A Study in Light & Colour

Selections from the David L. White Collection

The David L. White Collection is one of the Bermuda National Gallery’s most important permanent collections. It includes 60 artworks by American Impressionists, from which 21 have been selected for this exhibition. Painted during the first half of the 20th century, the works are a study in light and colour, capturing the open landscapes and languid sun-drenched days of life in old Bermuda.

A large number of artists visited Bermuda during this time, mostly from the East Coast of the United States, lured by mild winters and the island’s unique quality of light. Many came from artist colonies such as those in Provincetown, Cape Cod and Old Lyme, Connecticut. Most had studied under the French Impressionists – either in Paris, such as Will Howe Foote, E. Ambrose Webster and John Lavalle, or directly under those who had trained in France.

Painting ‘en plein air’ (in the open air), through their eyes we are taken back to a quieter time when people got around either on foot or by bicycle and travelled the length of the island by horse and cart. The slower pace of life is encapsulated in Clarence Scott White’s St Georges (1925), in which a couple carefully make their way along the shaded side of an empty sun dappled street.

An affinity for colour and the language of light is at the core of this exhibition. From the warm glow of early evening elegantly captured in Will Howe Foote’s Old Bermuda House (c.1917), to the playful vibrancy of the crisp turquoise waters in Stanley Pierpont’s Bathers on Bermuda Beach (c.1905-1925), luminosity is everywhere.

A Study in Light & Colour: Selections from the David L. White Collection opens in the Hereward T. Watlington Room on June 26 and runs through to the end of October. Exhibition curated by Eve Godet Thomas.


David L. White, OBE

David L. White (Bermudian, 1933-2013) was one of Bermuda’s most passionate, and prolific, art collectors. He generously donated over 80 works to the Bermuda National Gallery throughout his lifetime.

Editor of the Royal Gazette from 1976 to 1998, White served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bermuda National Gallery from 1997 through to 2008. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997 by Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his services to journalism and the community.

Featured artworks: Bathers on Bermuda Beach by Stanley Pierpont (British, nd), oil on board, c.1905-1925. (top); South Shore, Bermuda by Carl William Broemel (American 1891-1984), watercolour on paper, 1930 (centre); Man Sleeping on Bale, Albuoy’s Point by Adolf Triedler (American, 1886-1981), watercolour on paper, 1936. Collection of Bermuda National Gallery. Gift of David L. White, OBE.