James Wood (1889 - 1975)

Colour Wheel, circa 1920

SKU: 2057
Signed on the reverse in pencil and inscribed James Wood, 18 Upper Park Road, Hampstead PRI 6840
Watercolour over pen and ink, diameter: 11 in. (28 cm.)

Height – 0cm x Width – cm


Literature: Tate Etc, issue 7, summer 2006, “Every Work of Art is a Child of its Time…”

Throughout his artistic and literary career Jas Wood sought to define
beauty. With fellow authors C. K Ogden and I. A. Richards he wrote The
Foundation of Aesthetics (1922) and following this Colour Harmony, in
which he explored colour as a language in its own right. He had a deep
admiration for Kandinsky and at this time owned an important early work
by the artist.

This painting was featured in Adrian Glew’s article on the influence of Kandinsky on British Art:

Whilst most of these artists moved
on to different ends – Nevinson would launch the Futurist manifesto
with Marinette several months later – the most specific, enduring, yet
least known influence of Kandinsky on British artists at that time was
on James Wood.  He had absorbed the lessons on colour theory,
particularly those establishing correspondences between colour and
musical tones, when studying at Percyval-Hart’s art school in Paris in
1909, …. . These views were mirrored in Wood’s own paintings, where
the colour correspondences serve specific functions and where the image
vibrates and resonates beyond the canvas

A related canvas by Wood is in the collection of the Yale Centre for British Art

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James Wood
1889 - 1975

Painter, draughtsman, writer and aesthete, born in Southport, Lancashire. From 1908-11 he read history at Cambridge University, then in Paris, after studying etching, pursued painting with Percyval Tudor-Hart before going to Munich. During World War I he was in the army and Royal Flying Corps, later working on battleship camouflage. Among Wood’s writings after World War I were The Foundations of Aesthetics, written with C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards. He also wrote on colour harmony, a favourite topic, and in 1926 published New World Vistas, an autobiographical work. From the 1930s Wood became increasingly fascinated by Persian Art; he learn Persian and subsequently became art adviser to the Persian government. His own paintings were influenced by Kandinsky, and he showed at Leicester and Zwemmer Galleries in solo exhibitions. After 1955 he rarely exhibited, but painted several portraits of Cambridge Academics. Throughout the war years Wood lived in a remote cottage above Llantony, Monmouthshire. After the war he lived mainly in his Hampstead house, where his studio was situated, though spent some of his time in his wife’s house in rural Gloucestershire with occasional visits to Llantony. Wood was married to a painter, Elisabeth Robertson, who had previously been the wife of the artist and writer Humphrey Slater.

In 1980 Blond Fine Art held a retrospective.


SKU: 5745

James Wood (1889 - 1975)

Multi coloured dots, version one, on a grey ground, circa 1920


SKU: 2915

James Wood (1889 - 1975)

Study for Gamekeeper and Cherubs


SKU: 177

James Wood (1889 - 1975)

Self-portrait, c.1918