17 Nov David Beschi
- Exhibition - 80th Birthday Celebration
- Exhibition Foreword
- About the Artist
- Online Catalogue
- Artist Statement
It is a great privilege to unveil this collection of new David Beschi watercolour paintings in celebration of his 80th birthday.
I recall, back in 2012, David announcing it was a time to step back. His exhibition in that year was to be his last. Yet do artists really retire?
A few months ago, I contacted David to inform him of his latest sale. His excitement quickly turned to conversation about a series of new paintings featuring cat-walk models he was working on. Scary! In jest, I reminded him of a ‘special’ birthday coming up and suggested an exhibition to honour the occasion. To my great surprise, he responded with the words, “Beschi’s birthday bash… buy a picture before he croaks!” So here we are.
I first hosted an exhibition for David back in 1996 and have been fortunate enough to represent him and host his exhibitions ever since. David’s paintings typically feature charming, timeless, everyday scenes. Many works are wonderfully animated and whimsical, whilst others are contrastingly quiet and sensitive portrayals. David’s deceptively simple paintings are characterized by a gestural approach, where intuitive control enables him to blend limited detail with intriguing levels of obscurity. His name is synonymous with a restrained palette of muted umbers, warm greys and soft-hued washes, with an occasional, inspired splash of colour. These skillfully executed new paintings offer a glimpse of a lifetime of memories from this private painter.
Early in May 2021, when I visited David’s studio to collect the paintings for this exhibition, several of his sketchbooks were randomly scattered across a table. In fact, he has close to 60 sketchbooks, plus countless restaurant napkins, envelopes, backs of bills and scraps of paper with jottings, doodles, colour notes and musings… the things collected along the way. Sketching has always been at the essence of David’s practice and these sketchbooks are a profound reminder that the paintings in this new exhibition, like others beforehand, are not contrived, but truly inspired by this precious resource; a life’s work.
Thank you David Beschi.
Director – Lost Bear Gallery
David Beschi is a leading figure in Australian watercolour painting. Born in London in 1941, he studied at St. Martins School of Art, and had a sell-out exhibition at the age of eighteen.
David first travelled to Australia in 1976 and after returning to the UK for three years, made the move to Melbourne. He has since lived in the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and Newcastle. An avid traveller, his watercolours feature not only Australian scenes but far-flung places such as Morocco and Paris as well as his home country of England.
In 2010 David was elected a Fellow of The Royal Art Society. He exhibits annually with The Australian Watercolour Institute and his work has been shown at the Royal Academy and Salon des Refusés, London. A catalogue of his work is in The National Library of Australia and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The recipient of countless awards, he most recently won the Silver Slipper award at the 2010 Royal Art Society exhibition. His paintings are held in public, private and corporate collections throughout the world including the Art Gallery of NSW.
The inspiration for most works came from my sketchbooks – all 60 of them to date! Plus jottings on restaurant napkins, envelopes, backs of bills and scraps of paper that I had doodled or drawn on over the years. As a result, this collection is not only of now, but also of the past… the paintings drift from detail to obscurity and so the viewer has to complete them with their own imagination.