Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Kathleen Guthrie (1905 - 1981)   BIOGRAPHY

Abstract with wild flowers circa 1950
Unmounted (ref: 712)

Watercolour, gouache and collage, 7 1/4 x 8 3/4 in. (18.5 x 22 cm.)


Provenance: the artistís estate.

Flowers were a subject which pre-occupied Guthrie from the mid 1930's to the late 1960's.  During the 1960's she produced a series of "Flowerscapes" in a Neo Romantic vien.

Framed in a hand coloured glazed mount.

Trained at the Slade School of Art under Myles Tonks, and married to fellow painter Robin Guthrie, Kathleen Guthrieís pre-war work is firmly figurative. Her abstract painting dates to the post-war period, after she had divorced Guthrie and married the painter Cecil Stephenson  in 1941. Although clearly influenced by Stephenson, she retained a distinctive luminous, soft palette, and her brushwork remained very consistent, avoiding the hard edges and sometimes vigorous impasto of his work. A solo exhibition of her work was held at the Drian Gallery in London in 1966, in which these works are likely to have been included.

We are grateful to Marjorie Guthrie for her assistance.

Kathleen Guthrie (1905 - 1981)

Kathleen Guthrie (1905-1981) studied at the Slade School under Henry Tonks, (1922-24) and at the Royal College of Art (1925).  At the Slade she met Robin Guthrie (1902-1971) whom she married in 1927.   In 1930 Robin Guthrie and Rodney Burn (1899-1984), a fellow student from the Slade, were invited, on the recommendation of Tonks, to go to America and become co-directors of the Boston School of Fine Art. This two year appointment allowed Kathleen to see the New England countryside, especially around Wilmington, Vermont, where they spent the summer vacations. In 1932 she had a solo show of figure paintings and landscapes at Bostonís Stace Home Gallery.  

From the 1930ís onwards Kathleen exhibited widely, especially at The New English Art Club and The Royal Academy.  Her work from this period, which consisted mostly of still lifes, landscapes and genre scenes, was painted in a whimsical figurative style.

In 1941, following the breakdown of her marriage to Robin Guthrie, Kathleen married Cecil Stephenson, a member of the group of constructivist artists led by Ben Nicholson.  From this point on her work moved increasingly towards abstraction. In the 1960ís she embarked on her Camelot Series, bold, hard-edged compositions of contrasting forms arranged as pure fields of colour.  These formed the main body of work exhibited in 1963 at the New End Gallery and her retrospective at the Drian Galleries in 1966.  

In the mid 1960's Kathleen was introduced to silk screen printing and become one the most accomplished practitioners of her generation.  The main body of these works were inspired by paintings from her Camelot series and Stephensonís iconic images including  Egg Tempera 1936 and Egg Tempera 1937.



One man shows:
1932 Grace Horne Gallery, Boston, USA 1947 Little Gallery, Piccadilly, London 1951 Kalman Gallery, Manchester
1963 New End Gallery, Hampstead, London 1966 Drian Gallery, London 1968 The Art Gallery, Brighton
1968/69 Trentham Gallery, Emsworth, Hampshire 1970 Forge Gallery, Cookham, Middlesex
1972 Erica Bourne Gallery, Golders Green, London 1974 Camden Arts Centre, Finchley, London 1977 Coach House Gallery, Guernsey 1977 Centaur Gallery, Highgate, London

Group shows (WIAC, Free Painters, Hampstead Artists Council, London Group, etc.), at: King Street Gallery, Cambridge
AIA Gallery, London
New Vision Centre, London
FBA Gallery, Suffolk Street, London (WIAC & FP)
Gallery Greuze, Paris, France
Pittsburgh, USA
Galleria Numero, Florence (WIAC)

Mixed shows, at:
London Galleries: Goupil Gallery, Royal Academy, National Gallery (war pictures official purchase), London Group, Redfern Gallery, Leicester Galleries, Gimpel Fils, Whitechapel Art Gallery (Guggenheim Award Exhibition), Drian Gallery
Others: Galerie Hervť, Paris; Leicestershire County Hall

See all works by Kathleen Guthrie