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18th May 2020
Trust acquires major work by Roger Cecil (1942 – 2015)

A recent acquisition by the  Trust is Woman Weeping by the Wales-based painter Roger Cecil, who died in 2015.

Despite exhibiting rarely during his lifetime and with little involvement in the art world, Cecil is considered by many as one of the most significant abstract painters of his generation. He lived all his life in the former coal-mining town of Abertillery, driven by a singular determination to ‘do painting my way’.

From this base in the Ebbw Fach valley, Cecil was inspired by the way in which the industrial sat within the natural environment, ‘these big, gigantic sort of breaks in the mountain, man-made things’. Work as a casual labourer in the building trade gave him the means to maintain a distance from the pressures and vagaries of the art world, and develop unhindered his practice from his home studio. Cecil took pleasure in unusual materials, including Polyfilla, house paint, plaster and grate blacking, which give many of his canvas surfaces a textural, relief-like appearance.

Woman Weeping dates from the mid 1980s to 90s, a period when Cecil was exploring figure based imagery in this gestural, colourful vein. Although Cecil’s imagery was deeply personal, his collection of artist monographs included Basquiat, Hilton, Hockney, Kiff, Klee and De Kooning and their echoes can be detected in Woman Weeping.

In recent years, and particularly since the artist’s death in 2015, there has been a considerable growth of interest in Cecil’s output. The Trust is very pleased to have been able to acquire a significant example of the work of this exceptional artist.

© The Estate of Roger Cecil