Posted - 07-06-2017

#LoveArt / Collections / News and Events

#LoveArt – Andrew Green

Another month has flown by. Here is our former Librarian Andrew Green’s final choice as part of our #LoveArt campaign.

This week he has chosen  ‘Pontypridd at night’ by Esther Grainger

“Like many women artists of the past Esther Grainger was valued during her lifetime for many things, but not primarily for her work as an artist.

She was born in Cardiff in 1912, trained at Cardiff School or Art between 1928 and 1934, and became an art and craft teacher in Pontypridd.  She had a strong social conscience and became associated with the ‘settlement’ in the town – one of a series of settlements in ‘special areas’ of high unemployment during the interwar period to offer adults learning opportunities.  Esther’s job as tutor was to promote the practice and exhibition of art in and around Pontypridd.  She met Cedric Morris, Heinz Koppel, Arthur Giardelli and many other painters.  After the War she worked as an art administrator and teacher.

Few of Esther Grainger’s works are now in public collections.  ‘Pontypridd at night’, the only one in the National Library, is a semi-abstract oil painting of great originality.  It’s painted on rough board, not canvas.  Streets, houses and chapels nestle around one another for comfort in a rough bowl or circle.  Artificial lights from streetlamps and houses find an echo in the moon and stars, above the dark surrounding hills.  In the foreground, in front of a flagstoned path leading down to the streets, is a large bush, flaring a brilliant orange-red, as if on fire.

Another fine painting, ‘Sunflower tops’, is in Cyfarthfa Castle, Merthyr Tydfil.  Who knows what other works by Esther Grainger await rediscovery?”

Andrew Green

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