The London Art Fair returns at last to the Business Design Centre, and the gallery will be exhibiting a group of new modern British acquisitions alongside contemporary works by gallery artists. We have acquired some significant paintings and sculptures which will be on show for the first time including works from an important private collection which has been consigned to the gallery. We have a busy programme from now on, beginning with the London Original Print Fair this year at Somerset House from 26 to 29 May. We have a Modern British exhibition at the gallery in June as well as TEFAF art fair in Maastricht and Masterpiece in Chelsea at the end of June. Matt Bradbury is joining the team on April 19th so busy times ahead. We have some tickets available for the art fair so contact the gallery if you would like to visit: firstname.lastname@example.org
43 x 7.8 x 5.5 cm.
Private Collection, USA
Osborne Samuel, London
Private Collection, UK
Grieve, The Sculpture of Robert Adams, published by The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, 1992, no. 422 (Opus 184), p.207
Gimpel fils, 1962, no.30
After art college training with interruptions, Adams had done his war service as an engineer, teaching himself to carve wood at the end of the war. His first sculptures in wood, plaster and eventually also stone bore some resemblance to the anthropomorphic vertical forms of Moore, veering between hollowed out rounded, meshed forms and assemblies of stacked irregularly shaped blocks, demonstrating an a mastery of matters of weight and balance in his forms, inspite of the deliberate asymmetry of his figures. In the spirit of Moore’s ‘truth to material’ credo, Adams’ showed particular sensitivity to the grain and structure of wood, just as he would in the way he exploited the natural properties of the metal forms he used in later works.
An interest in architecture and collaborating with architects would influence his direction towards ‘construction’, and in that sense, by 1952 he stood out in Read’s selection of sculptors for that Venice Biennale as the closest to ‘geometry’ but the furthest from ‘fear’. For the ensuing five years, beginning with the series of exhibitions at the painter Adrian Heath’s flat at 22 Fitzroy Street in London in 1952, Adams would exhibit with the Constructivists in a group around Victor Pasmore, Mary and Kenneth Martin, and Anthony Hill, but his work remained closer to the lyrical abstraction of Heath’s painting rather than the strict geometric discipline being developed by the others. Adams’ ‘Vertical Construction’ of 1951 still had superficial similarities with Butler’s contemporary work – its verticality of course, but also transparency and the appearance of drawing in space – but already the irregular stacking of shaped planes anticipated Adams’ spare, measured use of flat or curved linear forms.
While continuing to work in wood and stone in the early 1950’s he also learnt to weld, and began to exploit iron in its basic form of rods and sheets in order to assemble architecturally frontal sculptures. These would work as screens of reliefs rather than free-standing sculptures in the round. With one of his largest works to date, a free-standing relief called ‘Monolithic Form’ which foreshadows several works in the 1960’s such as ‘Vertical Screen Form’ and indeed ‘Opus 145’, Adams explained: ‘Monolithic Form is an attempt to create outdoor sculpture using simple abstract forms in relationship, the forms themselves creating the ‘life’ by their opposition to each other, as well as giving directions to certain thrusts and movements within the main form. These heavy angular forms were intended to contrast with and oppose the landscape rather than become one with it’.
Of the 1952 Venice sculptors, only Paolozzi and Adams would participate in the now famous exhibition ‘This is Tomorrow’ at the I.C.A. in 1956. Adams collaborated with Frank Newby, Peter Carter and the architect Colin St John Wilson on a convex entrance ‘tunnel’ incorporating geometric elements in relief to form a sculptured three-dimensional, architectural environment. In 1957 Adams explained that as a consequence of this collaboration; ‘during the past year, forms in my work have changed from rectangular to curvilinear; solid mass and weight has given way to light linear forms and curved planes, and a fresh element – counterbalance – has appeared’.
This counterbalancing is seen in its fullest realization in the commission for a giant concrete relief screen to run the length of the new theatre in Gelsenkirchen in Germany, completed in 1969. In it Adams’ angled projecting and receding elements create a measured rhythm of light and shadow, and of movement and stasis on a truly monumental scale.
150 x 42 x 34 cm.
Stamped with the Artist's monogram, stamped with the foundry mark Susse Fondeur Paris and numbered from the edition of 8 (on the base)
Edition of 8
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
Private Collection (acquired from the above)
Private Collection (acquired from the above)
Osborne Samuel, London
Reg Butler: Sculpture and Drawings 1954-1958 (exh. cat), New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, 1959, illustrated no. 17
Reg Butler: A Retrospective Exhibition (exh. cat), Louisville, J. B. Speed Art Museum, 1963, illustrated no.71
Walter Strachan, Open Air Sculpture in Britain: A Comprehensive Guide, Zwemmer Ltd., Tate Publications, London, 1984, no. 444 (as Girl with Arm Raised, another cast)
Penelope Curtis, Sculpture in 20th Century Britain, Vol. II, A Guide To Sculptors In The Leeds Collection, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2003, illustrated p. 31 (another cast)
Margaret Garlake, The Sculpture of Reg Butler, The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2006, no. 178, illustrated p. 150 (another cast)
London, Hanover Gallery, Reg Butler, May – June 1957, no. 37 (another cast)
Nottingham, Castle Museum, Contemporary British Sculpture, 25 May – 15 June 1957, no. 4 (another cast), with Arts Council Tour
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Reg Butler: Sculpture and Drawings 1954-1958, February 1959, no. 17, illustrated in the catalogue (another cast)
London, Hanover Gallery, Reg Butler: Sculpture, 9 June – 8 July 1960, no. 25 (another cast)
Louisville, J.B. Speed Art Museum, Reg Butler: A Retrospective Exhibition, 22 October – 1 December 1963, no. 71 (another cast)
London, Tate, Reg Butler, 16 November 1983 – 15 January 1984, no. 56 (another cast)
Female figures form by far the largest part of Butler’s subject matter in the 1950s, and the image of the figure wrestling with a piece of clothing, a chemise or a vest, is one that captivated his imagination.This figure, Girl, speaks of determination and thrusting energy. The sensual female body is lifted off the ground on a grid, a feature of Butler’s female figures during the decade. The curves rise through the torso to the shoulders and left arm, which are tensely constrained about the figure’s neck by a piece of material. Out of this struggle flies the vertical right arm punctuated by a clenched fist which thrusts towards the heavens. This passage from sensual freedom to constraint to release presents conflicting forces and astounding impact.
