The contemporary art world seems to be dominated by ̛̛isms̛̛ - Cubism, Impressionism, Vorticism, Expressionism and others, the artistic equivalent of Maureen Lipman̛̛s ̛̛ologies̛̛. So many artists are trapped in one of these ̛̛isms̛̛ that it is refreshing to see the work of a painter who is totally original and uninfluenced by any movement or style. Christopher Hall is his own man, an artist who has ploughed his furrow since leaving the Slade in 1954, painting scenes in Italy, France, London and Wales without looking over his shoulder to see what his contemporaries were up to. It is this single-mindedness, this spirit of independence, that makes his pictures so original and unique.
In 1955 Christopher visited Italy with a group of friends ending up in the Adriatic town of Recanati where he met his future wife Maria. It was to Recanati that he would return each year to paint the tall buildings with their crumbling facades, the local inhabitants chatting in the squares, the children playing with their pets and all those other incidentals that make such observation of life so interesting. In 1965 Christopher began working in France where he enjoys the strong colours in the landscape, while North Wales has long been a source of inspiration with its quirky buildings and sense of nostalgia. He has always been attracted to the 18th Century buildings in London in areas such as Clerkenwell and Islington, while the northern industrial towns have also attracted his attention.
̛̛Bar Tre Scalini̛̛ and ̛̛Bell Tower, Staffolơ̛ are good examples of Christopher̛̛s work, everyday scenes with ordinary people transformed into poetry by the artist̛̛s brush. He sees details which we take for granted, such as old advertisements for Cynar, trailing telephone wires, drainpipes, or peeling paint and makes them a vital part of the picture. ̛̛The Dudley Arms̛̛ maybe not a subject that most artists would paint, but Christopher discovers a magic in the ordinary and makes his viewers see Harrow Road in a new light. As he says ̛̛For me the important thing is to capture the atmosphere of a place, its mood, its sounds, its smells, its flavour̛̛ and all this he achieves to great effect.
So what adjectives can we use to describe Christopher Hall̛̛s work? Individual, quirky, naive, charming, humerous, beautifully crafted, keenly observed, all of these are certainly true. But there is something more, something which makes it really special - an ability to make us see the world through the eyes of the artist.
Christopher Hall was born in Sussex in 1930.
Elected to Royal Society of British Artists in 1988 and Royal Cambrian Academy in 1994. Christopher regularly exhibits at the Russell Gallery and the Rona Gallery, London.
Works in Public collections: The Arts Council, the Museum of London, the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, the art galleries of Reading and Carmarthan and the Ashmolean.
Christopher died on the 4th of August 2016. View Obituary