Richard Eurich was born in 1903 in Bradford and studied at the Bradford School of Art from 1922-24, before going on to the Slade School of Art 1924-26, where he studied under Henry Tonks. During his time at the Slade, Eurich became interested in the trends of French painting, as championed by Roger Fry and Clive Bell. One of the reports given to him during his time at the Slade reads: “this student is being influenced by painters who have not been dead long enough to be respectable”, which is probably in reference to Cezanne, Picasso and Severini. Eurich also studied the Old Masters at great lengths, claiming such works offered one everything they might want to know about composition and technique.

 

At the Slade Eurich worked mainly on drawing, however re-adopted painting shortly after he left due to problems with his eyes which occurred as a result of the painstaking process of drawing. His drawings were so intricately impressive that he sold two works to Sir Edward Marsh, Churchill's secretary and committee member of the Contemporary Art Society. Marsh, with the help of Eric Gill, was instrumental in organising Eurich's first solo exhibition at the Goupil Gallery in 1929. During the opening of the exhibition, Eurich was advised by Christopher Wood to “paint what you love and damn all fashions which come and go", advice that greatly informed Eurich’s artistic output, as he never joined a group or movement and worked in an idiosyncratic style, in relative isolation from other artists.

 

Eurich held exhibitions at the Redfern Gallery from 1933 up until the late 1950s, where many of his paintings were bought for public collections. From 1936 to 1939, Eurich displayed alongside artists such as Ivon Hitchens, Stanley Spencer and Augustus John in the International Exhibition of Painters at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.

 

During the Second World War he applied to be an Official War Painter for the Admiralty. In some of his many seascapes punctuated by fire and smoke, Eurich pays homage to Turner’s sunsets, where fiery reds diffuse through a misty horizon, such as The Landing at Dieppe, 19th August 1942, now in the Tate Collection. His war paintings encapsulate Eurich’s intuitive sense of perspective and ability to convincingly imagine viewpoints that he had never seen. He rarely made direct studies for large compositions and claimed not to know how to square up a canvas. Instead, he started from a singular point, the root of the imagined scene, and from there gradually worked outwards, modelling and applying colour as he went. Men who had been present at the various war scenes that Eurich depicted found his war paintings remarkable in their compositional and factual accuracy.

 

After the war he sought relief from the devastating and serious themes his work had been covering and depicted towns, seaside resorts and nursery stories, again using his instinctive understanding of perspective to map out surreal landscapes, half-remembered from his own childhood. He became a Royal Academician in 1953 and later taught at the Camberwell School of Art from 1949 to 1968. In 1979 there was a major retrospective of his work at the Bradford Art Galleries and Museum and in 1991 his work was well-received by critics and public at the Imperial War Museum in Richard Eurich: D-day to Dunkirk, just one year before he passed away in 1992.