School Building, Willesden I, 1980
Charcoal and pastel on paper
27 1/2 x 39 1/2 in, 69.9 x 100.3 cm
The landscape of London has always been a great source of inspiration for Leon Kossoff. Born in the East End of London and later moving to Willesden, where he has...
The landscape of London has always been a great source of inspiration for Leon Kossoff. Born in the East End of London and later moving to Willesden, where he has his studio, Kossoff has spent his entire career drawing and painting the city. Often depicting overlooked areas, Kossoff shines a new light on the ignored railway lines, schools and roads of London. Depicting the same areas on a regular basis, his works are a guide to the changing environment of England’s capital during post-war regeneration.
For Kossoff, drawing is a natural prelude to painting and a means in which to inhabit a scene and bring it to life. His artistic practice is rooted in drawing for “Painting is drawing with paint”, and “I think of everything I do as a form of drawing”. Typical of his fast pace working style, 'School Building, Willesden I' is filled with energy. The thick overlaying dark lines create a swirling motion across the paper, bringing the business of Willesden to life. Through a loose structure of lines which suggest the school’s architecture, shadowy figures and cars appear, in a vibrant scene defined by its movement.
Kossoff created a series of drawings and paintings of the school in Willesden in the late 1970s and early 1980s. For as he explained, “All the time I am working on a landscape in the studio I am referring to the drawings I constantly do from the subject. I pin the drawings on the wall of the studio and change them frequently in the course of the time I am working on the painting”.
Fine Art, London
LA Louver, California
Oxford, Museum of Fine Art, Leon Kossoff: Paintings from a decade 1970-1980, cat no.59, p.9
London, Riverside Studios, Leon Kossoff: Recent Drawings, December 1980- January 1981, cat no. 19