Joseph Edward SOUTHALL
(Nottingham 1861 - Birmingham 1944)
Visitors to an Exhibition: Design for a Poster
Signed with the artist’s monogram and dated JES / 1919 at the lower left.
Inscribed EXHIBNBY A BIRMINGHAM GROUP / GASKIN, GERE, PAYNE, SOUTHALL & OTHERS in the upper margin.
Inscribed JUNE 17 TO JULY 5TH– FROM 10 TILL 6, AT GALLERIES OF / ROYAL SOYOF ARTISTS NEW ST. in the lower margin.
857 x 632 mm. (33 3/4 x 24 7/8 in.) [canvas]
Southall continued his studies at the Birmingham School of Art, where he met the artist Arthur Gaskin, who was to become a lifelong friend and confidant. In 1901 he was one of the founder-members of the Society of Painters in Tempera, along with Maxwell Armfield, Walter Crane, Roger Fry, William Holman Hunt and George Frederic Watts. Of these, Southall had perhaps been using the technique the longest, and he continued to do so throughout his career. Among his easel pictures were mythological, romantic, literary and religious subjects, portraits, landscapes and seascapes, while he also received a handful of commissions for mural and fresco decorations. A one-man show at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris in 1910 was a huge success, with over eight hundred pounds worth of pictures sold and several commissions received.
Although Southall’s work as a painter, characterized by a brilliant technique and precise draughtsmanship, was admired by such artists as Edward Burne-Jones (who was something of a mentor to Southall, and a champion of his work) and even Pablo Picasso, by the time of his death in 1944 he had been almost completely forgotten. A memorial retrospective exhibition of his work was held in Birmingham and London in 1945.
Private collection, America.