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John Wells - Topsail (Framed)


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  • 1950
  • Etching
  • Signed Printer's Proof
  • Framed in Pewter
  • 14.5cm x 12.5cm (Image) 31cm x 27cm (Framed)

The artist wrote in a letter to the compiler dated 14 January 1988 that these works were titled after they were made and that they were abstract exercises in the techniques of line engraving. When asked if the network of fine lines related in any way to Barbara Hepworth's sculpture, the artist replied that they related more to the work of Naum Gabo, who lived in Cornwall from 1939 to 1946.

This print is also in the Tate collection.

John Wells

Wells was born in London in 1907, and trained as a doctor at University College Hospital. He learned to paint at evening classes at Saint Martin's School of Art. From 1936 to 1945, he worked as a General Practitioner for the Isles of Scilly. After the Second World War he decided to pursue a full-time career as an artist. At that time he settled in Newlyn, Cornwall and became closely involved with the renowned artistic community at the nearby town of St. Ives.

He was the co-founder of the Crypt Group and the Penwith Society of artists. He worked with Barbara Hepworth from 1950 to 1951 and exhibited regularly in London, the provinces and abroad. His work is represented in the Tate Gallery. His works of geometric abstraction were influenced by Gabo, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.

Wells died on July 28, 2000 on the Penwith peninsula, at the southwest tip of Cornwall.

An exhibition held at the Tate St Ives in 2007, celebrated the centenary of his birth.