Harry Barr - Watercolour Artist

Harry Barr: Watercolours

Arts Review, Vol 20, No 4, April 2nd, 2023

Harry Barr, born 1896, is one of those delightful people who are always occupied at some constructive activity or another and often simultaneously at several. After an impoverished childhood in Whitechapel, he trained as a teacher specialising in advanced drawing and chemistry; illustrated books; volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps and was invalided out; returned to teaching; studied at Westminster School of Art under Sickert; showed with a group which included Bomberg, Nina Hamnett, Raymond Duncan and Elliott Seabrook; trained as a Physical Education instructor; became a liaison officer for a group of hosiery importers, so that much of his time was passed in Poland and Czechoslovakia; hatmaker; fabric designer; and in 1939 began to paint watercolours.

This show is one particular group of his watercolours - land- and sea-scapes, and is being held at the same time as a similar exhibition in Moscow. The watercolours fall into three different categories - the narrow, nervous detailed drawings of houses, pier and fishing-boat; the beautiful, free turner-like watercolour all swirling water and sky, of for example, Rickmansworth Canal; and most attractive of all, the extraordinarily Japanese paintings of Brighton under the Rain; Winter in Regent's Park; and Sussex landscape. These will hold their own against the best, past and present, that British watercolours can offer.

Max Wykes-Joyce

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