The CROWD Gallery


Ricard Opisso, four crowd scenes, Catalan, 20th century

Moritz von Retzsch, ANARCHY - 22 x 17 cms - a line drawing engraved, townscape, daylight, the scatterings of citizenry attacking each other in a medieval german town with a mindless violence - the economy of the production of the image allows no light and shade and the artist has tired at the different ways one person can thump another. Lacks a real sense of anarchy, and becomes funny because it lacks imagination. I suspect he was more interested in the architecture, and the other FAUST plates with fewer figures are much more successful.

A street festival in USSR drawing from Fulop Miller c1922

A women in love with the crowd, T.A.Steinlen

Phonograph demonstration, dispersal, drawing by Avelot 1905

Wind dispersal of a crowd, drawing by Meggendorfer 1903

Jean Duvet, L'Apocalypse fugurée, 1561 plate to Chapter VI 30 x 21 cms a characteristic compressing of forms to create the crowd, as a textured backdrop to the angels branding forheads and a glimpse of the City beyond (right). A skilled depiction of heads swirling into the composition creating flow and depth to the shallow spaces. The head shapes merge with clous shapes and defy the scale of mountian beyond. Duvet's Crowds are unique in the economic means of devices, heads, hoods, crosses with a sustained mood of intensity and joint purpose.

Gustave Dore to Balzac's Les Contes Drolatiques Paris 1855 8 x 11cms, an idealised and comic vision of the medieval French town with turbulent movement, key incident and sly invention. See also Dore's illustrations to Rabelais, and his graphic responses to the Crowds of London 1872 Much use of plume, dress and sash to create a flickering movemnt, and small notes of animals, one of which is pissing.

Gustave Dore to Balzac's Les Contes Drolatiques Paris 1855 Crowd scene in battle, at the siege of a medieval fortress -the Crowd of Soldiers becomes the collapsing masonery, limbs almost cylindrical in armour. To the left an advancement of dark knights act as a foil

illustration to Otto Nückel's, DESTINY, Marriott London 1930 - 10 x 11 cms - a novel in pictures, a bankside restaurant and dance floor with the Crowd as spiky interlocked elements within the composition, using more contrasts of black and white that the Sarg poster beneath. A contrast between the landscape structures and the jagged rectilinears

Tony Sarg, Poster for London Transport, 'appy 'ampstead, 1913. A contneted and amused crowd at the Fair (compoare with the next image) a controlled composition with the crowd acting as pointer to the respective booths, - solid here - rushing there, with the clear outline drawing style allowing legs and arms to be used as aids to direction. The crowd floats over a Japanese style shadow free ground . Legs of military men act as a strong visual focus. Subtle washes of slighter brighter yellows and reds.

Richard Doyle, "Ye Publicke its Excytement on ye appearence of Miss Lind", from Manners and Customs of Ye Engyshe, Mr Pips his Diary, written by Percival Lee, Bradbury and Evans, London originally published in Punch. undated c1860 16 x 17 cms, and typical of Doyle's dry line style, adept in massing the bodies while integrating funny incidents and characterisation.Impressive the vortex of figures

James Ensor, The Triumph of Death 1894 etching also known as Death pursuing the People. in the spirit of Dore but with an extra edge of the macabre, Ensor uses the upturned faces as helpless and befuddled repetiton of round shapes pouring through the narrow streets (of Ostend ?) some figures teetering on the edge of the mythic, with a separate cast of skeletons, much loved by the artist as a shaping destroying force. Not comic but a pessimistic take of the Spirit of Carnival.Ensor was enthusiastic about the differentiated crowd, policemen, judges, toffs in different hats and uniforms, all together advancing towards their Fate.

Breughel, Faith, engraving c 1559, with the central figure focus of the Fides on the tomb, to the right quiet hooded shapes and to the left more animated groups engaged in action rather than contemplation

Breughel, The Fight of the Money Bags and the Strong Boxes c1567, and a satire on the relationship between war, money and violence, Breughel using repeated volumes of figure unit traced over with spears and swords at an angle. Blood spills but in the shape of coins on the ground.

Breughel, The Wedding Dance engraving; sixty figures cavort in a restricted space.A curious parody of a religious crowd with Christ figure at the centre c1566 -trees act as sturdy foils on the flanks of the group.



LOUIS BOITARD, Crowd of the Foolish fleeing reports of an Earthquake 1715-16


Gathering Shells by Low Tide , print by Kuniyoshi 1855

Poster for La Foule, film 1928



London, Paddington Station 1950

Welcoming the first woman to swim the English Channel

as apples, from Fulop Miller

gymnasts from Fulop Miller

Nazi Peasant Festival from Fulop Miller

Crowds outside St.Peter's Rome waiting for the Pope, photograph from Fulop Miller, and a variant to the milling throng. I like the way the image can read a a series of bands of different energies of crowd behaviour, caught between ranks of Swiss guards, a band of figures (clerics ?) separating the clustered figures of the crowd from the central focus, the Pope on his throne held aloft. The colonnades of St.Peter's add a curved stress to the upper left of the image. It can be read as calligraphic flourish.

Illustrated London News, Sept.11 1926 St.Giles' Fair Oxford which the source proclaims " a sedate and slow-moving English crowd" set against the hysterical show biz crowds of America. The movement is indeed sedate but easing through the avenue between the attractions. Compared to the Sarg poster above, an interesting exercise of pictorial sluggishness, emphasising the role of the illustrator to distill and select.