About this artwork

This work was painted on the shore in Catterline, a village on the east coast of Scotland. It shows a wave breaking over the pier, hence the wave’s regular shape, approaching the artist like a wall of water. Eardley described the circumstances of this work as follows: ‘It was painted during February 1961 – entirely outside – as is the case with all my sea paintings. It was one of four paintings which I had in progress during a stormy period of weather. I worked on all four together – or rather from one to the other according to the tide.’ Here, Eardley has mixed sand into the white paint to give a sense of the froth of the water. When shown at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1961, The Wave was commended by a Glasgow Herald art critic: ‘This painter seems to grow in stature from exhibition to exhibition; no one else in Scotland is painting with such power on this scale.’

Updated before 2020

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Joan Eardley

Joan Eardley