Richard Eurich, R.A., N.E.A.C. (1903-1992)
Sunset over the Isle of Wight
signed and dated ‘R. Eurich 66’ (lower right) oil on canvas, laid on board
13 x 20 ¾ in. (33.1 x 52.8 cm.)
frame 20 x 27⅝ in. (50.8 x 70.1 cm.)
Painted in the heart of the 1960s, Sunset over the Isle of Wight was produced by Richard Eurich during a rich period of colour experimentation. Living in Dibden Purlieu, near Hythe, almost every day he would drive with his wife to the coast to draw and walk, aided by tea from a thermos. It is thought that the present work was inspired by one such trip.
A sunset of kaleidoscopic glory - almost dazzling with its dashes of red, orange, yellow, pink, vermillion green and blue - one can feel the glowing warmth of the sinking evening sun, accompanied by a cool sea breeze blowing in from the sea. The white horses of breaking waves intersect the centre of the composition, drawing the viewer’s eye into the distance, as Eurich must have once gazed too. From the lush trees in the foreground, one can see that it is the height of summer, the glowing red sky promising fine weather for the day ahead.
The time of day is the the exact opposite to Guido Reni’s L’Aurora (cat. 1). Indeed, the ancient Roman goddess of night, Nox, could be approaching in her chariot, with galaxies of stars flowing in her wake. It is interesting to contrast the two different approaches - both profoundly effective in such different ways.
The son of a professor of forensic medicine, Eurich trained under Professor Henry Tonks at the Slade until 1926. His first show was held at the Goupil Gallery in 1929, and arranged with the assistance of Eric Gill and Sir Edward Marsh. Christopher Wood attended the opening, advising the young artist to paint what he loved. Eurich stayed true to his suggestion, and for his illustrious career only painted subject-matter that he enjoyed and found of interest - resulting in works such as Sunset over the Isle of Wight, a life-affirming painting, produced by an artist enjoying one of the most wondrous and spectacular displays of the natural world: the sunset.
I am grateful to Philippa Bambach, the daughter of Richard Eurich, for examining photographs of this picture. Philippa is compiling a catalogue raisonné of the artist (in which Sunset over the Isle of Wight will be included), and can be contacted via her website www.richardeurich.co.uk.