A striking portrait of a man wearing a flat cap and neck scarf, thought to be a Mallorcan fisherman. The painting is unsigned but can be attributed to Michael Gilbery, as it was one of a large collection of works taken from his studio after his death in 2000, which was only recently dispersed by the artist's estate.
Although London-based, Michael Gilbery made several trips to Italy and Mallorca in the late '40s/early '50s with his first wife Adrienne. Most of the paintings he did on these trips were landscapes, so this portrait of a fisherman is quite unusual, as is the composition. It has a dynamic quality to it, unlike most of his other portraits which were usually more formally-posed sitters executed within furnished interiors. In this case Gilbery seems to have managed to capture the energy and character of his subject, despite the fact it is only the man's face we see. Besides the composition, the 'vibrancy' of the painting is further enhanced by the colour palette and bold use of tones Gilbery has used, totally evoking the strong bright Mediterranean sunlight.
The painting is on canvas laid on board, and is in good, clean condition.
Michael Gilbery (originally Goldberg) was born in London in 1913. In 1930, at the age of 17, he had his first painting accepted by the Royal Academy. After leaving school he gained a scholarship to St. Martin's School of Art, and later the Royal College of Art (RCA), where he studied under the likes of Roland Pitchforth, Sir William Rothenstein, and Gilbert Spencer. In 1934 he won the RCA's much-coveted 'Painting Prize'. After leaving college he made a living from portrait commissions, and teaching art, but he also continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the New English Art Club.
In 1951 his work featured in a major 'Festival of Britain' exhibition of Anglo-Jewish artists alongside such luminaries as David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Hans Feibusch, Mark Gertler and William Rothenstein. Like many Jewish people with German-sounding names living in London during the Second World War, he changed his surname from 'Goldberg' to 'Gilbery' in 1939. Michael lived in, or around, West Hampstead for most of his life, and from 1945 he maintained work studios within his homes.
[Provenence: The Michael Gilbery estate]
Michael Gilbery portrait - 'Fisherman'
Dimensions (h x w)
66 x 51cm