Exhibition History, Exhibition Visitors' Comments
Comments on Peter Iden's work
A few years ago, while visiting Chichester, I dived into the Oxmarket to get out of the rain. I stayed for about two hours, completely mesmerised by a room full of paintings of a quality, originality and sincerity of a kind I'd rarely seen. Indeed I came away having bought – alas, only – a small one, which I couldn't afford, but which at the same time I definitely couldn't afford not to go have. In the subsequent years I made a point of visiting four or five of Peter’s shows, bought some more of his paintings (though never enough!), and spoke to him each time.
I was struck by his warmth, humour, and modesty; modesty that resisted my urging that he was actually a far more original and important painter than anyone – including he – seemed to realise. (I'm serious about this; when the history of 20th Century English art finally falls into place he will occupy a very clear and distinct position in it; as a landscape artist – and of course "landscape" is always about so much more – he was a true original, with a very clear distinct and piercing vision.)
I was very much looking forward to following his further development - he seemed to be working at the height of his powers – as his work deepened in meaning and insight. And though we only met a handful of times, I actually feel as though I've lost a good friend – one who I wish I'd met many years before, and known better.
Chichester will always seem a slightly emptier place now: but I will never again see the Downs in particular without seeing them through Peter’s clear, affectionate, enchanted eyes.