London Art Week (LAW) has developed into a major showcase of the best that the art market has to offer, with over fifty participating galleries and three auction houses.
LAW offers visitors – whether seasoned collectors, museum curators, scholars, or those simply interested in learning more about art – an unparalleled assemblage of several centuries of art to admire, learn about, and purchase.
Discover all artworks and online winter exhibitions from the world’s leading pre-contemporary galleries at London Art Week Digital, from Friday 27 November to Friday 11 December.
Barrels in a Yard, c.1955
Oil on canvas
47.5 x 35 cm.
Signed lower right
Osborne Samuel, London
During the mid-1950s Clough’ s renowned interest in industrial themes dominated her subject matter. Working harbours such as Lowestoft, lorry drivers, print making technicians at the London art schools where she taught, and manual workers peopled her compositions. These labourers were however generic, rather than individualistic and were intimately connected with their working environments. The solitary figure in Barrels in a Yard focuses attention at compositional mid-point and acts as guardian of the encased freight being processed in the yard. Further site-specific details are absent, so we could be at a dockyard, a pub, a factory or an unloading bay. The palette is similarly restricted, in this example to a dirty cream and blue-grey scheme that tonally unifies the picture, the sole chromatic highlight provided by the circular acid yellow of one of the barrels. The spatial context is also established through a dark grey foreground column at right that pushes the rest of the picture back into a distanced atmospheric recess.
It is clear that Clough commonly subjected the thematic material of her art to a stringent formalist criterion; in other words specific figurative sources were almost afterthoughts – a kind of iconographic camouflage – grafted onto the main abstract idea. The interplay between the mysterious and the overtly commonplace gives a compelling ambiguity to Clough’ s work, the popularity of which continues to grow with time. Perhaps this appeal is based on Michael Harrison’ s contention that Clough’ s, “painting language was not just that of a painter, but also of a wartime cartographer, a graphic designer in her youth and a life-long printmaker”.
Reclining Figures, 1943
Pencil, charcoal, wax crayons, pen, ink & wash on paper
45.6 x 64.7 cm.
Signed & dated lower left 'Moore 43' & with various inscriptions by the artist
Private Collection, Chicago (acquired before 1950 & thence by descent)
Private Collection, USA
Ann Garrould (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Drawings, vol.3, 1940-49, Aldershot, 2001, no.AG43.107; HMF 2156, ills.p.196
Stanford, Iris & B Gerald Cantor Centre for Visual Arts, Stanford University, on loan, March 2000
This drawing is reminiscent of a work from the same period Reclining Figures: Ideas for Stone Sculpture, 1944, in which each figure appears in an individual pod in a subterranean setting, recalling the mysterious fascination that caves in hillsides and cliffs held for the artist. Moore’s interest in underground landscapes had previously been expressed in his ‘Shelter Drawings’ series of 1941, depicting figures taking refuge in the London Underground during the Blitz, and in his coal mining drawings of the same year.
An Orchard by the Railway, 1945
Pen, ink, wash and gouache on paper
29 x 38 cm.
Signed and dated in pencil in the lower right of the painting. Inscribed on verso 'An orchard by the railway' / 'Gouache 1945' by the artist.
Gift from Vaughan to his friend the American artist Bernard Perlin (1918-2014)
Sir Jeffrey Tate
For the later part of the war Vaughan was stationed at Eden Camp, near Malton, in Yorkshire. Army life precluded him setting up a functioning studio in his barracks. Despite this significant limitation, he was determined to continue painting and reduced both the scale and the materials with which he worked. He produced a series of small paintings in gouache with additions of mixed media and described this combination as ‘ a volatile medium’ .
Vaughan’ s paintings from this period record his daily life in the army, the landscape around him and, occasionally, the activities of the local farmers, sowers and fruit-pickers. Schoolboys and young children also feature in his compositions, frequently accompanied by older figures, (see Yorkshire Lane with Figures, 1945, Orchard Scene with Boys Wrestling, 1945, Man and Child on the Moors, 1946). Here the two boys have been gathering fruit from the apple tree behind them. One has filled his wheelbarrow and the other holds his crop of fruit in his hands. An old man accompanies them, his walking stick in one hand as he raises up his other hand in surprise. All three have stopped in their tracks and look towards us, as though we have startled them. This viewer interaction is notable since it is an uncommon feature in Vaughan’ s work. The reason for it is explained in a letter from him to John Minton written from Eden Camp in July 1945:
Actually I’ ve been sparring around with some paintings lately. There’ s a wheelbarrow full of weeds and two people. The sun is shining. There is a gardener and two children in an orchard looking up at a passing train…here are the ochre and umber washes. Here comes the nervous sensitive line.
Translucent inky washes in the background contrast with the more detailed passages of drawing on the figures and tree. We are reminded of the ink drawings and paintings of trees and orchards by Samuel Palmer that were such an influence on the Neo-Romantic painters at this time. However, there is something more disturbing and unsettling in Vaughan’ s. Paintings such as An Orchard by the Railway contain neurotic atmospheres as though they represent scenes taken from a dream. The anxieties and uncertainties of the war, of course, add to this effect, as did Vaughan’ s troubled emotional life.