James Arnold Martin, Colosseum, Rome - Mid-20th-century Cubist acrylic painting

An original mid-20th-century acrylic painting, James Arnold Martin Colosseum, Rome.

A fantastically striking acrylic on board in James Arnold Martin's characteristic modern style, combining elements of Cubism and Op art. Martin has created a unique evocation of Italy and its ancient architecture, with Rome's Colosseum suggested at the right-hand side. In a nod to artistic tradition, which places the human figure in relation to the landscape, Martin also includes the suggestion of a female form emerging in the centre. The painting as a whole is executed in a very attractive palette, which features popular mid-century tones of teal and duck-egg blue. The acrylic has been layered such that the surface layer of paint has a translucency in places, creating a sense of visual texture and depth.

Overall in good condition. There is slight craquelure to some of the edges of the black sections of paint. This is possibly a desired effect given that the craquelure appears consistently to the edges of the black arches, and by slightly exposing the yellow paint below, creates a sense of shadowing and depth. There are slight marks to the far outer edges of the board, from previous framing, including two small paint losses to the left edge, as shown. The upper right edge of the board is cut very slightly irregularly, with a small nick to the board verso, which does not affect the front.
51cm x 76.2cm.

This painting forms part of a collection of works we have by post-war British artist James Arnold Martin (1931-2015).James Arnold Martin was a modern Renaissance Man: a prolific painter and draughtsman, beloved teacher, ceramicist, potter and theatre designer. Born in Southsea, he moved with his family to Lincolnshire during the Blitz. He went on serve as a British spy in Moscow, learning Russian, then trained as a teacher at Goldsmith’s College, London, specialising in art and French. He taught in various schools around London, and taught languages at his home in Balham, South London. He was an active supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust, setting up and running Speakers' Corner at the trust in the 1980s.James Martin’s artwork is striking and original. His wide-ranging works include architectural subjects and landscapes, as well as more playful scenes such as funfairs, zoos and circuses. He combines elements of abstraction, Op Art and Cubism, often in playful bright colour palettes or the hard lines of graphic design, while also presenting those subjects from unusual perspectives in fresh and engaging ways.

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Product code: JK-654

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