The figure’s head is thrown back so that her view follows the strong vertical of her arm. Her face is calm and resolute, and removed from the torment of Butler’s early 1950s sculptures such as The Oracle, 1952 and Circe Head, 1952-3. The image of the figure looking to the sky can be traced back to three figures, the ‘Watchers’, which populate Butler’s maquette of 1951-2, which won the international competition for a Monument to the Unknown Political Prisoner. Butler recalled one source of inspiration for the upward-looking figures to be ‘heads looking up into the sky’ to watch de Havilland test flights at Hatfield (Tate, Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1978-80, p.74, quoted in Margaret Garlake, The Sculpture of Reg Butler, The Henry Moore Foundation in association with Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2006, p.134).
Butler’s interest in the writings of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein suggests that the dichotomy between the opposing forces of sensuality and brutality in Butler’s representation of female forms noted by John Berger in 1954 would seem to have some grounds. Artistically, comparisons can be drawn with the surrealist treatment of the female figure by artists greatly admired by Butler, such as Hans Bellmer. Perhaps more revealing are connections with two artists of Butler’s own generation, Francis Bacon and Germaine Richier, both of whose work seeks to explore the boundaries at which the human form loses its human qualities. Indeed all three exhibited with the Hanover Gallery in London, and Margaret Garlake suggests that Butler’s viewing of Richier’s 1955 Hanover Gallery exhibition may have led to his re-engagement with the theme the following year.
Cloaked Couple V, 1977
51 x 35 x 45 cm.
Signed and numbered 'CHADWICK 763S, stamped with the foundry mark (on the cloak of the female figure) and numbered
Edition of 9
The Artist, thence by family descent
Osborne Samuel Gallery, London
Dennis Farr & Éva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick, Sculptor, With a Complete Illustrated Catalogue 1947-1996, Lypiatt Studio, Stroud, 1997,p.314, cat.no.763S
Edinburgh, Mercury Gallery, Lynn Chadwick, 25 February-31March 1983, cat.no.9 (another cast)
Cloaked Couple V conceived in 1977 demonstrates how by joining together the male and female figures Chadwick was able to explore the ideas of tenderness and intimacy in his paired sculptures. With the separated couples the owners’ can determine their positioning and relationship to one another; they can be controlled and expressed in a myriad of ways. But with the fusing of the bronze cloaks, at a position where the lower arms and hands meet underneath, an unbreakable bond is created between the sexes which is first established in Chadwick’s mature phase in his life-size Two Reclining Figures (1972). The emphasis shifts, as the 1970s progress and the technique developed, to an emotional level, where the figures’ humanity is realised in new terms. With Cloaked Couple V the subtleties of the woman’s stretched neck and positioning of face leaning into her companion imply a moment of privacy and dialogue is occurring which, as viewers, we are privileged to share.
Michael Bird comments on Chadwick’s work from this time:
‘His increasing tendency to interpret his work in terms of human relationship, rather than formal balance, begins to be audible. “Presences” was how he referred to his new figure sculptures; they were about being, not doing: “I used to call them Watchers, but no longer. Sometimes they are not watching anything. What they are doing is illustrating a relationship – a physical relationship – between people”. It was through this relationship, not through purely formal or allusive qualities, that he wanted his sculptures to speak: “If you can get their physical attitudes right you can spell out a message”‘ (Michael Bird, Lynn Chadwick, Lund Humphries, Farnham, Surrey, 2014, p.147).
Sitting Couple, 1990
65 x 69 x 61 cm.
Inscribed 'C107 1/9 P.E'
Edition of 9
Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Chicago, 2004
Private Collection, USA, May 2004
Dennis Farr and Eva Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick: Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, no. C107, illustrated p. 409
Feico Hoekstra, Loes Visch, Teo van den Brink, eds., Exhibition Catalogue, Zwolle, Museum de Fundatie, Giacometti-Chadwick: Facing Fear, 2018, illustrated in colour p. 150
Another work from this edition has been included in: Zwolle, Museum de Fundatie, Giacometti-Chadwick: Facing Fear, September 2018 – January 2019
I noticed some stainless steel sculptures in Miami once, by the sea, and they looked very shiny and bright and wonderful. While if you had things with any iron in them at all [in those circumstances] they looked dilapidated and rusty. So I thought I’d try stainless steel. ¹
Having embarked on his adventure with a new material, it was natural that Chadwick should see what happened when he used it to create some of his established archetypes, like the Sitting Couple. They are superficially similar to the monumental bronze couples of the 1980’s but the forms in stainless steel are crisper and sharper throughout. The planes of polished stainless steel reflect every change in colour and light that surround them, imbuing the surface with a vitality that shifts with the line of sight.
