Sir Winston Churchill: His Life And His Paintings Hardcover – Aug 2 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
After Churchill was forced to resign from the WWI British government in 1915 at the age of 40, he took up oils and dived almost completely into painting. Sir Winston certainly didnt experiment much beyond shifting subject matters, but the "painting muse" that supposedly carried him out of his retirement depression seems to have been an overwhelming, transcendent influence on his later years. Published with the full cooperation of Churchills family, this impressive 9" x 12" book offers a large-scale retrospective of the grand statesmans paintings. Its 500 full-color and black and white reproductions and photos are displayed smoothly throughout the glossy pages and described by precisely detailed captions. Coombs, former editor of The Antique Collector and a lifetime fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, provides historical background and political context for the sometimes-vivid oil paintings. Culled from Churchills first days of painting at his Sulley farmhouse (and holidays in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, the French Riviera and the United States), the paintings reflect a sincere interest in the meditative process of art-making, and are reminiscent of Monet, Cézanne and, when Churchill is at his best, perhaps Bonnard. Most are impressionistic landscapes or floral still lifes, along with the occasional portrait, such as one done in 1955 of Sir Winstons wife, Clementine Churchill, and others of various secretaries or political colleagues. The enthusiastic foreword is written by Churchills only surviving child, Mary Soames. Two of Churchills essays seek to explain the impetus behind the political giants second life. As he put it: "We may content ourselves with a joy-ride in a paint-box."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
"Damn good," said art critic Harry S Truman of a 1958 exhibition of Winston Churchill's paintings, and viewers can declaim as they wish on Churchill's artistic skill, thanks to this comprehensive album of his output. Churchill himself was modest and made no pretense to excellence, regarding his hobby as just that, a serene distraction from the pressures of political life. The authors have reprinted Churchill's 1921 article "Painting as a Pastime," in which Churchill extolled amateur painting as a physical activity ("Just to paint is great fun") as much as for its aesthetic satisfaction. He picked up brush and palette in 1915, and his first efforts were indeed no great shakes--though of biographical interest as they depicted his post on the Western Front. But he worked to improve his technique until he could turn out an accomplished landscape, although the human form often eluded him. A chronology and captions explain the paintings' locales, and photographs show Churchill at the easel in this sunny, colorful treasure for the Churchillian set. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While Churchill was a pretty good painter with moments of greatness, the truly interesting aspect of this biography was how the author combined a timeline of what was happening in Churchill's personal and political career with his development as a painter. He went several years where he was unable to produce anything at all, being consumed with War War II and politics. Other years, he was quite prolific.
Coombs has included the complete essays by Churchill on Painting as a Passtime and Hobbies. The full-color plates are very well-done as are the many photos of Churchill painting scattered throughout the book.
If you're looking for a special book for your favorite hobbiest painter, for a Churchill lover, or just a history buff, this would be a good present or addition to your personal library.
Having been to London where we visited Churchill's war rooms, then on to Chartwell, where we viewed his paintings as well as getting a tour of the estate where he spent so much of his time, this book gave me a greater appreciation for his life, his work and the wit & wisdom that he revealed throughout. Beautiful book!
People might think of Churchill as a famous political leader, but what he will be remembered centuries later, might be more on his writings about the history of English civilization and British people.
Yet what he really wanted to be admired and to pursue, in his first million years up in the heaven, is to study secrets of painting and to enjoy the creation of artworks from his own hands than from commanding troops and teaming with self-interests-driven-allies at a special period to fight and to destroy buildings, cities, enemies and lives.
In this book, you will be surprised to see, how dedicated, if not how good that Churchill was to painting, and his quick sketches, such as a pig is even better than his days long oil paintings ! Maybe his rhetorical words also a sort of simple and forceful painting sketches, that he had practiced in his leisure time and during forced to retirement periods.
Wish you enjoy another dimension of this extraodinary man in addition to his sword, his pen, his rhetorical lectures and his unforgivable writings.Sir Winston Churchill: His Life and His Paintings
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