Artist Spotlight: Peter Samuelson

The bulk of Peter Samuelson’s work here from the 1950s and ’60s consists of portraits of the lodgers in his mother’s boardinghouse in Torquay on the English Channel. A zen-like calm exudes from the romantically colored canvases and drawings, and the line quality suggests the decorative sensitivity of Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton, and Christian Bérard. His work stands in sharp contrast to the art world’s fixation with abstract expressionism and action painting of the ’40s and ’50s as well as the ironic pop art that began to push abstract expressionism out of the picture in the 1960s.

Samuelson (1912-1996) was not an ambitious art careerist. His family was well off enough to send him to Eton, where his artistic talents were encouraged, and then to study for a while in Paris. After art school he married and moved with his Dutch wife to Holland,

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