James Durden (1878-1964)
oil on canvas on board
61 x 66.5 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1939
Born 1878, Manchester, England. Died 1964.
The British artist James Durden studied at the Manchester School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. He won a silver medal at the Paris Salon in 1927 and throughout his career exhibited in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Durden’s images of languid women—in sunlit gardens, on the terrace, taking tea or dressed in silk evening gowns—were reminders of a world which was rapidly disappearing. In this work titled Summer, the only work of his in the Hinton Collection, the viewer spies two nude female figures on a sunlit riverbank. The image is framed by two thin leafy trees and the overall tone is yellowy-green. The strong morning light throws a highlight on the water which dazzles and contributes to the dreamy quality of the picture. The artist has used unmixed colour in dabs of paint to create an impressionistic effect.
Durden was one of the exhibitors at the November 1929 and December 1932 exhibitions of prominent contemporary British art held at the Victorian Artists' Society Galleries in Melbourne. His interior study was highly praised in the Melbourne Argus newspaper as “original and beautiful. It could not be better done; it is a poem in paint.” His work was also shown amongst “nearly every other artist whose name stands for anything at all as representative of post WWI British art” at Sydney's Blaxland Galleries in March of 1934.
In 1931 Howard Hinton donated a Durden oil painting titled The Nightingale to the (National) Art Gallery of NSW. He gifted 'Summer' to the Armidale Teachers' College in 1939.