March 15 – November 15, 2023
A Pictorial Sequence Painted by R. H. Ives Gammell Based on The Hound of Heaven series is inspired by a 182-line religious poem by English poet Francis Thompson (1859–1907). The poem was first printed in 1890 and was later included in the Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse (1917). Thompson’s work was an influence on J. R. R. Tolkien, who presented a paper on Thompson in 1914.
R.H. Ives Gammell, an American painter of the Boston school, was drawn to the poem from childhood. But where in Thompson’s poem a man is pursued by God, Gammell’s interpretation reflected not so much a religious conversion but “a history of the experience known as a mental breakdown.”
Gammell began making plans to execute the pictorial sequence during World War II and completed the work in 1956. The 23 large paintings incorporate symbols drawn from C.G. Jung, ancient and medieval cultures, and biblical and mythological sources. For Gammell, Jung’s work had provided the link between “myths, symbols, and poetic imagery, and the perpetually recurring emotional patterns of human life from which they evolved.” The paintings were last displayed together at Maryhill in 2013.
I … Panel I from A Pictorial Sequence by R.H. Ives Gammell Based on “The Hound of Heaven,” 1941–1956, oil on board, 79” x 31”; Gift of the R.H. Ives Gammell Studios Trust, Collection of Maryhill Museum of Art, 2000.14.2