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By Birch, Simon (British, active mid 20th Century)
This extraordinary watercolour is a superb example of trompe l’oeil, French for ‘deceive the eye’, the artistic technique whereby the eye is fooled by skillful illusion.
This highly unusual watercolour is a superb example of trompe l’oeil. The picture presents an eclectic, absurdist scene: a stalk of corn, laden with ripe cobs and sprouting maize flowers, shoots from an abstracted coastal landscape. The stalk is visited by several brightly-coloured birds and, incongruously, a seemingly agitated crab. In the distance, a figure in primitive dress holds a spear, while a small village marks the horizon. The composition is ‘laid’ on a sheet of paper, which in turn is set on a fictive wooden board—the sheet, pinned by illusory nails, lifting at the corners.
The watercolour is signed and dated lower right ‘Simon Birch. 1951.’ and is contained by a fine hardwood frame.
Frame: Height 50cm, width 42cm, depth 3cm
Sheet: Height 41cm, width 34cm
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