Charles Wyatt Warren
Charles Wyatt Warren (1908-1993)
The 20th century Welsh landscape painter Charles Wyatt Warren was celebrated in an exhibition at Panter and Hall gallery in London in September 2016. This is the first West End exhibition of this important and until recently, neglected Welsh artist.
Painting the Snowdonian landscape during the 20th Century, Wyatt Warren was a contemporary of the more famous Sir Kyffin Williams – the artist credited with developing and establishing what has become a distinctive north Wales style. Wyatt Warren’s development followed that of Williams, beginning in the 1950s with a solid traditional brushstroke, gradually moving in the seventies and eighties towards the sculpted, palette knife impastos that made Kyffin Williams famous.
It would be easy but unfair to pass Wyatt Warren off as an acolyte or copyist of Kyffin Williams. Instead he is best viewed as a contemporary colleague in sculpting what has become a north Wales artistic signature. His earlier works are more classical in feel, often featuring silver birch trees, shamelessly included to demonstrate his technical ability with paint.
Born in Caernarfon in 1908, Wyatt Warren attended the local grammar school before completing external studies through London University. He went on to enjoy a successful career in the Finance department at Caernarfon County Council, painting in his spare time. Largely self-taught, Wyatt Warren began painting at home as a hobby, selling his work in local galleries and cafes for only £10-15 a piece.
Wyatt exhibited widely in the UK, Canada and America. His rich impasto oils have been shown at the National Eisteddfod, the Royal Cambrian Academy, the Denbighshire Art Society and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He had a solo show at the London Welsh Association in 1960. Work was commissioned from him by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Brussels and University College of North Wales, Bangor.
Wyatt Warren had a somewhat smoother application with the palette knife than Kyffin. Many of his paintings, especially from his later period, seem to evoke the distortive effect of rain against the window, something he’d be no stranger to living and working in northern Wales.
A keen supporter of the arts in north Wales, Wyatt was a founding member and secretary of the North Wales Group, a member of the Caernarfon Art Group and the Paddington Art Society. He was also a founder member of the Caernarfon School of Welsh Landscape Painters.