95 color plates
8 1/2 x 11
Alfred Wallis (1855–1942) was a Cornish fisherman who was nearly deaf and in fragile mental health. Yet when he took up painting at the age of seventy, with no prior instruction, he quickly made a name for himself. He attracted a number of distinguished patrons and collectors, who grew to prize his paintings, even though he sold them for only a few pence to anyone who wanted them. Wallis mostly worked on oddly shaped scraps of cardboard, given to him by the local grocer, and he covered them in ship’s paint, a medium he knew well from his fishing days. Using very few colors, he depicted the sea, boats, and other aspects of life as a fisherman, images that let him celebrate his memories.
This book presents the story of Wallis’s life and work alongside beautiful full-color reproductions of nearly one hundred of his paintings. Rounding out the volume are transcripts of Wallis’s own anecdotes, recorded by his doctor, which bring Wallis’s artistic idiosyncrasies to life.