Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Fred Cuming 1930-2022

I was so sorry to see in the NEAC Newsletter that Fred Cuming died in June. 

I very much recommend that anybody who admired his work takes a look at the Obituary about him on the gets on the NEAC - Remembering Fred Cuming (plus others below).

His landscape paintings were always a joy to behold and I very much regret I'm not going to see them anymore - except online.

Fred Cuming's paintings - which I'm very happy to stare at for absolutely ages. You can see more of his work on his website - Fred Cuming RA. Those who like the coastline and skies around Britain will appreciate his work.
Central to his practice was to be the sketchbook, the making of what he called “notes” en plein air. Cuming would, as he said, “sketch and sketch … [keeping] sketchbooks everywhere, in my studio, in my bag, in the car”. At his peak, he would get through a hundred a year. Fred Cuming - Obituary | The Guardian
"Four Seasons" by Frederick Cuming RA (oil, 378 x 163 x 5 cm £115,000)
RA Summer Exhibition 2017

Below are some highlights of his life, formal obituaries elsewhere, some examples of his work and a reference to a previous blog post in which I highlighted a wonderful video about his work 

  • studied at 
    • Sidcup School of Art from 1945 to 1949
    • Royal College of Art from 1951 to 1955
  • 1953- 2022: exhibited in many group exhibitions until the end of his life
  • 1969: age 39, Fred was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy 
  • 1974: elected a Royal Academician - this is his profile on the RA website
  • 1978 - first solo show at the Thackeray Gallery, London
  • 2001: featured artist in the RA Summer Exhibition
  • 2005: commissioned by Stephen Hawking to paint his portrait - which is not in the NPG Collection
  • Video: Fred Cuming RA (19 March 2018)
The video is called 'Fred Cuming RA: Portrait of an Artist' and was made in 2015 when he was 85. It was shot in and around his home and studio between Rye and Hastings in East Sussex.
  • 11 June 2022 - died, age 92 years old.
These are the published obituaries in the press
On 2 June 1953, the artist Fred Cuming, who has died aged 92, stood on the roof of the Old Admiralty Building in London sketching the coronation procession as it passed down Whitehall. “I got a very nice write-up for that painting,” he mused in an interview nearly 70 years later. He ascribed the success to two things: first, he had turned down the offer from newsmen also standing on the roof of photographs to work from – “They always promised they’d give you snaps, but they never did” – relying instead on his sketchbook. Second was the weather. As Cuming recalled of that long ago June day, it had been “pissing down with rain”.
Silkscreen prints by Fred Cuming RA NEAC

I absolutely LOVED Fred Cuming's silkscreen prints. In fact I'd say it's worth going to the exhibition to see these alone. I'd love to see him produce one. Mind you I don't think I've ever seen anything produced by Fred Cuming which I've not liked. Review: New England Art Club Annual Exhibition 2014
I always wanted to ask him about what happened during the Judging of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2017 - which was the year I refused to display the work which won first prize or announce the prizewinners. 
What the panel of Judges were thinking I really don't know - however to my mind it maybe explains the delay in the announcement of the selected artists. Incidentally one artist pointed out that Fred Cuming RA (who's an oil painter and whose work I love) disappeared from the list of Judges between the General Info for Artists and the announcement of the prizewinners at the end of August. I wonder why....
10 Best Paintings in the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition
I always liked to think of him as being somebody who shared my perspective on what happened that year!

His work sold extremely well - as one might expect for somebody who painted so well. Here's a comment from my review of pricing in the RA Summer Exhibition 2018
copyright Making A Mark Publications
Over £10,000
  • Most paintings over by £10,000 are by members of the RA. 
  • by and large expensive artwork (£10,000+) by RAs generally does not sell 
  • UNLESS it's figurative and in a realistic or impressionist style by Diana Armfield, Fred Cuming, Ken Howard or Bill Jacklin
        RA Summer Exhibition - a curious exercise in pricing and sales

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