¹Edward Lucie-Smith, Chadwick, puplished by Lypiatt Studio, 1997, p. 131
Twister II, 1962
109 x 34 x 23 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition of 4 on the edge of the base
Edition of 4
A.M. Hammacher, Modern English Sculpture, London, 1967, p. 113, another cast illustrated.
D. Farr and E. Chadwick, Lynn Chadwick Sculptor, Aldershot, 2006, p. 186, no. 367, another cast illustrated
Brussels, Galerie Withofs, Lynn Chadwick, October – November 1969, not numbered, another cast exhibited
Twister I held in The Tate Gallery Collection, London
The two sculptures that constitute the Twister Series were both conceived in 1962. According to Tony Reichardt, working at the Marlborough Gallery at this time, Twister I, which is a unique piece made from welded steel, was a response to the expiry of his contract with the gallery. In 1960 Chadwick had signed a two year deal with Marlborough and although very lucrative he found it demanding. He celebrated this freedom by creating a series of unique pieces, rather than editioned bronzes, to fulfil an exhibition schedule.
The Twister Series are clearly related to the Watchers that Chadwick had been producing from 1959 and ‘stand observant but undemonstrative, sinister, armless beings … the Watchers seem to be tensed; waiting, aware that something is going to happen.’ (A. Bowness, Lynn Chadwick, London, 1962)
Twister II appears to have the same physical attributes as the Watchers, however, Chadwick has marginally offset the three blocks that make up the abstracted figure. Rather than ‘tensed and waiting’ these subtle changes give the piece a sense of movement, even dance; a restrained joviality. The surface maintains the impression of welded unrefinement, so important in his earlier work, despite being cast in bronze.
Is this work Chadwick celebrating the cutting of gallery ties or maybe a response to an experience he had as Artist in Residence at Ontario College of Art during 1962? He himself maintained that he gave his works the titles after he had created them and he famously did not interpret his own sculptures, stating that ‘Art must be the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the imagination and translated by the artist’s ability and skill … Whatever the final shape, the force behind … indivisible. When we philosophize upon this force we lose sight of it. The intellect alone is too clumsy to grasp it’ (A. Bowness, ibid.)
The estate of the artist has confirmed that this example was cast prior to 1974.
Forest Floor, 1988
Oil on Canvas
142 x 117 cm.
Signed in oil verso
Annely Juda Fine Art, London
Thence by descent
Clough’s title offers few clues as to how we might interpret her painting Forest Floor. In many ways she presents us with a visual puzzle and a challenge to untangle and decode her enigmatic forms. This is frequently the case with her work since titles usually occurred to her while she was in the process of painting or even long after she had completed a picture. While it may often appear to be abstract, she repeatedly stated that her subject matter was essentially based on some kind of observation:
Nothing that I do is ‘abstract’. I can locate all the ingredients of a painting in the richness of the outside world, the world of perception.
Clough generally worked in a conventional manner and with orthodox materials. For example, she made detailed preparatory studies as she began work on a painting. However, her paintings are also the products of several layers of experience and ritual. Her creative stages included aspects of observation, filtered memory, accumulated understanding and hands-on experimentation with materials. She claimed that it was landscape, in particular, which was the root of her imagery and all her painted forms, no matter how strange or ambiguous, were derived from observation or memory of some kind of landscape:
I see my subject mainly as landscape, but the kind of landscape I am dealing with is something I can not match up to…I have the mind of a northern romantic which tends towards the atmospheric…This may be the wind and the weather of English and not just northern romanticism.
Forest Floor is one of Clough’s most romantic paintings. The scraping away of pigment from the surface of canvas has formed a set of dark, curious shapes rising up from the lower edge of the composition. These organic forms, suggestive of undergrowth, demonstrate that the removal of pigment in her work creates as much pictorial interest as does its application. She has capitalized on chance marks and harnessed accidental smudges, stains and smears transforming them into landscape elements and combining them with the suggestion of a moonlit scene or reflections in blue water. Here and there, the application of a luminous colour sings out from the configuration of shadowy, tangled forms.
Shepherd in a Landscape, c.1942
Gouache and ink on paper
37.7 x 57.6 cm.
The Estate of The Artist
Osborne Samuel Gallery
When the Second World War was building, in the spring and summer of 1939, John Craxton was having a whale of a time. He was 16, dropping in on life-drawing classes and enjoying the freedom of Paris. Forced home to London by a parental clamour, he was then trapped on a besieged island for the next six and a half years. In such confinement his art exploded.
Having left school as soon as he could, and with not a single qualification, he went his own way as an artist – accepting even art tuition very sparingly. He learned by looking – haunting museums and galleries – and by the company he kept. The patronage of Horizon magazine founder Peter Watson led him to the influences of Samuel Palmer and William Blake, to mentors Graham Sutherland and John Piper and to his brother in art, Lucian Freud. He was fighting against convention and illness – escaping military service due to undiagnosed tuberculosis that left him painfully thin and often struggling for breath. But through all this pressure, he worked and partied on.
John Craxton’s war-time art emerged in melancholic symbols hailed as highlights of Neo-Romantic Art (a label he hated): lonely cottages vulnerable to bombs, torn-out tree roots stranded in estuaries and, most especially, solitary figures in menaced landscapes. Drawn from life, this highly idiosyncratic art was essentially shaped in a singular imagination as a social animal pictured himself in every guise of isolation.
