John Myatt | Majorca

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” - Claude Monet

ARTIST STATEMENT Monet was the founder of Impressionism. Anyone who takes their paints and easel outside today is in his debt. He was probably the first artist to suggest that an emotional response to the landscape, expressed in paint, was as valid as a topographically accurate rendering. And actually going outside and doing it was the best way of getting the authentic experience. It is important to note that Monet never spent time in Majorca; the journey in those days would have verged on the impossible. In the 1880s it was primitive, the roads travelled by mules and donkeys delivering goods from coastal harbours’ inland. Palma, the capital, was a bustling city with a thriving port, but most of the island had not changed for centuries. A far cry from the route he would have travelled to the south of France by train. I knew Monet had been painting along the south coast of France in 1884 (Antibes, Monte Carlo etc) and when my wife, Rosemary, and I were in Majorca, I was struck by how similar the island landscape was to the one that Monet had painted. On our second visit I took canvases and paints, and worked on studies that I endeavoured to turn into finished pieces back home in the studio. Some of the studies succeeded and some failed, but they all gave me that moment of actually painting from nature. Monet would have taken his studies back to Giverny to “work them up”, so I did the same.

These paintings represent over twelve months of planning, and roughly the same time again to complete them. It was a logistical nightmare to ship the canvases from UK airports to Palma. We hired easels from a friendly girl who worked in a restaurant in Deia, where there is an artists’ colony. Some of the paintings found themselves on and off the easel in the studio over count- less months before I would sign them off. With the knowledge that Monet’s main dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, once blamed Monet for poor sales because of the lack of ‘finish’ on his paintings, when I started work back home I tried to put more ‘finish’ on the paintings than usual. I was hoping to paint the works that Durand-Ruel would have loved to see, if indeed Monet had been in Majorca in 1884! None of these works is a copy of an existing Monet, although the high and low tide is his idea, not mine. Otherwise the choice of subject and composition ismy idea of what hewould have done if he had been standing inmy shoes. To that extent, it was a very liberating experience artistically. I feel very much at home with Monet’s style of painting so, whilst it was hard work, it was incredibly enjoyable. I wouldn’t have undertaken the project otherwise. I cannot claim a favourite from amongst this body of work. The idea is that the pieces work as a collection, each complementing the others. This was Monet’s idea too.

2016

STUDY FOR YGLESIA DE LA CARTUJA, VALDEMOSSA Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 40cm x 60cm

YGLESIA DE LA CARTUJA, VALDEMOSSA MAJORCA INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 85cm x 75cm

STUDY FOR COMPOSITE VIEWOF DEIA MAJORCA Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 51cm x 76cm

VIEW FROM CAN COSTA, MAJORCA. PAINTED FROMNATURE ON AWINDY DAY Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 54cm x 78cm

WINDMILL AT SUNSET INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 62cm x 84cm

GUN BATTERY AND LOOKOUT AT FORMENTOR MAJORCA INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm

CAP FORMENTOR INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm Hand Embellished Canvas | Framed 89cm x 99cm | Edition of 9

CALA DEIA INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm

OLIVE GROVEWITH DONKEY INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm Hand Embellished Canvas | Framed 89cm x 99cm | Edition of 9

FISHING BOAT OFF CAIR COSTA Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 62cm x 84cm

STUDY OF SONMARROIGTEMPLE BETWEEN DEIA AND VALDEMOSSA Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 62cm x 85cm

SONMARROIG, MAJORCA INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm

NORTH COAST MAJORCA, LOWTIDE INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm

NORTH COAST MAJORCA, HIGHTIDE INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm

WINDMILL (STUDY) Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 40cm x 60cm

COMPOSITE VIEWOF DEIA MAJORCA INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 60cm x 74cm

SONMARROIG EVENING EFFECT INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm Hand Embellished Canvas | Framed 89cm x 99cm | Edition of 9

EVENING AT CALA DEIA MAJORCAWITH FISHERMEN INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 76cm x 85cm

EVENING AT CAP FORMENTOR MAJORCA (MALLORCA) INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 74cm x 84cm

VIEW FROM CAN COSTA MAJORCA INTHE STYLE OF CLAUDE MONET 1884 Original Mixed Media on Canvas | 75cm x 85cm Hand Embellished Canvas | Framed 89cm x 99cm | Edition of 9

BIOGRAPHY A competent artist who never got the breaks, John might have remained a footnote on the page of art history. Yet fate conspired to prevent him working as an artist. Left alone with two children to support he worked as an art teacher to pay the bills. In 1986 he placed a classified advert in Private Eye, ‘19th and 20th century fakes for £200’ and a perfectly legitimate business venture was born. His materials were unorthodox, using household emulsion mixed with K-Y jelly to add body and fluidity to his brushstrokes. Work commissioned by ‘Professor Drewe’ were copied so well Christie’s valued one of his paintings as worth £30,000 - this was the moment that the legitimate business stopped and the crime began. Producing paintings to order, he painted his way through 20th century art history, but in 1999 John’s part in the con was uncovered and he was sentenced to 12 months for art fraud, serving just six months in Brixton Prison. Now working on the right side of the law, John paints new work by the Masters with notable demand. John sees his work as not simply creating a copy or pale imitation of the original; he adopts techniques and searches for the inspiration behind each great artist’s view of the world, returning to the places these artists loved, set to explore the angles that remain uncovered or to create the next chapter in a still life. “Although I frequently use modern paints and canvases the hope is that the finished painting will deceive the eye into thinking that it is seeing a new work by an established master.”

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