Two major North Wales artists with international reputations, both seeped in the landscape and people of the region where they live, are exhibiting at the Royal Cambrian Academy in Conwy from June 1 to July 6.
Harry Robertson may never have become an artist but for a prank played by a schoolboy in Manchester. Harry, aged 11, orphaned and living with foster parents, was offered a place at Manchester High School of Art because another student there had accepted a bet to climb over the school wall into the building next door – Strangeways Prison - and expelled. By an extraordinary co-incidence Harry confirmed this story 30 years later when he met the young offender playing tennis in north London.
By the Dee at Rhug
Harry has won many art prizes including the North Wales Open competition and he was shortlisted for Artist of the Year in 2011.
Farmhouse near Nantclwyd
John Baum started his working life helping at his father’s filling station near Pwllheli. But already one of his paintings was hanging on the wall outside his headmaster’s office at the local grammar school (now Ysgol Glan y Mor) inspired by a chapter from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. “I would love to know what happened to that picture,” John said this week. His fascination with the novel has remained with him and on a recent trip to California he was commissioned to paint for a family in Steinbeck country.
Detail of Magic Moments
John’s work can be seen in the permanent collections of the National Library of Wales, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the Geffrye Museum in London. He won first prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1977 and has exhibited at the Tate in Liverpool.
Detail of High Street
Both artists’ works to be seen at the new RCA exhibition demonstrate a realism and a closeness to the people and the landscape among which they both live.