Artwork of the Month as selected by Academicians
Midi in the Vineyards, Languedoc
Reginald Gammon RWA
Oil on canvas, 67 x 98 cm
This work, by Reg Gammon RWA, whom I knew well, was made in the 1980s at the height of his painting career, and shown in his first major exhibition at the RWA in 1985. It was purchased for the Permanent Collection then.
Reg and his family moved to Somerset in 1962 and he became an oil painter after a long life, firstly as a freelance black & white illustrator for various country journals involving much distance cycling! During the 2nd World War this work finished and Reg & family turned to farming, as his grandfather had done, in the Black Mountain area in Wales. They were there for twenty years but the drawing and watercolours developed, and Reg experienced the hard life that many of his subjects endured. He was a true countryman, and recorded always the people & places he loved.
Now in Somerset he fulfilled his vocation by turning into a painter with all those memories to call on and visits to Ireland & Brittany. Reg was elected to the Academy in 1966, and played a major part in its life. I have chosen this picture as he liked Gauguin’s work; this can be seen in the statuesque figures looking inwards but balanced by the shrubbery to the right. I can see too something of Van Gogh’s early work in the potato fields. Reg used a quite muted palette in these earlier paintings but went on to experiment with acid greens, yellows, and startling pinks, resulting in green cows (in Devon) in pink fields or Bretons with Blue Cow!
His 100th Birthday celebration at the RWA was a very memorable day. He sat in his wheel-chair, obviously enjoying himself, surrounded by many, many, admirers, & my last sight of him was of his face covered with lipstick, but eyes still twinkling, as we ladies said “goodbye” to a warm, very kind man.
Written and selected by Dawn Sidoli RWA