Sir Cedric Lockwood Morris, Bt. (1889-1982)
Building upon one of the most iconic subjects explored by 20th-century Modernist artists, the view through a doorway, Morris revisits the fauvist visions of artists such as André Derain (1880–1954) and Henri Matisse (1869–1954)...
In this ethereal later work, Morris returns to the dream-like spaces so often represented in his more youthful works of the early 1920s. Building upon one of the most iconic subjects explored by 20th-century Modernist artists, the view through a doorway, Morris revisits the fauvist visions of artists such as André Derain (1880–1954) and Henri Matisse (1869–1954). However, in the present painting, Morris reinvents these earlier treatments to provide the viewer with an Arcadian vision of the coast. The classicised sculptures adorning the archway serve to reinforce this desired association.
The precise location is at present unknown. In fact, it remains unclear whether this painting represents a particular view or an imagined composite of invented imagery. Visually, there would appear to be certain similarities between the view and the island of Spetses in Greece; however, it is not conclusive whether Morris visited there in 1964. The sculpture that adorns the right side of the painting would appear to represent Saint Catherine, shown holding her wheel, and yet its significance here remains enigmatic. In relation to Morris’s later output, it is more likely that the present view is of a specific place, as his tendencies later in life tend not to stray away from representational painting. During his early career, there are more examples of Morris inventing subject matter and composing works that draw their influence from Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978) and the Surrealists. However, he was an artist fascinated by observation of the natural world, painting what he saw on his many travels abroad. This is indicative of a painter entrenched in reality, albeit an individualised interpretation of it. In this respect, the present work is likely founded upon a particular coastal location, although this still remains obscure.