Catalogue | Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman
Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman, the first museum show of Morris’ work in over 30 years, showed how the two disciplines, of art and botany, intertwined to form one of the most remarkable artistic lives of the 20th century. As well as painting portraits, still-lifes and landscapes representing his expansive travels, Morris is best known for his flower paintings, which reveal his keen interest as a botanist – he cultivated over 90 new irises – and the exhibition at the Garden Museum focused on these horticultural works that took flower painting out of the taxonomic sphere, into an expressionist mode with echoes of surrealism and cubism.
The home he shared in Suffolk with his lifelong partner Arthur Lett-Haines was a hub of artistic meeting and activity and in 1937 the pair founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. There Morris taught Lucian Freud, whose practice he was hugely influential in developing, and later Maggi Hambling. A contemporary and friend of artists Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Paul Nash and Christopher Wood, Morris was a crucial figure in the British Modern tradition and the exhibition will reinstate him at the forefront of the British avant-garde.
The exhibition was complemented by this catalogue written by Andrew Lambirth, curator of the exhibition.