Monday, April 27, 2015

George Henry: The "Glasgow Boy" Years

George Henry (1858–1943) was a prominent member of a group of Scottish painters known as the Glasgow Boys. The "Boys" were strongly influenced by the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage whose works were exhibited in London 1878-82. Glasgow Boys paintings tended to be toned-down, featuring earth colors such as browns, ochres, faded greens and such -- in line with what northern Europe offered in dreary terms of light and foliage for a good part of the year.

Not much biographical information on Henry was on the Internet when I drafted this post, so make do with this brief Wikipedia entry. More can be found in Roger Billcliffe's book about the Glasgow Boys.

I find Henry and most other "Boys" interesting because their works show us that there was a lot more going on in the art world of the 1880s than the Impressionism and post-impressionism in France that histories of art still focus on.


Brig o' Turk - 1882

Eyemouth - 1883
Two fairly early landscapes.

Noon - 1885
One of Henry's best-known paintings.

The Hedgecutter - 1886

Autumn - 1888
The brushwork, color usage and clutter suggests the influence of E.A. Hornell, a fellow Glasgow Boy. They spent a year and a half in Japan around 1894 and jointly painted "The Druids" (see below).

Galloway Landscape - 1889
This somewhat distorted and decorative painting is considered significant by art historians and critics because of its use of modernist elements.

Barr, Ayreshire - 1891
Another painting with more modernist influence than usual for Henry. By the early 1900s he reverted to a more traditional painting style, even eliminating Glasgow Boys elements.

Poppies - 1891

Rowans - 1895
Henry and Hornell made paintings featuring young girls. Henry did this for a comparatively short time, but the latter part of Hornell's career was largely based on such subject matter.

The Druids: Bringing in the Mistletoe - 1890
A work jointly painted with Hornell. This painting has always fascinated me, so I visit it whenever I'm in Glasgow.

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