Maize Fields, Le Boulvé, c.1962
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.
In 1955 Gross bought a house at Le Boulvé, a small village in hill country, some 60 kilometres north of Montauban. When he retired from The Slade he spent the months from May until October each year painting at Le Boulvé, making oils and watercolours, seven days a week, always painting directly from nature. Subjects and locations were carefully considered, decided in advance, and Gross often returned to a place to do further work on a painting.
‘No other British artist of the mid-twentieth century approached their own topographical backyard with quite the consuming absorption of Gross in southwest France. ...There is little nostalgia in Gross’s art, such as there was in that of other ‘neo-Romantic’ contemporaries: in fact, elements of Gross’s evolving horizons were able to reflect an all-round awareness of the world, highly contemporary and forward-looking on one hand and, on the other...an acute consciousness of the enduring values of the past in an ever-changing present.’ – Julian Freeman, 2021.
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