Landscape.   1968
Oil on canvas.  64 x 50 cm

 

Still Life.  Undated
Oil on canvas.  45 x 50 cm

W J G BELING

1907 - 1977

   Retrospective Exhibition

A friend of Lionel Wendt, a founder member of the '43 Group, William James Geoffrey Beling was born on 22 September 1907 at Gampola.

His father W W Beling was a painter.  He went to India in 1926 to study architecture at Sir J J School of Art , Bombay; at the same school he found the opportunity to study art during his free time.  He returned to Sri Lanka in 1928 and started a private school at Havelock Town devoting more of his time to painting.

Beling was fascinated by the pictorial innovation of Cubism developed by Braque and Picasso.  Paintings of Beling done in the early 1930's bear a striking similarity to those of Keyt in the use of pure colour, simplification of forms to their basic volumes, and the faceting of objects.  He exhibited with Keyt in 1930 and 1932.

In 1931 C F Winzer wrote; "Beling's landscapes are admirably constructed and his handling of the endless variety of greens seen in tropical nature is an achievement in itself.  His figures are more angular than those of Keyt, and their movements less varied.  Both, however, in their efforts are at one to express volume and construction in their canvasses - qualities in which modern art, in Asia, particularly India, is so deficient". (The Studio 1931, P.62).

Beling was a constant associate of C F Winzer, inspector of of Art in Schools.   After Winzer's departure from the island Beling assumed duties as the Chief Inspector of Art and from about 1945 he stopped painting completely.  At the expense of his own creative work Beling devoted a great deal of his time in the development of art education in schools based on spontaneous creative expression.

Albert Dharmasiri