Brian Clarke Vespers

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A sumptuous watercolor homage to poppies, from the artist’s London garden.

As the coronavirus persisted into the spring and summer of 2020, British painter and architectural artist Brian Clarke (born 1953) began to spend long evenings in his garden at home in London. Though the global mood was one of solemnity, Clarke found that the poppies in his garden remained as bright as ever. Taking its title from hespera, the Greek word for evening, Vespers is a collection of over 500 watercolors of poppies painted by Clarke during those long evenings spent in solitude among the flowers. Some pages feature a single poppy on a warm gray background speckled with red; others are lush clusters of flowers nestled among blues and greens. Clarke’s delicate depictions of the flowers, their crimson petals and verdant stems, are evidence of the artist’s “deft command of gestural brushwork,” in the words of American curator Robert Storr, whose writing supplements the artwork.

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