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Sombre Sunrise Maggi Hambling


Maggi Hambling Hadleigh, Suffolk 1945 -

Date 1985
Object type drawing
Medium, technique watercolour on paper

40.5 x 51 cm

Inventory number MO.91.16
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

Maggi Hambling earned her fame for her varied and dynamic portraits, first of all the series of the British comedian Max Wall, based on a keen sense of observation. From the mid-’80s she has been involved in reviving a successful English tradition, painting landscapes in her native Suffolk. She returns every July and depicts the sun sink or rise around the mouth of the Orwell. She captures the various positions of the sun in quick succession in watercolour, but the stress is not on the precise rendering of the sight. The sun inundates the scenery with peculiar hues one can only experience at the moments of sunrise or sunset, and this has a liberating effect on the artist’s use of colours.
During her pilgrimages to the estuary, Hambling experiences the two dramatic climaxes of the sun’s path, the birth and death of light. She tries to record this metaphorical feeling, the marvellous physical energies of nature, in the transparency of the colours. She says the viewing of the dawn is similar to a sexual experience, while the dying of the light makes her live down her grief for her mother’s death. The watercolours made on the spot became the basis for the oils painted in the studio later, in which the lyrical emotional experience is replaced by a wild whirl of colours.

Ferenc Tóth


Tóth, Ferenc, A Bryan Montgomery gyűjtemény. Vezető, A Szépművészeti Múzeum gyűjteményei/The Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 3, Szépművészeti Múzeum; The British Council, p. 66-67.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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