Paul Feiler, ‘Oval & Blue’, 1963-1964, Osborne Samuel

Signature: Signed, titled & dated verso

This horizontal landscape-evoking composition comprises the recurring oval shape at top right and a stack of roughly painted, even scribbled, rectangles. It recalls William Scott’s tactile, mainly still life derived, abstracts throughout this period though the dominance of colour-inflected whites is unmistakeably Feiler’s own.
The preference for white has, as its heart, childhood memories of white capped central European mountains, Steer writing in 1990 how “the liberated spaces and the whiteness of his Cornish paintings come equally from climbing and skiing as a boy in the Alps”. The blue and sandy ochre tints of ‘Oval and Blue’ betrays, though, Cornish coastal source material. As well as with Scott, his work coheres to with that of his friend Lanyon, sadly in the penultimate year of his life, and Hilton. Like Lanyon, Feiler suffused what on the surface seems an impenetrable painterly graffiti with tantalising landscape glimpses.
‘Oval and Blue’ belongs to the late body of gesturally expressive paintings; in 1964 he abandoned this style for good and subjected his work to a calmer more designed manner in which a long-standing interest in springs and mechanical devices asserts itself. His early acquisition of Kerris, a disused chapel near Lands End, a decade previously afforded Feiler important painting time in Cornwall despite the increasing demands of teaching in Bristol

About Paul Feiler

Anglo-German, 1918-2013, Frankfurt, Germany, based in St. Ives, UK