Thomas & Co. inspired me to post these images by Glyn Warren Philpot (1884-1937). He’ll understand why.
I don’t know much about Philpot. I recently came across some of his paintings and figure studies and was struck by their homoerotic quality, but at the same time didn’t draw any conclusions about Philpot’s sexuality, without knowing more about him. After all, choosing the male nude for one’s subject matter in art doesn’t necessarily indicate a sexual interest in men.
However, in his recent biography of Philpot, Glyn Philpot: His Life and Work (1999), J.G. Paul Delaney writes:
The young Glyn Philpot circulated in the close company of the Edwardian aesthetes. Portraits financed his more committed work on subject pictures. In the Symbolist tradition, they reflect his deepest concerns: religious themes reveal a profound knowledge of his adopted Catholicism, while an increasing interest in the male nude and a series of superb portraits of young men, his black servants, models, friends and lovers, show the gradual public expression of his homosexuality. The tensions between his public and personal lives led Philpot to spend long periods outside Britain. In 1931, he visited Berlin. His encounter with that city’s homosexual underworld had a profound spiritual and emotional effect and Philpot adopted a new style which owed much to international modernism.
I haven’t read the book, but my interest in Philpot makes me want to add this to my reading list. I’m sure that I’ll post more of his work as time goes on.
The images, from top to bottom:
Male torso (20th century, graphite on paper, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London); Reclining male nude – study for ‘Apres-Midi Tunisien’ (20th century, graphite on paper, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London).