Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I

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Dick Beer (b. London 1893 - d. Stockholm 1938) 

Folkliv på Korsika, I (Popular Dance at Corsica, I)

oil on canvas
signed Dick Beer
c. 1924
canvas dimensions 88 x 100 cm 

Exhibited:
The Royal Academy Stockholm 1973;
Millesgården – Dick Beer – Impressionist & Kubist, 2012

Dick Beer was born in 1893 in London as Richard Beer, the youngest of five brothers. His father, John Beer (1853-1906), was a watercolourist who was born in Stockholm and had left Sweden at the age of 17. John Beer instructed his sons in drawing and painting, among other things. A number of sketchbooks bear testimony to the boys’ talent.
Dick Beer’s parents died in 1906 and 1907. Barely 15 years old, Beer arrived in Sweden as an orphan. First he lived with relatives and finally he ended up at Reverend Laurell in Västergötland.
Dick Beer began his artistic studies at the Althin School of Painting in Stockholm in 1908 and continued at the Royal Academy of Arts in the autumn of 1910, but in September 1912 he broke off his studies and travelled to Paris. He rented a studio and enrolled at the Colarossi and Grande Chaumière academies.
In the summer of 1913, Dick Beer travelled to Pont-Aven in Bretagne in order to paint. In September the same year, he held his first solo exhibition in Stockholm which he gave the French title Exposition des tableaux de Bretagne et autour de Paris. The exhibition proved a success. Many of the paintings were executed in a light palette in a style inspired by the impressionists.
In 1914, Dick Beer undertook an extensive study trip to Italy, Tunis, Morocco and Spain, which resulted in canvases overflowing with colours and light. When the French army mobilised, he volunteered and was enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. In 1915 Dick Beer sustained severe head injuries in a grenade attack, which resulted in deafness and a nervous condition that would plague him for the rest of his life. Two of his brothers died the following year, fighting for the English army.
Dick Beer was hospitalised and convalesced at Château de Rochefort. Here he started painting again, in an impressionist style, a painting dominated by blue and green hues.
In 1918, Dick Beer married Ruth Öhrling, a dentist, and their son John was born later in the year. During this time, Beer began experimenting with cubist painting and created several large compositions, including the painting “The Arab Café”.
In the years that followed, Dick Beer was based in Paris, where he often moved house. He was instructed by André Lhote, who encouraged his students to work freely in the studio and provided them with individual critique. Beer often travelled to Bretagne or Provence. His artist friends came from all over Europe and included Amedeo Modigliani. Dick Beer exhibited fairly regularly in Paris between 1919 and 1934 and made a name for himself in French artist circles.
In the summers, Ruth regularly rented a house in the countryside, often at Lake Mälaren. She kept a large house with many models and friends and there was a lot of painting and discussions. In 1933, the couple divorced but Ruth still loved Dick and continued to support him financially for the rest of his life.
Dick Beer also exhibited in Sweden, albeit irregularly due to his failing health. In the 1920s and 1930s, Beer continued to pursue an expressionist painting with intense colours and unexpected perspectives, but eventually he veered towards more naturalistic forms, including a large number of nudes. He also painted several portraits of artists, politicians and writers.
In 1938, Dick Beer sojourned in Arles. The budding photographer Christer Strömholm became a student of Dick Beer’s and they developed an intimate friendship. In June the same year, Dick Beer died in Stockholm following complications of pneumonia.

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Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I
Dick Beer - Popular Dance at Corsica, I