Gwilym Prichard - Welsh artist of painterly form

Gwilym Prichard  - or Pri(t)chard as he signed his work in his earlier life - is much less well recognised than some of his contemporary Welsh artists from the same post war period.

For me one of the absolute joys of being a Fine Art dealer is that I can indulge my passion for art on a daily basis by sourcing and purchasing the work that I personally enjoy. It matters little to me if a particular artist has been 'over looked' by the mainstream Art community , and indeed I see it as a distinct advantage when looking to find new gems. The early work of Gwilym Prichard is perhaps one such example. He is well known in Wales but much less so elsewhere and I am always interested to hear from private clients who have his work from the 1950s and 1960s and are considering selling. I buy his work because it resonates with me emotionally, it has such vibrancy in texture and palette, yet communicates the bleak Anglesey landscape in a way that is hard to find anywhere else. 

As a child my sister and I would visit Anglesey on a regular basis to see 'Uncle Ivor' and to explore the wildlife of North and South Stack , watch the rock climbers navigate the cliffs and to search for Adders and Bee orchids on the sand dunes. They were , from my recollections, days of extreme weather and I recall being burnt from the sun and drowned by the cold rain on the bleak hills. I had , at that time, no knowledge of anyone called Gwilym Prichard and no knowledge of how he was recording my childhood memories at exactly the same time that I was visiting the places he painted. Penmon Priory was a regular subject of his work and often depicted Puffin Island in the background. Actually the bulk of his work was, for sometime focused in a triangle formed by Pentraeth, Penmon and Beaumaris  and it was while painting in this area that he really matured as an artist.These were also familiar places to me and I guess that is why his work has such a hold on me . But it is not just the subjects that are important but his painterly style and use of thick slabs of palette - knife and sweeping brush stroke to convey the boulders , buildings and beauty of his native land. In fact his colour and block work reminds me of de Stael.

Gwilym Pritchard was born in 1931 and would keep the spelling of his surname with the 't' until the 1980s when finding that his Great Grandfather had been a Prichard - without the 't'. He had a brother Arthur, who was also a talented artist and he married his childhood sweetheart Claudia Williams who is yet another talented Welsh artist. They lived in Anglesey for much of their early life and it was here , and the images of the local landscape, that gave Prichard the notoriety he deserved. He taught at the local secondary school for 11 years and managed to paint in his spare time building up a steady patronage.

He built up strong ties with leading galleries and was a regular exhibitor from the late 1950's with Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales , Bangor Art Festival and notably with Howard Roberts Gallery, Cardiff for a decade between 1958 - 1969.

 In 1956, when private galleries were rare outside London, Howard Roberts established his gallery in the Welsh capital. Roberts  was born in Cardiff attended Cardiff College of Art, and taught art at Tiverton High School before returning to the Principality and opening what was to become Wales' most successful commercial gallery. It concentrated mainly as one would expect, on Welsh art but also showed many British artists who included Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Graham Sutherland, Prunella Clough,  and Bridget Riley. Welsh artists exhibited included Augustus John, Morland Lewis and Alfred Jones. The gallery was also a considerable force in developing the careers of Kyffin Williams, John Elwyn, Ernest Zobole and Will Roberts amongst many.

However, by 1970, expenditure on new premises, competition from other galleries and rising rents forced the gallery's closure. The work shown above dates from the early 1960s and has a Howard Roberts Gallery label fixed verso. Enquires about this work are welcomed so do not hesitate to contact us here at Blondes Fine Art.