June Landscape, John Piper (1964)

Sands Gallery of Early 20th Century European Art, Gallery 47 First Floor


Focus on the Object

About the Painting
June Landscape is an abstract painting which avoids reference to recognisable scenes or objects. However, a sense of space is achieved in the use of bright complementary colours, such as blue and orange, some of which recede and some of which jump forwards. Indeed, the central blue panel could be read as a patch of cloudless sky, with the glowing oranges and reds reflecting the summer heat.

In addition, the circles and other marks could be interpreted as flowers floating in the summer breeze and the blue shapes are like diagrammatic birds in flight.

Texture is achieved through a variation in the application of paint. For example, the flat, central blue panel looks as if it could have been applied with a roller, while a heavily loaded brush is responsible for the thick circles of orange. In contrast, some areas have been applied with a very dry brush (such as parts of the orange and red sections), while some of the lines were possibly put on with the end of a stick.

Another interesting observation is the way in which the painting, with its strongly defined sections of colour, reflects Piper’s stained-glass projects of the 1950s and 1960s.