Class of Summer 1940
George Thompson Pritchard
b. Havelock, New Zealand, 1878
d. Reseda, California, 1962
Nearing Home (or Brothers to the Ox), c. 1914
Oil on canvas
34 x 44 inches
The subdued colors and loose brushwork in George Thompson Pritchard’s Nearing Home are characteristic of the Barbizon School, to which Pritchard was exposed as a protégé of Sir Alfred Edward East, a member of the Royal Academy. In the painting, a strong wind blows and rain beats down on a man with a large bundle on his back as he walks along a drainage ditch accompanied by his dog and a horse hauling a log. While Nearing Home expertly suggests the misery of fighting against nature to survive, it may also suggest the artist’s personal battles in the face of long odds. The artist may have completed the painting soon after he had lost his right arm; the trauma of losing a limb, especially for a painter, would have been profound. The GHS Class of 1940 could probably relate to Pritchard’s difficulties, as they grew up during the worst of the Great Depression in an agricultural community with its own set of grave problems.
GIFTED: Collecting the Art of California at Gardena High School, 1919-1956 is organized by the GHS Art Collection, Inc, in association with the Gardena High School Student Body and curated by Susan M. Anderson.