Leslie Marr, 2nd Baronet of Sunderland (1922-2021) and onetime disciple of David Bomberg, is best known for his richly coloured, expressionistic landscapes such as his 1975 painting of The Stiperstones in Shropshire.
It is included in an exhibition of the Post-war artist’s works marking the centenary of his birth. The show runs at Portland Gallery in St James’s, London, from September 13-23.
Exhibited alongside his scenic views are still-lifes and self-portraits offered for prices from £6000- 40,000. Marr’s career spanned 75 years but his style remained consistent.
“His work always delighted me and proved very popular with collectors and visitors to the gallery,” says Jamie Anderson, director of Portland Gallery. He first met Marr in 2015 when staging an exhibition of works by Bomberg and his students. “I think people responded to the restrained grandeur of his landscape paintings and the evident joy he had in handling paint.”
Group of artists
After serving with the RAF during the Second World War, Marr joined the classes Bomberg taught at Borough Polytechnic. He became involved with the group of artists that surrounded Bomberg, the Borough Group.
He was wealthy and supported the group and several of its exhibitions early on. He became closely personally linked to Bomberg when he married his step-daughter and also financed some of the older artist’s painting trips, sometimes travelling with him.
In the early 1950s the group disbanded, and Marr’s marriage ended. He rarely worked with other Borough artists after that and went on to have a long and colourful career – including a stint in the 1950s as a Formula 1 driver. However, he is still associated with the Borough teachings.
“His art shows the application of Bomberg’s declaration to capture the ‘Spirit in the mass’ but also shows a constant evolution and development over his lengthy career,” Anderson adds.
This exhibition follows Portland Gallery’s exhibition on Dennis Creffield, another member of the Borough Group, in May, which Anderson says was well-received.
Portland represents Modern and Contemporary British art and hosts 14 exhibitions per year.