Robert Austin (1895 - 1973)

The Fisherman, 1927, the original copper plate

£8,000

SKU: 1599
Original copper plate, cancelled.

Size:
Height – 0cm
Width – cm

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Studio
Presentation:
framed

Austin’s early plates show an extraordinary sweetness of line and often, as in his large plates of deer, beautifully unified compositions.  There is in the best sense an academic quality about these, very proper in a man who was virtually a pioneer in his his art today.  About 1929 a close study of the German masters of engraving is evident.  But Austin has passed through his probationary stage and is master not only of his technique, in which no English engraver has surpassed him, but also in using his medium in a native, personal way. Already Mr Dodgson had noticed in his work ‘an aftermath of Pre-Raphaelitism…with its harking back to the past and its wealth of realistic detail.’   

Austin’s latest plates are contemporary in subject.  At the same time his interest in Millais, the Millais of book-illustrations, is explicit.  Surely this strain, at once homely, intimate and romantic, is at the centre of the tradition of English art.  Austin’s line remains clear: his tone is given by a number of short flicks and shadings.  He is thus nearer in technique to the fifteenth-century German engravers than to Durer or Lucas van Leyden. In drawing and composition there is nothing archaic. Of recent years he has produced three or four plates regularly each year.  Of these one or two commonly represent new treatments of subjects previously treated in a rather different way.  He is fascinated with certain subjects, bells, stairs, kneeling figures, weathered wood.But he also advances to new subjects; in 1936 two very fine portraits and in 1937 the Young Mother.

Extract from The English Print, Basil Gray, Adam and Charles Black 1937, on whose cover Austin’s Young Mother featured:

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THE ARTIST

Robert Austin
Robert
Austin
1895 - 1973

Printmaker and draughtsman, born in Leicester. He studied at the School of Art there and at the Royal College of Art, 1914-16 and 1919-22, winning the Rome Scholarship for engraving in the latter year. He taught engraving at the Royal College of Art, 1927-44, becoming Professor in the Department of Graphic Design, 1948-55. Showed with RWS, of which he was a member and President; RE, of which he was a member; and the RA, to which he was elected in 1949. Austin was a meticulous craftsman-engraver and a vigorous draughtsman, as his series of drawings of Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and ballooning activities done during World War II shows. The Tate Gallery holds his work.

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, organised an exhibition of his work in 1980.

More recently he was the subject of two shows at the Fine Art Society plc (2001 and 2002), the latter organised in conjunction with Liss Fine Art Ltd.

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