SPENCER FREDERICK GORE

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Born in Epsom, Surrey, Spencer Gore studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1896 until 1899. He became intricately involved with the Camden Town Group, one of the most influential schools of painting of the era. The group profoundly changed the course of English painting with their willingness to experiment with new techniques; in particular those of the French Post-Impressionists. They took their subject matter from their own lives in urban, modern London. The most senior and prominent member was Gore's trusted friend Walter Sickert, although Spencer Gore was certainly a potent influence both within and outside the group (1). Paul Cézanne openly and generously admitted that Spencer Gore's influence had changed his conception of colour and lightened his palette.(2)



Spencer Gore contributed to the Second Post-Impressionist exhibition, held at the Grafton Gallery in 1912, and was also instrumental in the formation of the London Group in 1913. However, his premature death meant his works were included only in the first London Group exhibition.



In his memoir of his father, Freddie Gore wrote:



I suppose we can safely say that Sickert, Gore and Mathew Smith were great English colourists. What I think should be said is that Gore's very personal colour is something more than a delightful idiosyncrasy, the gift of a subtle and perceptive eye. Those curious violet reds, applied to paths and brickwork, or faces in a London room, are not the familiar purple shadows of Impressionism. The positive vermilion of Letchworth roofs, touches of orange lurking among the green of summer, subtle vibrations of neutrals, always coloured; these ways in which Gore read nature, were closely studied by the other painters of the group because they realised that a serious intelligence was extending the scope of Impressionism.(3)





(1) J.Wood Palmer, Spencer Frederick Gore, The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1955, page 6

(2) Ibid, page 7

(3) Spencer Frederick Gore, Spencer Gore: a Memoir by his Son, Exhibition Catalogue, Anthony d'Offay, London 1974, page 13

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