15 July 2012
Last updated at 10:33
A major retrospective of works by Christopher Williams, one of Wales’ best known artists in the first half of the 20th Century, is being hosted by the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth
Exhibition curator Professor Robert Meyrick, the head of the School of Art at Aberystwyth University, said Williams "was a significant artist who has been greatly overlooked"
Professor Meyrick said, "A hundred years ago Welsh politician and historian, Owen M. Edwards, prophesied that one day Wales 'would wake up to realise' the 'greatness' of Christopher Williams. This exhibition will try to answer who was Christopher Williams, wherein lies his ‘greatness’, and why is it that we have yet to ‘wake up’ to it?’
Williams was well regarded in his day for his imposing classical, biblical and patriotic paintings
One of Williams' most well-known works is The Awakening of Wales
Williams also painted works based on legends from the Mabinogion and was a notable portrait artist, painting figures such as David Lloyd George
Though Williams frequently ventured out to the continent and beyond to paint landscapes and iconic buildings he kept coming back to the Welsh coast, whose light and atmosphere he captured in a great number of spontaneous, experimental sketches
Professor Meyrick added: "Some of his paintings such as Wales Awakes and Blodeuwedd may be familiar to people but my favourite paintings are those of his wife and family at the beach in Llangrannog or Barmouth"
The exhibition at the National Library’s Gregynog Gallery was officially opened on Saturday by artist and former Pontypridd MP Kim Howells
Mr Howells said of Williams: "He was one of David Lloyd George's favourite painters, a portraitist in demand by the high and mighty, but his landscapes tell a story of an artist who was watching carefully the experiments and creative departures of his contemporaries. This exhibition will tell us much, not only about Christopher Williams, the painter and humanitarian from Maesteg, but about the world of British and European art that he inhabited."
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