And so he drew and painted shepherds, sailors, dreamers, poets and dancers, each one in some kind of internal exile – and all of them emblematic images of himself. They are escaping, not into the bucolic paradise of Palmer and Blake, but into the refuge of their own heads. Based on backdrops in Dorset, Pembrokeshire and finally the Isles of Scilly, they are dreaming of further physical flight. They are also models of resilience.
By the age of 20 John Craxton had developed a masterly economy which he was learning from Picasso and Miro, in a burgeoning linear art with fastidious use of colour (expensive and in short supply). He worked predominantly on paper because canvas could not always be afforded – though old pictures bought in batches at auction were sometimes overpainted. This shepherd in landscape, wrought in pared-back blue and black, and with the bare homestead to which the figure seems disconnected as his gaze fixes on an invisible horizon, is a gem of Craxton’s yearning youthful art. He will escape as quickly as he can – and the Mediterranean is already in mind.
Young Man with Cigarette, 1961
Acrylic on polyfilla on board
122 x 61 cm.
Signed lower right. Inscribed `Standing Figure' verso
Leicester Galleries, London
Julius Fleischmann Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (purchased from the above)
Mr & Mrs Nicholas Lott
Private Collection, UK
Ian Collins , John Craxton , Lund Humphries, London, 2011, Cat No 152 (illus p123)
In our May 2018 exhibition John Craxton in Greece – The Unseen Works we showed an earlier version of the same subject, the same young man minus the cigarette, the same pose with his left leg raised on a
grey block, right hand on his hip and his left elbow resting on his left knee. His tee-shirt is dark blue with white stripes and his trousers are grey. It is signed and dated 1959. Craxton spent Christmas of 1959 with his close friend the Greek artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas (1906-1994), known as Nikos
Ghika, in an 18th century ancestral mansion built by his great-greatgreat-grandfather above the fishing village of Kaminia on the island of Hydra.
Ghika invited numerous artists, writers and performers to stay for protracted periods, among them Patrick Leigh Fermor (Paddy) who wrote Mani, his acclaimed travel book there and arranged a studio for John Craxton to use on his visits (where he also designed the book cover). The three men remained the closest of friends and their work and lives were celebrated in the 2018 British Museum exhibition Charmed Lives in Greece.
During the 1959 Hydra visit the builders at Ghika’s house had some unused plaster that Craxton put to good use. He frequently used whatever was at hand and the plaster fitted his curiosity for texture and technique while embarking on a painterly voyage of discovery – in this case building a relief on board by applying the plaster with various tools and then painting the figure in tempera. His love of classical sculpture and ancient reliefs is manifested here in a monumental image of a modern young man.
In 1960 Craxton moved to a ruined Venetian-Ottoman house onthe Cretan harbour of Chania, a thriving port and former islandcapital well-known for its vibrant atmosphere. Below his new homewere the tavernas and bars frequented by off-duty sailors and locallabourers who became the artist’s companions and models in hiswork. This second relief emerged again from left-over plaster duringthe renovation of the Chania home just like the 1959 portrait. In thisversion, the young man has a white tee-shirt and off-white trousersand holds the same pose with the addition of a cigarette depictedwhere the white plaster remained unpainted and the previous greybox has been substituted by a low side-table or stool.Both pictures were exhibited at Craxton’s 1961 exhibition at theLeicester Galleries. This final version was bought by the Julius Fleischmann Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA where it remained fordecades before being repatriated.
The Sea and the Staircase, Moon Bay, Night, 2010
Oil on canvas
120.75 x 200 cm.
Signed twice, inscribed with title and '(for Roy)', and dated 6/10. Signed, inscribed with title and dimensions, and dated 2010 on stretcher.
‘Chris Beetles Summer Show’, 2011, No 33;
‘Keith Grant: Metamorphosis’, Chris Beetles Gallery, April-May 2016, No 57
Oval Theme I, 1956
Oil, polyfilla and hessian on hardboard
80 x 61 cm.
Redfern Gallery, London (from the above)
Private Collection, UK (purchased from the above, 2001)
Osborne Samuel Gallery
Adrian Heath, at the centre of a small group of British avant-garde artists in the 1950s, was responsible for compiling Nine Abstract Artists (1954): a book including statements by the artists concerned – himself, Robert Adams, Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Kenneth and Mary Martin, Victor Pasmore and William Scott – while contextualising their work in the development of abstract art since the 1930s. The publication was preceded by three exhibitions mounted in Heath’s studio at Fitzroy Street, London, where paintings and sculpture were displayed in a stylish, quasi-domestic environment.
Photographs of the first exhibition, in March 1952, show two oval paintings by Kenneth Martin and Victor Pasmore, a format that Heath would adopt for a series made between 1956 and 1959. For Heath, the origin lay in D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s book, On Growth and Form (1917), which demonstrated the ubiquity of spiral structures in nature. Oval Theme (1) builds outwards from a central red wedge, unfurling through larger slabs of colour towards the edge of the composition. The materiality of the work – incorporating hessian and Polyfilla – endows it with a tough physicality.
In Nine Abstract Artists, Heath identified the importance of the size and format of the area to be painted, as well as his intention that colours and forms should bear evidence of their transitions, becoming richer through the process. As he wrote,
The thing of interest is the actual life of the work: its growth from a particular white canvas or board.
