Post 9 (Odin): 1930’s graphic artist Graham Sutherland

Posted: May 8, 2012 by Odin in Uncategorized

Graham Sutherland was born in England in 1903 and trained as a printmaker during the 1920’s. He started painting in the early thirties following the collapse of the print market after the Great Depression. His first commercial work were posters for Shell, London Transport and The Orient Line during the 30’s.

London Transport poster 1933

Ad for Shell 1932

Ad for London Transport 1932

During this time he also started to produce glassware and fabric designs, but his focus early on was landscapes. His feeling of rural serenity lent itself beautifully to posters for the companies he worked for, capturing the allure of rural surrounds. By the later 1930’s his paintings had turned more surreal and he focused more on fine arts than graphic arts until the 1940’s when he became a chief designer of war posters for Britain in World War II.

Whiterose plate for Foley China 1932

In his later life he turned more to portraiture and religious works but his most prolific period was the 1930’s and 1940’s when his poster designs and fine art inspired a love of nature and rural surrounds. It was his later exploration of surrealism that enabled him to fully express his perception of nature.

“Surrealism helped me to realise that forms which interested me existed already in nature, and were waiting for me to find them”.

Ad for Shell 1937

Graham Sutherland’s styles spanned a number of styles from new romantic, to surreal to iconography, yet his feeling was always of an appreciation of nature and form.



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