. His landscapes caught the mood of times in which there was a growing concern at the rapidity of social change and its impact upon the countryside. He was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, and worked in his brother’s boot and shoe factory as a ‘clicker’ before becoming a sales representative for the company in Glasgow. There he attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. In his late thirties he decided to become a professional artist and in 1882 went to study at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he was much influenced by the Barbizon School of landscape artists. Around 1884 he and his family moved from Glasgow to North London where they lived until his death. In 1888 he was commissioned to spend six months in Japan by the Fine Art Society. He arrived in Nagasaki in March 1889 and became the first English artist to make Japan the field of an extensive and detailed study in paint.

Sir Alfred East

St Ives, Cornwall

In March 1890, 104 of his paintings of Japanese landscapes and people were exhibited at the Fine Art Society in London. East continued to travel widely and painted regularly in France, Italy, Spain and North Africa. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1899, having been a regular exhibitor since 1883. In 1906 he was elected President of the Royal Society of British Artists, a position he held until his death. In 1910 he received a knighthood, and a banquet was held in his honour in his native town of Kettering. The Alfred East Gallery, designed by J. A. Gotch, was opened in Kettering on 31 July 1913 by Lord Spencer. East died two months later, but not before he had been elected to full membership of the Royal Academy. A national newspaper commented that it was a ‘fitting end to a brilliant career’.

The Subject

St Ives, Cornwall. During the early 20th century, leading art journals around the world published original etchings, lithographs and woodcuts on a regular basis. Some of the greatest prints from this era were commissioned and published by The Studio in London, Pan in Germany, The Print Connoisseur in America, and Vervielfaltigende Kunst in Vienna. Vervielfaltigende Kunst issued its first original etching in 1871, and continued to publish masterworks by Continental and English artists for sixty years. More internationally focused and less conservative than most of its rival publishers, Vervielfaltigende Kunst became a spearhead for the vibrant experiments of Symbolist, Expressionist and Secessionist artists during the initial decades of the 20th century. Its superb printing techniques were second to none. As a result, Vervielfaltigende Kunst is now regarded as one of the most important fine art publishers of the early 20th century and its prints are eagerly sought after.