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 Newton Haydn Stubbing  (1921 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: landscape, still life, semi-abstraction

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Newton Haydn Stubbing
An example of work by Newton Haydn Stubbing
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The British-born artist, Newton Haydn Stubbing, who lived in Spain after World War II, was profoundly influenced by the prehistoric cave paintings at Altamira. Their ritualistic, hand-painted images led him to abandon his brushes, and for twenty years to apply paint to canvas directly with his hands.

These early works, which he called "Ceremonials" and "Rituals" bear some kinship with the Abstract Expressionist movement but, like the cave paintings, evoke sensations of mystery and magic. Some are like vortices of light, outlined by handprints. Others suggest human or animal-like forms, as when the artist, after traveling in the American Southwest, painted a series of images inspired by the Native American "Trickster" legends.

He was based in New York City from 1958 to 1963, when he returned to London. After 1973 he divided his time between London and Sagaponack, Long Island, where he shared a house and studio with the art critic Yvonne Hagen. In this period he resumed working with brushes, having suffered health problems that were apparently caused by chemicals absorbed through his skin during the years he painted with his hands.

From that time on his work was characterized by luminous, subtly toned and layered expanses of color that, while seemingly abstract at first glance, always evoke the feeling of a specific landscape.

As well as a painter, he was an inventor, a sculptor, and a keen naturalist. He would take long walks wherever he happened to be, making sketches, and later, in his studio, would meditate on the meaning he had found in each place and express it in the shimmering canvases he would produce until his death in 1983. Scenes of Sagaponack, the Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island, Scotland, and the Rocky Mountains were among those that inspired him.

"I am a compulsive painter," Stubbing once said, "a constant searcher and explorer of physical space rather than intellectual space, as though I were swimming through Light."

Nabi Gallery

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