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Peter Humphrey (1913-2001):
Study for Bomb damaged houses, Coventry, c.1942
Pencil on paper
7 x 8 ¾ in (17.8 x 22.3 cm)
Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 140.
Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 140, page 181.
Peter Humphrey was a founding member of the Coventry Art circle along with Harry Norman. The aim was to display avant garde art. CAC had links with Surrealist painters in Birmingham, and had high-level art critics among their members and developed styles based on cubism, abstraction and other modern movements. In his later years Peter Humphrey developed a formal 'system' based on various lines cutting segments of a circle.
A review in the Birmingham Post (7 March 1938) described CAC as follows ‘…the organisation serves as a rallying point for a number of people…who feel an urge towards some sort of artistic expression……a prolific contributor, P. Humphries [sic]…the artist has been concerned to minimise the solid appearance of things and insist upon a free interpretation of their rhythmic unity. Art of this kind may tend to become highly mannered, but Mr. Humphries has so much skill and so many styles at his command that monotony is wholly absent from his work. His “Moreton Morrall Farm” and “Breeze”.
Between 1949 and 1960 he exhibited over 30 works at Art Circle exhibitions held at the Herbert. followed by a solo exhibition at The Herbert in 1964. 'Abstract Landscape' was a typical title of his early works. In 1951 he had a work accepted for exhibition with the London Group.
We are grateful to Ron Clarke and Debby Hay for assistance.