Art: Private View Graham Sutherland

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The Independent Culture
Graham Sutherland Crane Kalman Gallery, London SW3

A couple of weeks ago I recommended an exhibition devoted to the etchings of Samuel Palmer and mentioned his influence over a subsequent generation of artists - the so called English "neo romantics". Nowhere was Palmer's influence more pronounced that in the early work of Graham Sutherland. He began life as a printmaker in the Palmer mould, but became one of the most distinctive English painters of his time: a close friend of Francis Bacon, and as such a linking figure between Palmer's 19th century and Bacon's 20th.

There are shades of both amongst the works that make up the Crane Kalman Gallery's Sutherland retrospective: Bacon especially in Palm and House of 1947 and a 1946 Study for a Crucifixion. One associates Palmer with Sutherland's early career but there are signs here that his influence lingered much longer in works such as Twisting Roads of 1976. For all these links to other artists Sutherland was undeniably his own man, albeit one who hasn't perhaps been best served by the passing of the years. This is a smallish show with less than 50 pictures, many of which are minor works, but he was often at his best on a small scale and on the evidence here his reputation is ripe for reassessment.

Graham Sutherland, Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, London SW3 (0171-584 7566) to 5 June

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