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Fountain of the Spaiis fountain-of-the-spaiis.jpg
Fountain of the Spaiis Fountain of the Spaiis

Fountain of the Spaiis

Item Code: AG-fountainspaiis-i
Oil on canvas
Date of Work
Height (cm)
Width (cm)
Initialled oil on canvas.

Exhibited; Abbey Gallery 1927, Ashmolean Oxford 1989, no 2, and Belgrave Gallery 1990.

Though it demonstrates skill and sophistication in its every stroke of paint, Anthony Gross was just twenty-two years old when he made Fountain at the Spaiis.
In 1923, at the age of eighteen, he had enrolled at the Slade in London. An energetic young student, he leapt at every opportunity that presented itself: in the four years that followed, his movements were hectic as he travelled to study in Madrid at the Academia de San Fernando and Paris at the Académie Julian, punctuated by interim explorations in the south of France.
By 1927 he had decided to journey to North Africa, settling in Algeria where this work was painted. The scene is of an unknown location – perhaps a fountain on the outskirts of Bou Saâda, the small haven town just north of the Sahara where Gross stayed for three months. One of the earliest of his oils to have survived, it stands alongside a small number of paintings produced across the year that, in the words of Gross expert Richard Morphet, ‘could hardly be less compatible with the careful approach enjoined by the Slade professor, Henry Tonks. They reflect not only his extensive European travels of the mid-1920s but also the competing influences of Post-Impressionist and the freedom of approach permissible in Parisian académies libres.’
Anthony Gross portraitAnthony Gross was born in London in 1905 and studied painting and engraving at the Slade. Later he studied in Paris and Madrid and spent much of his time in France. In 1940 Gross evacuated his family on one of the last ships to leave Bordeaux. He was appointed an Official War Artist and landed in Normandy with the Allied troops on D-Day, holding his materials aloft as he waded ashore.

Gross was very prolific, producing more than 500 pictures during the War. Post-war, he stayed in France before finally buying a house in the south-west in 1955 and settled into a pattern of living and working there during the summer but returning to London each winter. In 1980 he was elected an R.A. Gross died in 1984.
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