Oil on canvas. 64 x 50 cm
Still Life. Undated
Oil on canvas. 45 x 50 cm
W J G BELING
1907 - 1977
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.