Kyffin Williams 100 Exhibition: ‘Behind the Frame’ 
Curating the exhibition

#LoveArt / Collections / Exhibitions / Kyffin Blog - Posted 17-11-2017

‘This is the land that has obsessed me throughout my life. My love of it ?is not superficial but deep, for my family have for so many generations ?had the same feeling for the land and its people. When I left art school ?I did not have to think what I should paint for my subject was deep ?inside me and waiting for me to record it’.

(Kyffin Williams, ‘The Land & the Sea’, Gomer Press,1998).

The Kyffin Williams Exhibition which opens on the 16th of February, ?2018 will commemorate the centenary of the birth of one of Wales’ ?leading artists. It is therefore an opportunity for the National Library ?to celebrate its rich collection of the Anglesey born artist’s works –  ?from his iconic landscapes and powerful seascapes of Anglesey,  ?north-west Wales and abroad to his emotive portraits. There is also an opportunity within the exhibition to view lesser-known works by the ?artist previously unseen by the public, which include his preparatory ?works such as his sketchbooks and his printing blocks. The Library ?houses over 200 oil paintings, over 1,200 works on paper and over 300 ?original prints by the artist.

Many people mainly associate Kyffin Williams with his impasto technique ?of painting – placing the oil paint down thickly onto the canvas using ?a palette knife. An extremely interesting aspect of the research into ?this exhibition was to discover the early works which the artist created ?whilst he was a student at the Slade School of Art and an art teacher at ?the Highgate School in London in the 1940s through to the early 1970s. ?These early works are of great importance in showing how Kyffin ?developed his technique and iconic style of painting which from the ?beginning of his career caught the imagination of the people of Wales.

Within this exhibition we shall also gain an invaluable insight into ?Kyffin’s creative mind by taking a look at a few films on the ?artist and also his diaries and letters which are housed within ?our archives. Kyffin Williams was a skilled writer who instantly caught the ?reader’s imagination and his entertaining autobiographies are ?testimony to this. This exhibition will therefore be an unique ?opportunity to celebrate Kyffin’s words and images in an extremely ?effective manner on the walls of the National Library’s iconic Gregynog ?Gallery.


Morfudd Bevan, Art Curator, National Library of Wales

This post is also available in: Welsh

2 responses

It would be interesting to know when the exhibition closes. I have been familiar with Kyffin’s art since I was a schoolboy in Flintshire in the 1950-60s, but I live in the south of France. So if I am to be able to see this exhibition at all, it would be great to be able to begin to plan travel soon. Many thanks.

Paul Griffiths

Commented December 9, 2017 / 13:57:35

    Hi Paul
    Many thanks for your comment. The exhibition will run from 16 February 2018 – 1 September 2018. We hope you’ll be able to visit! We’ll be publishing a post related to Kyffin every month on the blog, so keep an eye out. Best wishes

    Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / National Library of Wales

    Commented December 12, 2017 / 12:05:33




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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

Due to the more personal nature of blogs it is the Library's policy to publish postings in the original language only. An equal number of blog posts are published in both Welsh and English, but they are not the same postings. For a translation of the blog readers may wish to try facilities such as Google Translate.

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