Sir Roger de Grey PRA (1918 - 1995)
RA Collection: Art
Roger de Grey PRA was best known as a landscape artist. He also created many paintings of his home: Interior/Exterior is a late example. It shows the artist’s studio overlooking a lush garden, with a window stretching across half the painting, acting as an ambiguous frontier between inside and outside space. De Grey presents these two sides of the work as a continuous scene, offering a landscape of the artist’s life. He treats each aspect of the canvas with equal care, with the objects on the table and the foliage in the garden all painted with similar attention.
The righthand side of the canvas gives a glimpse of de Grey’s home studio. It is a subtle reflection of his artistic life: unostentatious, the muted tones of paint pots and artistic equipment almost camouflaging with the background. The simple decoration of the studio contrasts with the frenzy of colourful brushstrokes outside. This presents de Grey’s studio as a place of calm reflection for the artist, while his garden – and the outdoor world more widely – reveals a place of dazzling inspiration and energy. But with a series of vertical wooden beams confusing the transition from inside to outside, the work suggests that the inspiration and act of painting merge into one. De Grey was always started his landscapes in the outdoors before finishing them in his studio; here these two elements of his working practice become a continuous vista, two halves of a whole. On the left, raw inspiration and passion; on the right, quiet contemplation and precision.
The sense of calm and order in de Grey’s studio reflects his organised and meticulous nature. Beyond painting, he was key figure in the history of the Royal Academy in the 20th century, serving as Treasurer, then President across three decades. Under his leadership the Academy flourished, establishing itself as a cultural powerhouse. De Grey was influential in the development of the vibrant exhibition programme, not only involved in the planning of exhibitions but also in the intricate details, such as deciding wall colours of the galleries and designing posters and catalogues. This attention to detail is reflected in the way this work is painted and in the tidy appearance of the studio – a contrast to the workplaces of most artists.
1372 mm x 1820 mm
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