With Oval Theme (1), the relatively large scale and unusual format directed the evolution of the composition.
 Adrian Heath, ‘Statement’ in Lawrence Alloway: Nine Abstract Artists: their work and theory (London: Alec Tiranti, 1954).
 Adrian Heath, letter (1 February 1971), in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972 (London: Tate Gallery, 1972).
Yellows and Browns Interlocking with Soft Cadmium (Blue Flash), 1968
58.39 x 77.5 cm.
Inscribed 'Patrick Heron,' titled and dated October 1968 verso
Gimpel Gallery, New York
Private collection USA
The Prudential Assurance Company of America
Osborne Samuel Gallery
Patrick Heron’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, in summer 1972, blazed with colour. Focusing on paintings from the last fifteen years, it contrasted sombre reds, on one side of the gallery, against oranges, grass-greens and scarlets on the other. As Hilary Spurling recalled, The space between seems to pulse with colour – so much so that, as one rounds a corner … it is as though one had stepped from a clear, sunny day into a pool of firelight. 1
In the catalogue text, Heron wrote specifically about his use of colour in these recent paintings, conjecturing, ‘Perhaps I am the first wobbly hard-edge painter?’ 2 An eloquent art critic himself, Heron juxtaposed adjectives knowingly. ‘Hard-edge’, a term coined in the United States in 1959 for paintings characterised by areas of flat, cleanly delimited colour, was subverted instantly by ‘wobbly’, thus drawing attention to a critical aspect of Heron’s work. The scintillating colours of Yellows and Browns Interlocking with Soft Cadmium (Blue Flash) intensify by virtue of their blurred edges. Amorphous forms – keyholes, seeking to enclose and subsume– float upon the colour ground: orange, greens, browns and blue against red. At the aqueous margin of these shapes, a fringe of interference appears. Heron was fascinated to observe the effect of this frontier, particularly when its edges were freely, intuitively, drawn. As the eye travels, the spatial position of adjacent colour-areas appears to alternate, as first one side, then the other, comes to the fore.
1.Hilary Spurling, ‘East-End flame-thrower’, The Observer(25 June 1972), p. 28.
2.Patrick Heron, in Patrick Heron: recent paintings and selected earlier canvases (London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1972)
Panama Hat, 1972
Etching and aquatint
42 x 34 cm.
Signed, dated and numbered in pencil from the edition of 125
Edition of 125
Scottish Arts Council 127
David Hockney: Prints 1954-1995, published by the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 1996, no. 119, p.91
Total edition includes 15 proofs and 60 in Roman numerals. Printed on Crisbrook handmade paper. Proofed by Maurice Payne in London and printed from a chrome faced plate by Shirley Clement at the Print Shop, Amsterdam.
This still-life of a coat hanging off the back of a bentwood chair, with a panama hat, pipe and empty glass on the seat, depicts the personal effects of Hockney’s great friend and early champion, Henry Geldzahler (1935-1994), then curator of Twentieth Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum. Geldzahler was a regular sitter for Hockney.
Oil on canvas
71 x 91.5 cm.
Estate of the Artist
Osborne Samuel, London
Private Collection, UK
Catherine Kinley & Marco Livingstone ‘Peter Kinley’, 2010, illustrated page 15, no 11
Born in Austria to a Jewish father and Protestant German mother, Kinley was sent for safety to England in 1938, not seeing his parents again until 1946. He studied at Düsseldorf Academy (1948–9), then St Martin’s School of Art (1949–53), in 1951 receiving special mention in the annual exhibition of ‘Young Contemporaries’. The following February, at the Matthiesen Gallery, Kinley saw the first exhibition in Britain of paintings by Nicolas de Staël (1914–1955). Like so many British painters, Kinley was profoundly affected by de Staël’s work, neatly summarised by Basil Taylor as ‘mosaic-like pictures built from roughly shaped rectangles of pigment applied with an extraordinarily rich and varied impasto’. ₁ Just two years later, Gimpel Fils – one of London’s most prestigious venues for contemporary art – gave Kinley, still in his twenties, his first solo exhibition. ²
The New Year had barely begun, in 1957, when ‘Statements’ opened at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Aiming both to review the condition of British abstract art and to demonstrate the impact of the previous year’s ‘Modern Art in the United States’, at the Tate, the result was an almost defiant diversity. Twenty-one artists submitted a single work with a statement. Alan Davie wrote on Zen Buddhism, Kenneth and Mary Martin on the significance of mathematics; Barbara Hepworth wrote a poem. Kinley’s work, praised as among the best, was ‘luxuriously painted … containing a dilatorily conceived nude which had less “presence” than the paint’. ₃ His statement, meanwhile, assessed and dismissed the various stylistic options available: Action Painting as philosophically inadequate, and constructivist art as ‘only of academic interest’. ₄
Landscape (1957) shows Kinley at precisely this moment, retaining his commitment to the spirit of de Staël, and to art’s ‘subject’, however freely considered. He had submitted a seascape to the Contemporary Arts Society’s 1956 themed exhibition ‘The Seasons’, and would continue to explore the implications of placing a figure within an interior setting. In Landscape (1957), he depicts a coastal subject broadly in planes of blue-grey, pale gold, gunmetal and green. The structure and texture of the lowest elements – water, rock, hillside – are related with tactile exigency, the occasional drip drawing attention to their material surface. It is only with the sky that Kinley loosens his control of structure, paralleling the sweep of the landscape with strokes that materialise air’s movement and the glint, behind cloud, of light.
