In 1989 , towards the end of his autobiography A Slice of Life, Norman summarised his thoughts during some moments of reflection about his life and work.
I believe that in some way I have been influenced by almost every picture that I have ever looked at. I have been much influenced by the work of the important masters: Rembrandt’s drawings, early Van Gogh, Bruegel, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, and maybe Lowry, to name but a few. However I have resisted being swamped by their influences, utilising their influence instead as an education in mental and visual awareness.
Edgar Degas (1837-1917) was a French artist famous for his pastel drawings and oil paintings of ballerinas. Degas also produced bronze sculptures, prints and drawings. He was one of the founders of Impressionism, although he preferred to be called a realist, with his observations of contemporary life and activities.
A print by Degas – Combing the Hair, used to hang on the wall outside of Norman’s studio at Whitworth Terrace in Spennymoor. Inspired by Degas, the ‘dry media’ of charcoal, chalks and pastels became Norman’s favourite media in his portraits and some large works. By the age of twelve, Norman’s daughter Ann was accustomed to posing for her father in many different situations. Ann in Red Shoes.
Throughout the centenary year, an interesting range of themed exhibitions is planned in order to commemorate Norman’s life and to celebrate his work.
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