Page last updated at 07:06 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Rolf Harris to open Sir Kyffin Williams exhibition

Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris is an admirer of Sir Kyffin's work

Painter and TV personality Rolf Harris will open a gallery's latest exhibition by one of Wales' most celebrated artists, the late Sir Kyffin Williams.

The exhibition at Oriel Ynys Môn in Llangefni, Anglesey, will feature the Anglesey artist's portrait work.

It runs from 6 February to 11 July and will be opened on 5 February by Harris, a long-time admirer of Sir Kyffin.

He has previously said he used to seek out Sir Kyffin's paintings at Royal Academy exhibitions.

Harris, whose family comes from Merthyr Tydfil, was also present at the opening of Galeri Ianto in Llanfaes, near Beaumaris, last year.

The gallery was created in a house where Sir Kyffin once lived.

The new exhibition, which includes paintings which have never been shown together, features work from Oriel Ynys Môn's own collection as well as portraits from other collections.

These include the National Portrait Gallery and the Southbank Centre, both in London, and National Museum Wales.

"This exhibition allows us to meet those people who were so much a part of Kyffin's world," said Pat West, principal officer for museums, culture and archives at Isle of Anglesey County Council.

Sir Kyffin Williams
Sir Kyffin Williams was "unable to resist" the portrait

Sir Kyffin, whose portraits include eminent Welsh figures, women and children, once said some of his best work had been of "the many interesting faces I have painted".

"The people of Wales have always appeared to me to have an unusual curiosity about their fellow men, so it is strange that we have produced so few portrait painters," he said.

"I have never considered myself to be one of these but over the past 50 years I have been unable to resist the challenge of the portrait.

"I too have been obsessed by people and have always presumed that this has been because so many of my forebears were persons who ministered to the needs of their parishioners.

"Every portrait I have painted has been a considerable strain for nothing comes easily to me, but I believe that some of my best work has been of the many interesting faces I have painted."

Sir Kyffin, who died of cancer in September 2006 aged 88, was widely regarded as the leading Welsh artist of his generation.

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