• Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: Nan-Twin-Ah-Phyo-Taw-Yein,-Singing,-1909
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: Nan Twin Ah Phyo Taw Yein, Singing, 1909
  • Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: Portrait-of-Jane-XIX
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: Portrait of Jane XIX
  • Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: Another-Yein,-1909
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: Another Yein, 1909
  • Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: Mandalay-Moat-IX,-circa-1908
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: Mandalay Moat IX, circa 1908
  • Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: River-Bank-Pakokku,-9-February-1909
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: River Bank Pakokku, 9 February 1909
  • Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: Sweet-Williams,-circa-1940
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: Sweet Williams, circa 1940
  • Sir-Gerald-Festus-Kelly: Moulmein,-Mango-Tree-on-pagoda-platform,-April-4-1909
    Sir Gerald Festus Kelly: Moulmein, Mango-Tree on pagoda platform, April 4 1909

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly (1879-1972)

Painter in oil of portraits and landscapes. Born in London, he was educated at Cambridge University, later living and studying art in Paris. Whistler was an early influence. Kelly was an enthusiastic traveler, visiting among other countries Spain, America, South Africa and Burma, where he painted some of his most characteristic and charming figure studies. He became known as a sound academic painter of attractive children and elegant women. His sitters included Somerset Maugham, whom he painted several times, and he undertook numerous state portraits. Kelly is represented in many public collections, including the Tate Gallery, which holds seven works. He had retrospective exhibitions at the Leicester Galleries in 1950 and in 1957 at the RA. He was elected RA in 1930, was the Academy's keeper 1943-45 and President, 1949-54. Kelly held a number of official positions, such as his membership of the Royal Fine Arts Commission, 1938-43, and was knighted in 1945. Between 1909 and 1970 Kelly exhibited over 300 works at the RA. During his lifetime his work became well known through popular prints. Since his death however - and in spite of his technical brilliance and colourful, wide-ranging subject matter - his reputation has stagnated. The artist John Napper worked as his assistant.

Catalogues with works by Sir Gerald Festus Kelly

British Paintings & Works on Paper

Published: 2005
240 pages 176 illustrations

Many of the artists featured in this catalogue — Monnington, Jas Wood, Banting, Colquhoun, Stephenson, Medley, Rowntree, Vaughan, Canney and Nockolds —moved freely between figurative and abstract art. It was part of their journey. In their ambitious exploration to find a pure art that went beyond reality, they often stopped, or hesitated, and in many cases returned to figurative painting. Artists such as Bush, Knights, Kelly and Cundall remained throughout their lives purely figurative. Their best work, however, is underpinned by an economy of design, which not only verges on the abstract, but was fed by the compositional purity developed by the pursuit of abstraction.

British Paintings & Works on Paper

Published: 2004
128 pages 89 illustrations

There is no obvious explanation for today’s neglect of artists such as Sir Frank Brangwyn, Albert de Belleroche, Clara Klinghoffer, Richard Carline, Charles Cundall and Sir Gerald Kelly. They were hugely celebrated in their day, and it is only a matter of time before the pendulum swings back. Art moves in and out of fashion: what one generation celebrates, the next forgets or rejects. The works of art do not change, nor their quality; in the life cycle of fashion it is only perceptions that alter What Monnington termed ‘works with integrity’ will always stand the test of time.

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