"Seven Green Apples" ~ Douglas Portway, 1991.
Douglas Portway was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1922. He held his first solo exhibition in 1945, and became the first South African to be awarded a travel grant from the Institute of International Education, which he used to visit the USA in 1952.
In 1956 he was asked to take part in the Venice Biennale of that year and shortly thereafter he left South Africa permanently and moved to Europe, living and working on the Spanish island of Ibiza from 1959 until the mid sixties. As his reputation in Europe grew, he had solo exhibitions at the Drian Gallery in London, and also in Paris, Ibiza and his native South Africa.
In 1972 he left Ibiza for a more temperate climate and moved to a house and studio in St. Ives, Cornwall, spending part of each year painting in France before moving there to live and work during the 1980s.
The critic James Burr wrote of Portway’s work and technique… “A highly sensitive appreciation of the evocative power of delicate surface fluctuations, which can gently charm one with his pictures…the softness of his restrained colour is occasionally punctuated by a distinct shape that is placed with deft Oriental simplicity. These forms appear to float mysteriously like signs looming out of a mist, and they belong to a personal symbolic iconography that is always quietly beguiling.”