Lydia Corbett – paintings

Margaret Lovell D.LITT, FRBS, RWA – bronze sculpture

Inner Vision

 

at David Simon Contemporary, 37 High Street, CASTLE CARY, BA7 7AP

3 – 30 March 2019


For the launch of David Simon Contemporary’s second gallery space, a new premises in Castle Cary, Somerset, this major solo exhibition of paintings by Lydia Corbett includes her latest series of both oil paintings and watercolours with ink. In her 85th year, many of her new paintings have a sense of looking back, both on her own painting practice as well as the model / painter relationship that she had with Pablo Picasso in the 1950s. Through the medium of oils, Corbett has found a bold voice, an enlightenment that enriches her language of expression. Accompanying this show is an exhibition of bronze sculptures by Dr Margaret Lovell. This eminent, internationally acclaimed sculptor has brought together a retrospective collection of contemporary head forms, which she first developed in the 1960s, demonstrating the diverse range of her stylistic approach within this oeuvre. This impressive combination of two artists showing together for the first time makes for an extraordinarily bold and enthralling exhibition.

 

 

 

37 High Street   Castle Cary   Somerset

 

 

White Still Life
oil on canvas
60 x 75cm

 

 

The Studio

oil and mixed media on panel
80 x 65cm

 

 

The Offering
oil on canvas
92 x 133cm

 

 

Byzantine Lady with Pot

watercolour with ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

Hildegarde in

Idar-Oberstein

watercolour with ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

 

 

Wildflowers Music

watercolour with ink

50 x 40cm

 

The Red Room with

a View
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 50cm

 

 

 

Still Life, Anemones, Provence

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

 

The Lovers with Pears

watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 50cm

 

 

The Apple Tree
oil on panel
51 x 36cm

 

 

At Albert House

oil on board
62 x 91cm

 

 

 

Girl in Green

oil on canvas
92 x 61cm

 

 

 

Sylvette Barefoot

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

 

Nudes with Chinese Lanterns

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Jacob's Ladder

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

Naked Girls in Sweet Peas

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

 

The Creation of Adam
watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Sylvette with Pumpkin

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

 

Inner Peace

oil, charcoal & gold leaf on panel
62 x 40cm

 

Camaret Courtyard
oil on canvas
61 x 46cm

 

Bremen Sylvette
oil & charcoal on panel

86 x 66cm

 

 

Pink Jug

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Women and Children

watercolour and ink on paper
34 x 25cm

 

The Light at St Petroc

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Love in Eden
oil on panel

35 x 26cm

 

 

Adam and Eve and

the Snake
oil on panel

31 x 26cm

 

 

 

Chased from Paradise
oil on panel

30 x 21cm

 

 

 

 

On the Gondola

oil on panel
51 x 41cm

 

Ladies with Two Horses

oil & charcoal on panel
50 x 40cm

 

 

A Man and Two Horses

oil on panel
50 x 40cm

 

 

 

Meditations on St Francis
 

Explosion
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm
 

 

 

Openings
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Death, Another Beginning
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

St Francis and St Clare
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Praise
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Manifestation
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Receiving
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Sister Clare & the Dove
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

Benevolence
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Reflection
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Deepening
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Direction
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

Benediction
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

A Vision
watercolour and ink on paper
45 x 36cm

 

 

A Perfect Joy
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 32cm

 

 

Presence
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 32cm

 

 

Liberation
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 32cm

 

Emptying
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 32cm

 

Companions
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 32cm

 

 

Temptation
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 32cm

 

Lydia Corbett, née Sylvette David, is famous for being one of Picasso’s major subjects in the Spaniard’s later period. During the early 1950’s, when the nineteen-year-old young French woman knew and posed for the great man, Picasso produced drawings, paintings and cut metal sculptures inspired by her.

 

Corbett is also a painter in her own right, her work popular and commercially successful because – rather than in spite of – being so inevitably influenced by cubist style. There is a poetic charm and richness all of her own in Corbett’s work which is expressed across the three media forms of watercolour, oil painting and ceramics. The watercolours are decorative and illustrational, evoking the whimsy, fantasy and poetry of Chagall’s style whilst in the more robust and iconic oils such as ‘Bremen Sylvette’, ‘Sylvette and Vase’ and ‘Cameret Courtyard’ Picasso is unmistakably recalled. ‘Bremen Sylvette’ notably speaks of Picasso’s later portraits of his last wife Jacqueline Roque, whilst also revealing Sylvette’s trademark ponytail; that fashion innovation that famously influenced Saint-Tropez-based Bridgit Bardot at the time.

 

In addition to her house near Avignon, Lydia is a Devon-based artist with an established reputation as a well-exhibited and collected artist in her own right. Now an octogenarian, Corbett still paints with a creative flourish reconnecting us with a less troubled and more care-free time when classic modern art was still de rigeur and in full throes.

Peter Davies. Writer and Art Critic. January 2019

________________________________________________________________________________

 

Lydia Corbett was born in Paris in 1934 to an influential art dealer based in the Champs Elysees, and his wife, a studio potter. At the age of nineteen Lydia had moved to Vallauris in the south of France with her mother who worked at a pottery studio in the town. It was here that she had a chance encounter with Pablo Picasso nearly sixty years ago, in 1954. Sylvette was chatting with friends while smoking and drinking coffee on one of the terraces of the town’s potteries. Over the wall of the neighbouring studio, Sylvette spotted Picasso holding up one of his pictures. It was a simple image of a young woman with a fringe and a ponytail; it was a portrait of her, executed from memory. One day she knocked on the door of his studio, he was delighted to see her and welcomed her in. ‘I want to paint Sylvette!’, Picasso exclaimed. Sylvette had started to wear her hair in a very unique manner, after her father saw a ballet Greek drama and was enchanted by a woman with a ponytail worn high up on the crown of her head. He told Sylvette that she should wear her hair like this. Sylvette did this and loved it – it was such an unusual look ahead of fashion that lots of people commented upon and it was this feature that caught Picasso’s eye, fascinated by Greek mythology as he was.

‘Picasso was a comic, he liked laughing and joking and behaving like a bit of a clown – a clever one.’ ‘I love to paint figures quickly. He taught me a lot without saying a word’. She would sit for him in an armchair while Picasso painted her in his simple studio, surrounded by many pots. Francoise had left Picasso by this time and he was lost without his wife and two children. He told Sylvette that he found her company as a model of great consolation to him and gave her a portrait of her. She would not accept money to pose, as she realised this would make her obliged to be nude for him. She never posed naked, although he did paint a couple of paintings of her imagined unclothed. Picasso gave Lydia a huge amount of confidence in herself as a painter, although it was not until she was in her forties that she started to paint, once her children had grown.

Corbett moved to England in 1968 where she pursued her own painting career, presenting twelve solo exhibitions in London. In 1991 she exhibited in Japan, and in the United States of America in 2004. In 2014 an exhibition of her watercolours were shown at Theater Bremen, concurrently with a major exhibition of Picasso’s work inspired by her, ‘Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette’ held at the Kunsthalle Bremen. These two exhibitions were the subject of a film produced by ARTE broadcast in England and Germany. Solo exhibitions with David Simon Contemporary 2016 and 2019.

 

 

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