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14th April 2014 - “Harry Ousley, An Important 20th Century Artist” - lecture by Sue Astles

Harry Ousey was born in Manchester in 1915 and spent much of his early life away from the dirty, smoky city exploring the timeless landscapes of Cheshire and Derbyshire.

In the 1930s Ousey moved to London and trained as an architect. Ousey began to make art, visiting and painting the expansive landscapes of Cornwall, Dorset, Scotland and Provence.

In 1950 he decided to move to St. Ives with his wife Susie and mixed with many of the St. Ives School artists, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon and Wilhemina Barns-Graham amongst others.

Disillusioned with the art scene in the early 1970s Ousey and his wife travelled through France and finally settled in Aix-en-Provence.

Ousey died in 1985, his ashes being scattered beneath a tree on Mont St Victoire which had been a favourite place of his for painting.

He had instructed his wife to burn his work but she couldn’t bring herself to do this and when she died, the collection was inherited by his niece, Sue Astles who was, of course, our lecturer.

She told us how his collection had brought into her life a dimension that no on else could have done. She began to appreciate what his art had meant to him and from living with his paintings around her, she had learnt to look at other works of art in a way she would not have dreamed possible.

His art had enriched Sue’s life immeasurably and her  lecture , accompanied with slide show of paintings and scenes from Ousey’s life, conveyed this passion to her audience and was much appreciated and enjoyed by members.