ref: dBw Sep 2-30 2006 DORSEFRAME GALLERY Wilhelmina Barns-Graham BACK






First solo show ever seen in Somerset by important St Ives artist.


Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004) produced a remarkable number of prints in her final years. When she died in early 2004 at the age of 91 she had amassed a collection of over 45 images made since 1998. Coinciding with Somerset Art Weeks, this exhibition comprises some of the choicest and most representative examples of prints made since 1998, and is complemented by a selection of contemporaneous small paintings. These are all for sale.


1998 to 2003 was one of the most productive periods for Barns-Graham. For sheer colour and energy the paintings and prints from this time are unsurpassed by her peers –  eg Terry Frost, John Hoyland, Bert Irwin.. This production was driven by an urgency to get things done, a spirit of feeling which is not untypical in artists in their later years. Barns-Graham had a supreme knowledge of colour and how to use it. These prints are wondrously alive works in which colours sing and forms dance. Many were produced in suites or series, which played with the arrangement of sets of screens and colours. Screenprinting allowed her a flexibility to create variations without losing the integrity of the original designs. These prints reveal the playful nature of the artist.


Barns-Graham worked in collaboration with Carol Robertson and Robert Adam of Graal Press, who offered her the technical know-how with ground breaking techniques in screenprinting.  Their ability to translate Barns-Graham's sense of colour and brush marks to screen fully captured her painting style. "That the spontaneity and apparent effortlessness… retained in the prints Barns-Graham makes with Robertson and Adam is testimony to the innovative way in which they work together." (Lynne Green 'W.Barns-Graham: A Studio Life, p.268, 2001)


VENUE : Dorseframe Pictures, 1 Coles Lane, South Petherton,  Somerset TA13 5AF

Exhibition Dates : 2 – 30 September 2006

Hours : Mon – Fri 10.00am – 5.00pm;   Sat 10.00am – 1.00pm; 

NB  during Somerset Art Weeks (9-24 September)   Mon – Sat 10.00am – 5.00pm     

    For further information please contact Geoffrey Bertram

 t   01823 413388     e





For Editors:

Born in 1912 Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was a key participant of the St Ives Group (that included Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, to name but a few), and its contribution to English modernism in the 1940s and 1950s.  She had moved to St Ives in 1940 and, while dividing her time since the 1960s between Cornwall and St Andrews, lived there until she died in early 2004.  She received several honorary doctorates and was awarded a CBE for her services to art in 2001.


She exhibited regularly throughout her career, and was to be rediscovered by new audiences during her final decade. Since 1991 key exhibitions in London and at the Tate St Ives, as well as two hugely successful national public gallery touring shows, re-established her position at the forefront of modernist British painting. Her work is found in most public collections around the UK.


An important monograph of her life and work, 'W Barns-Graham : A Studio Life' by Lynne Green, was published by Lund Humphries in 2001. A catalogue raisonée of her prints is currently being prepared by Ann Gunn of St. Andrews University, to be published by Lund Humphries in October 2007.


Barns-Graham's legacy will live on through the management of her work by the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust. The Trust was created by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in her lifetime, and came into full effect following her death In January 2004. The principal aims of the Trust are: to foster, protect and promote the reputation of Wilhelmina Bams-Graham; to advance the knowledge of the life and work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham through exhibitions, research and publications; to create an archive of key works of art and papers; to support and inspire young artists. For further information on the Trust and its activities please email

White Circle I, 2003, screenprint, edition of 70,  57 x 57 cm

Summer Yellow, 1999, screenprint, edition of 75, 54.5 x 74 cm

Millennium Series Red II, 2000, screenprint, edition of 75, 24 x 30 cm