In the Arts Council’s collection is an earlier Seascape (1954), comparable in scale, and similarly juxtaposing blocks of blue, black and gold, but which suggests a more rigid approach to landscape. The slabs of colour are edged by black or white, thus hemming and confining their intensity. By contrast, Landscape (1957) has an exhilarating immediacy: undeniably structured, it uses paint to express the mass of landscape, the weight of the sea and lightness of air.
₁ Basil Taylor, ‘Limited Gift’, The Spectator, Vol. 196, Issue 6672 (11 May 1956), p. 655.
² ‘Paintings by Peter Kinley; Recent Paintings by Sandra Blow’, Gimpel Fils, London (May 1954).
₃ Robert Melville, ‘Exhibitions’, The Architectural Review, Vol. 121, No. 723 (April 1957), p. 269.
₄ Kinley, quoted in Margaret Garlake, New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, The Paul Mellow Centre for Studies in British Art, 1998), p. 59.
59 x 12.75 x 12.75 cm.
Initialled, titled and dated, underside of wooden base
The artist’s family
Osborne Samuel, London
Illustrated Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn (1985)
Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn (1985)
Crane Kalman Gallery, London (1986)
Gillian Jason Gallery, London (1990)
Bridge Gallery, Dublin (1997)
Penwith Gallery, St Ives (1996)
The context of St Ives, where Denis Mitchell lived from 1930 until the late 1960s, was critical to his creative development. Trained as a painter, he undertook piecemeal employment as his young family grew, working as a market gardener, fisherman and tin miner. In 1949 he became principal assistant to Barbara Hepworth, and that same year he carved the work he regarded as his first sculpture. Ballet Dancer, which was admired by Ben Nicholson, abstracts gently from the human form, rendering it as two stacked rhomboids, pierced to indicate the dancer’s angled legs and raised arms. From some angles a body is clearly discernible, but as it turns, the outline dissolves into abstraction, to become an exquisitely balanced combination of forms.
In 1952 Mitchell’s work was exhibited in ‘The Mirror and the Square’, at the New Burlington Galleries in London, alongside sculpture by Hepworth, Chadwick and Caro. The exhibition aimed to explore the urgent issues of realism versus abstraction, although its extent and diversity proved too great for most to draw any firm conclusions. Yet Mitchell’s adherence to abstraction was already clear. During his ten years as Hepworth’s principal assistant, he would hone his instinct for carving and the purity of form, exploring the abstract implications of enfolding, modular or asymmetrical structures, even when his titles implied figurative origins.
When Mitchell turned to bronze in the 1960s, by necessity using a local sand-casting foundry at St Just, he brought a remarkable degree of sophistication to the process, filing and polishing the somewhat rough casts to create sculptures that were both elegant and aesthetically unified. Patrick Heron, in his introduction to Mitchell’s exhibition at the Marjorie Parr Gallery in 1969, wrote,
… a Mitchell is a form, usually a single, rather streamlined form, enclosed as it were by a single skin … In such art, intuition and intellect are always inextricably locked. ₁
Roseveor (1985), a woodcarving, exemplifies this premise. The split monolith appeared as a formal device in Mitchell’s work in the early 1960s, around the same time that John Hoskin (like Mitchell, a one-time member of the artists’ cricket team at St Ives) was also exploring its form. Hoskin used welded steel to create a series of linear split columns. Mitchell, essentially a carver, created volumetric forms which curve and taper, ‘conceived’, as Heron recalled, ‘under the maker’s hand’. ₂
Mitchell had worked with assistants since the early 1960s, among them Breon O’Casey. By the mid-1980s his assistant was Tommy Rowe, like Mitchell a fisherman, a sculptor and former assistant to Hepworth. Mitchell returned to earlier sketchbooks for ideas, choosing those he now felt he could alter and perhaps improve. Roseveor thus relates to Argos (1974), as well as to Boscawen (1962), sculptures with an upright form and a characteristic ‘U’ or ‘V’ shape. Detecting in Mitchell’s sculpture an affinity with Nicholson, whose white reliefs were carved from a single piece of wood, then meticulously painted in coat after coat of Ripolin paint (‘always getting to the heart of things with practicalities’), O’Casey nonetheless discerned the greater influence of painters such as John Wells or Roger Hilton:
There is a shape of Roger Hilton’s, a large lump with two uneven horns, that you can see, for example in [Mitchell’s] Geevor, or Talland. ₃
Mitchell seldom used yew for his carvings, the only other known instance being Torso, dating from 1951. Yew possesses a characteristic warmth, orange-brown to purple in colour, with a natural lustre and pronounced grain that can be seen clearly in Roseveor. Consummately carved, Roseveor also evokes a primal quality, redolent of the non-western carvings Mitchell admired and collected.
₁ Patrick Heron, introduction to ‘Denis Mitchell: Exhibition of Sculpture’, exhibition catalogue (London: Marjorie Parr Gallery, 1969).
₂ Heron, introduction to ‘Denis Mitchell: Exhibition of Sculpture’.
₃ Breon O’Casey, in Denis Mitchell and Friends, exhibition catalogue (Dublin: The Bridge Gallery, 1997), p. 11.
Family Groups, 1944
Pencil, wax crayon, watercolour, pen & ink on paper
20.2 x 16.5 cm.
