The work of Thomas Monnington bridges the apparent divide between the abstract and the representational, which is the reason why this underrated artist aroused so much critical hostility.Monnington, whose drawings and paintings are on view at the Fine Art Society, was born in 1902 and studied at the Slade under the the great Henry Tonks from 1918 to 1923. His early work is the stuff of late Romanticism and in 1925 he was commissioned to paint a mural in is style for St Stephen’s Hall in the Palace of Westminster. By the end of the 1940s, however, Monnington had utterly changed his approach and embarked on a career as a painter of geometric abstracts. His election as president of the Royal Academy in 1966 can be seen as an attempt by the RA to temper its reactionary image, as Monnington was perceived as the acceptable face of Progressiveness. However, as this fascinating show demonstrates, his exquisite abstracts are, in fact, a direct development from a fascination with the purity of line which stems form his early training and an innate love of the Italian Renaissance.
The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street, London W1. To August 1st