Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Found in an Attic!

Evelyn Dunbar, “Self-portrait”, oil on canvas,
© The Artist’s Estate, courtesy of Liss Llewellyn Fine Art 
Here's an amazing artist you may never have heard of! Evelyn Dunbar (1906-1960) was the only woman salaried by the British War Artists' Advisory Committee during WWII. Dunbar studied at the Royal College of Art and became a professional mural artist. During her war service she painted and sketched images of the home front, particularly focusing on the Women's Land Army

Dunbar exhibited extensively during her lifetime, but her 'name' practically disappeared after her death. Wikipedia says, "Dunbar was modest regarding her achievements...which has led to some neglect of her work until recent years." (Tip: don't be modest!) In 2013 a relative saw a piece by Dunbar being valued on BBC Antiques Roadshow and recalled a stash of the artist's work up in the attic: this cache was found to contain over 500 works of art! The discovery doubled the known works of the artist overnight. It's a fascinating story, and to read more and see examples of this artist's stunning and original work click the various links above or go to this Hyperallergic article.

This artist's lively yet accurate drawing and her unusual way of looking at the everyday world both make her work as captivating to the general population as to the art cognoscenti. She is truly a master, albeit one you may have never heard of before. Organizer of a current Dunbar retrospective exhibition, Pallant House Gallery curator Katy Norris, says, "I hope that by drawing attention to Dunbar's achievements...she will be viewed more equally with her male peers."