L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, January 21, 2018

In a fractured light - male portraits by Glyn Philpot

Head of a Man, 1919.
Portrait of Frank Schurtes.
Head of Negro, Heroic scale (Henry Thomas), 1937.
Man in Black (Robert Allerton), 1913.
Martyn Coleman, 1936.
Balthazar (Henry Thomas), 1929.
Gerald Heard, circa 1915.
Man in White, 1933.
Head of a Man, circa 1924.
Portrait of a Young Man, circa 1920.
Portrait of a Black Youth, Seated Half Length, Wearing a Pullover.
Italian Soldier No.2, circa 1918.
Portrait of Glen Byam Shaw as Laertes, 1934-5.
Black Man and Hibiscus (Henry Thomas), 1932.
André Eglevsky (dancer), 1937.
A Young Breton, 1917.
Portrait of a Young Man.
Head of a Negro (Henry Thomas), circa 1935.
Portrait of a Man in Black.
Head of a Young Man Seen in Profile.
Siegfried Sassoon, 1917.
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn, Lord Hailes, 1934.
Portrait of Henry Thomas.
Study of a Young Man.
The Skyscraper, 1916.
Frank Coombs, 1930.
Portrait of a Young Man.
Italian Soldier, 1922.

And, lastly, these two. From 1931-2, portraits of Julien Zaire - aka "Tom Whiskey - from Martinique, a performer at the Tegada nightclub in Paris. I think both of these are quite marvelous, and I wish I could find out more information on the sitter.


Self-Portrait, 1908.

Glyn Warren Philpot, RA (5 October 1884, London – 16 December 1937), English painter and sculptor. Born in the Clapham district of London - though his family moved to Kent shortly afterwards - he studied at the Lambeth School of Art - now known as City and Guilds of London Art School - and at the Académie Julian in Paris. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1904 and was elected to that establishment in 1923. A member of the International Society from 1913, the same year he was awarded the gold medal at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, he went on to make a comfortable living through portraiture, which enabled him to travel and to become known for his generosity to other artists. Philpot had converted to Catholicism at an early age, but he didn't appear to be overly troubled by his own homosexuality. In the early Thirties, he suddenly and rather radically changed his painting style, developing a much looser technique, a lighter palette. His narrowing subject matter - predominantly male nudes and portraits of young men, portraits of young black men - was also a clearer expression of his sexuality. Two of his more ambitious pieces were considered too controversial in this regard and were withdrawn from the Royal Academy.The resulting scandal hurt his career and caused some financial hardship, but he eventually recovered, showing frequently and successfully at the end of his life. Always known as a charming and amiable individual, he was nevertheless engaged for over a decade in what appears to have been a fairly toxic relationship with the unstable painter Vivian Forbes. Philpot died of a stroke at the age of fifty-three. Forbes took sleeping pills and committed suicide the day after Philpot's funeral.

Vivian Forbes, 1934.


  1. I study these and painting my own pieces I see how the shades of colors, the light and dark, make the piece. It's all about how the light hit the subject. These are some amazing pieces. I think I'm drawn to the baroque because of my inability to differentiate between so many colors. I love contrast. It all makes me appreciate even more what you do. Keep going, man! I hope to see you as one of the greats of our time!

  2. Excellent post, filled with surprises. My initial exposure to his work was the frieze painted for the dining room of Sir Philip Sasoon at Port Lympne --clunky stuff which was a very far cry from what you've presented here. He was clearly a skilled portrait artist. If I could own just one it would be Portrait of an Man c 1920.

    1. His work has never much interested me in the past. But it's rather nice to take another look at something I'd previously dismissed - something that just doesn't fit with "what I like" - and then to discover something I actually find quite worthy. Gives me hope that my sensibilities aren't - quite - as ossified as I'd imagined. : )