Following our theme of north eastern artists and art about the north east we visited the DLI Museum to see an exhibition of John Cecil Stephenson’s work entitled “Pioneer of Abstraction”. John Stephenson, 1889-1965, was one of the core modernists of the 1930s and is arguably the most important 20th century artist to come from County Durham. His immediate circle included Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Piet Mondrian, Naun Gabo and Henry Moore. The art critic Herbert Read, another of his circle, said “he was one of the earliest artists in this country to develop a completely abstract style.” This exhibition, highlighting his work from 1933 to 1939 showed his path from figurative painting to abstraction.

It was interesting to see how his work in industry triggered his route to abstract art and many of us were surprised by how much we enjoyed his art, one of the comments being “I would be happy to hang some of these on my walls”. One of our members, Carol Hindmarch, had researched John Cecil Stephenson and was able to talk us through some of the exhibition which added to our enjoyment of the art. The cafe proved a great starting point for coffee and then lunch was pleasant, providing a nice venue for a leisurely chat.

As ever the group is great company and we enjoyed a day out.

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