Considered one of Britain’s first surrealists, Arthur Lett-Haines produced a body of work that is esoteric, symbolic and experimental. He was significantly inspired by the Parisian art scene, having moved to the Avant-garde capital with his partner Cedric Morris in the 1920s. His paintings evidence the influence of surrealist artists, such as Max Ernst, and demonstrate his fascination with a growing amalgamation of trends emerging in European art.
Lett’s artwork demonstrates his ability to absorb a range of modernist discourse and manipulate the latest artistic developments through his own distinct hand. He was a talented draftsman and imbued many of his paintings with loaded symbolism and inexplicable motifs. Unlike his partner Cedric Morris, he was repeatedly drawn to the human figure, which remained a recurring theme throughout his career.
Lett ultimately became the driving force behind Morris’s success as an artist, and his determination to place Morris at the forefront of the international art scene somewhat impeded his own career as a painter.
Photos courtesy of Hadleigh Old School
Text courtesy of Philip Mould & Co.