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Backcloth

Backcloth

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (designed)

  • Date:

    1964 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hugo, Jean, born 1894 - died 1984 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted linen cloth

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Friends of the Museum of the Performing Arts

  • Museum number:

    S.111-2010

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The French artist Jean Hugo (1894-1984) produced this as one of a set of six canvases he painted for the Shakespeare Festival Exhibition, organised by the ballet critic Richard Buckle in Stratford-upon-Avon. Opened by Prince Phillip on 23 April 1964, the exhibition celebrated the quatercentenary of Shakespeare's birth and aimed to portray the world of Tudor England as it may have appeared to Shakespeare, but it was criticised for elements of gimmickry, a confusing mixture of styles, an exhibition guide that was hard to follow, and Buckle's extravagance. Nevertheless, Hugo's canvases depict Stratford in the understated, tranquil and lyrical style to which Buckle was so attracted.

Jean Hugo was born in Paris the great-grandson of the poet and novelist Victor Hugo. He was a painter, illustrator, theatre designer and author, whose artistic career spanned the 20th century and whose work brought him into contact with many of the most influential artistic figures of the 20th century including Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Paul Elouard, Francis Poulenc, Max Jacob, Cecil Beaton and many others.

Physical description

Linen cloth painted in portrait format with an Elizabethan knot-garden scene and view of Stratford-upon-Avon; pink-orange sunset sky, a blue cloud painted with an enormous brush, a church, two half-timbered houses and 6 trees in full leaf but in autumnal colours. The garden is enclosed with hedgerows, and within the garden are two Elizabethan gardeners and one gentleman leaning on his stick, watching the others work. Brass eyelets all the way round, approximately 22cm apart. Selvedges top and bottom but no border, the right and left hand edges turned under and held together by the eyelets. Probably stretched and painted before being taken off the stretcher. Several sheets of newspaper dated February and March 1964 attached verso, probably the result of the cloth being painted on newspaper laid on the floor. Fourth of a set of six cloths.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (designed)

Date

1964 (painted)

Artist/maker

Hugo, Jean, born 1894 - died 1984 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Painted linen cloth

Marks and inscriptions

With label attached printed: 'Archer, Cowley & Co. Ltd. / Removals & Storage - Overseas Removals / Oxford. Inscribed: '9.10.65 / Richard Buckle Esq / 6 Lge Canvases / 4/6'

Dimensions

Height: 412.0 cm, Width: 520.0 cm

Object history note

.

Descriptive line

Stage cloth designed by Jean Hugo for Shakespeare Quatercentenary Exhibition at Stratford-upon-Avon, organised by Richard Buckle. Painted linen cloth.

Materials

Paint; Cotton (textile)

Techniques

Priming; Painting (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Sunset; Knot gardens

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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