Signed & dated 'Moore/44' lower right, inscribed 'Family Group' upper centre & inscribed '21' upper right.
Private Collection, UK, 1954
James Kirkman, London
Piccadilly Gallery, London
Osborne Samuel, London
Ann Garrould (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Drawings, vol.3, 1940-49, Aldershot, 2001, no.AG44.20; HMF 2241a, p.214-215
From the Rescue Sketchbook, page 21. The early part of this sketchbook contains various studies for textile designs and family groups which may date to 1943. The latter part to preliminary sketches for The Rescue, a melodrama by Edward Sackville-West published in 1945 including reproductions of Moore’s drawings.
Maquette for Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points, 1969
9 x 13 x 6.5 cm.
Signed, numbered from the edition and stamped with foundry mark ' NOACK BERLIN' (on the back)
Edition of 9
Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London.
Private Collection USA, 1971, acquired from the above
Private Collection, UK
A. Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1964-73, London, 1977, p. 56, no. 604 (another cast illustrated, p. 57).
Monumental versions of Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points are in Kew Gardens, London; The Hofgarten, Dusseldorf; and Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.
The plaster model is at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
I found that form and space are one and the same thing. You can’t understand space without understanding form.
For example, in order to understand form in its complete three-dimensional reality you must understand the space that it would displace if it were taken away. You can’t measure a space without measuring from one point to another. The heavens have space that we can understand because there are points – the stars and sun – that are different distances away from each other. In the same way we can only see space in a landscape by relating the foreground and middle distance to the far distance. To understand the distance from my thumb to my forefinger needs exactly the same understanding as distances in landscape.
Alan Wilkinson (ed), ‘Henry Moore, Writings and Conversations,’ published by Lund Humphries, 2002, p.206
Mother and Child: Round Form, 1980
19.7 x 11 x 13.6 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition on the back edge of the bronze base
Edition of 9
Private Collection, New York (acquired directly from the artist)
Private Collection, New York (and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 13, 1996, lot 314)
Private Collection, London (acquired at the above sale)
Jeanne Frank Gallery, New York
Private Collection (Acquired from the above on March 17, 1997)
Private Collection, London
Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, 1980-1986, vol. 6, London, 1988, p. 51, no. 789, illustration of another cast pl. 38
Dimensions include the artist’s bronze base
A cast from the edition is owned by the The Yale Center for British Art, USA
Reviewing Moore’s eightieth-birthday exhibition at Fischer Fine Art, which juxtaposed recent sculptures with those from the 1920s and ’30s, John Glaves-Smith drew attention to the persistence of the rounded female figures. Even in the interwar period, when women – deprived of calories, then taking up tennis and hockey – strove for the boyishly svelte silhouette of the ‘flapper’, Moore’s figures remained ample, replete with curves. ₁ The most salient exception would be his post-war Mother and Child (1953), a tense pairing in which the child appears to peck, ravenously, at its mother’s breast. In this composition, the mother strains away from the child, her waist attenuated, her head serrated in defence.
Mother and Child Round Form (1980) demonstrates the persistence of Moore’s monumental vision. The female figure is non-sexualised, seeming to exist only in relation to the child, whom she regards intently. The composition centres on the child, its mother arguably providing little more than a context: a support. To this end, the female figure is largely devoid of non-essential detail. There is the merest indication of breasts, and hands to clasp. Legs, lacking purpose, are truncated, while weight sediments towards the cushion of the mother’s lap. The effect is far from stolid, however. As almost invariably with the subject of mother and child, Moore imbues the composition with timelessness and universality.
₁ John Glaves-Smith, ‘Exhibitions: Henry Moore’, Art Monthly (September 1978), p. 19.
Reclining Figure, 1936-37
7 x 13 x 6.5 cm.
Conceived circa 1936-37 and cast in 1959 in an edition of 6.
Edition of 6
Private Collection, purchased at the November 1972 exhibition
Thence by descent
Osborne Samuel, London
Exhibition catalogue, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, London, Lefevre Gallery, 1972, pp. 8-9, no. 1, illustrated.
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture 1980-86, Vol 6, London, 1999, p. 28, no. 175a, another cast illustrated.
London, Lefevre Gallery, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, November – December 1972, no. 1. (this cast)
Reclining Figure: Fragment, 1952
9 x 14 x 7.8 cm.
Signed, numbered and stamped with foundry mark, at the base.
Edition of 9
Lefevre Gallery, London
Private Collection, purchased from the above at the November 1972 exhibition
Thence by descent
Osborne Samuel, London
Exhibition catalogue, Mostra di Henry Moore, Florence, Forte di Belvedere, 1972, n.p., no. 75 (another cast illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, London, Lefevre Gallery, 1972, pp. 54-55, no. 24, illustrated (this cast)
A. Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture 1949-54, Vol. 2, London, 1986, p. 43, no. 331a (another cast illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore: Sketch Models and Working Models, London, Southbank Centre, 1990, p. 31, no. 13, fig. 25 (another cast illustrated)
Exhibition catalogue, Henry Moore In the Light of Greece, Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, 2000, p. 157, no. 17 (another cast illustrated)
J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore: A Monumental Vision, Cologne, 2005, p. 217, no. 304, (another cast illustrated)
Florence, Forte di Belvedere, Mostra di Henry Moore, May – September 1972, no. 75 (another cast exhibited)
London, Lefevre Gallery, Small Bronzes and Drawings by Henry Moore, November – December 1972, no. 24 (this cast)
Madrid, British Council, Palacio de Velázquez, Henry Moore: Sculptures, Drawings and Graphics 1921-1981, May – August 1981, no. 135 (another cast exhibited)
London, Southbank Centre, Henry Moore: Sketch Models and Working Models, 1990, no. 13 (another cast exhibited): this exhibition travelled to Coventry, Mead Gallery, May – June 1990; Huddersfield, Art Gallery, June – August 1990; Wrexham, Library Arts Centre, August – October 1990; Bristol, Museum and Art Gallery, October – November 1990; Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, December 1990 – January 1991; Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, January – March 1991; Stirling, Smith Art Gallery, March – April 1991.
Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Henry Moore In the Light of Greece, June – September 2000, no. 17 (another cast exhibited)
Death of a Working Hero, 2016
251 x 200 cm.
Signed by the artist
Edition of 6
Accompanied by a numbered certificate
In ‘Hard Man’, the first episode of his television series, All Man (2016), Grayson Perry went to north-east England to talk to former mine workers and cage fighters. He attended the blessing of the banners in Durham Cathedral, as part of the annual Miners’ Gala, when trade-union banners are carried through the streets accompanied by brass bands. Hearing the banners blessed, in the cathedral setting, struck him as ‘a funeral for a certain sort of man’.
Perry’s Death of a Working Hero (2016) draws from this experience, and from the examination of masculinity that structured the television series. Scrolled around the upper part of the tapestry is a text resonating with the well-known passage from Ecclesiastes 3 (‘To every thing there is a season’), reworded as ‘A time to fight, a time to talk, a time to change’. Between the sparring figures of a miner and cage fighter a small boy holds a teddy. Below, in a landscape of pit gear, iron bridges and cobbled streets, a funeral takes place. Those watching are not just the elderly, but children and young women dressed for a night out. With the closures of the pits, some Durham miners committed suicide. Perry spoke to a woman whose young son had taken his life, and recalled him as happy and fun-loving: ‘I feel like he wanted to die in that moment, but he didn’t want to die for ever’.
Addressing the depth and complexity of these feelings, Perry focuses on the veneer of masculinity. Bravado and tattoos are skin-deep: symbols of resilience, deflecting attention from the
vulnerability beneath. Tapping into the cultural history of the union banners,
and transposing their materiality provocatively into the sphere of fine art, Perry argues for change and equality.
Map of Nowhere, 2008
153 x 113 cm.
Signed and numbered from the edition of 68 verso
Edition of 68
Private Collection, UK
Osborne Samuel, London
Etching from five plates, printed on one sheet.
‘The starting point for this print was Thomas More’s Utopia. Utopia is a pun on the Greek ou topos meaning ‘no place’. ‘I was playing with the idea of there being no Heaven. People are very wedded to the idea of a neat ending: our rational brains would love to tidy up the mess of the world and to have either Armageddon or Heaven at the end of our existence.
But life doesn’t work like that – it’s a continuum.’ 
Prints are no secondary art form for Grayson Perry, they are considered, large-scale final pieces. A vocal advocate of therapy and analysis, in the Map of Nowhere Perry explores his own belief system; His opinions contend with those he finds crowding around him in wider society. The print’s grand proportions encompass the artist’s taste for niggling detail.
Perry started the drawing in the top left-hand corner, and worked towards the bottom right-hand corner, without planning the in-between; instead ideas were allowed to emerge, leading from one to another, through the drawing process.
As also seen in his subsequent major etchings, Map of an Englishman (2004) or his ‘playscape’, Print for a Politician (2005), Perry prefers to leave ink on the plate during the printing process; he avoids creating too crisp an image in order to evoke an antique look. Perry is yoking his map to its historical pedigree. With this etching, Perry is working from a big historical model rather than one from fine art: the medieval mappa mundi (map of the world) provides a recognisable template. As pre-Columbian diagrams, they would illustrate a sum of knowledge, acting as both instructive and decorative objects, making connections vivid and comprehensible. The Map of Nowhere is based on a famous German example, the Ebstorf Map, which was destroyed in the Second World War. It showed Jesus as the body of the world, with his head, hands
and feet marking four equidistant points around the circle.
Perry spikes the tradition with contemporary social comment. Within a circular scheme, like the Ebstorf Map, or the existent Hereford Mappa Mundi (www.herefordcathedral.org), he presents a flattened-out analysis of his world – from jibes about current affairs to the touchstones of his personal life. Where the Ebstorf Map has the world unfolding around Jerusalem, Perry’s personal world view encompasses a cacophony of ideas and preoccupations, with ‘Doubt’ right at the centre. The artist’s alter ego Claire gets a sainthood, while people pray at the churches of global corporations: Microsoft, Starbucks, Tescoes. Tabloid cliches abound, each attached to a figure or building: ‘the new black’, ‘kidults’, ‘binge drinking’, having-it-all’. Top right, the ‘free-market-economy’ floats untethered, preempting the credit crunch that was to take hold in the autumn of 2008. All-over labels demand that the map is read – or quizzed – close up. This is a clearly articulated satire, and while Perry adopts a medieval confusion of scale and proportion, the diagrammatic style is as adamant as its religious forerunners. Beneath, there is a drawing of figures on a pilgrimage, set in a realistic landscape. They are at final staging post before making their way up to a monastery at the top of a mountain beyond, which is hit by
a beam of light, coming from the artist’s bottom.
 Jackie Klein, Grayson Perry (Thames and Hudson, London 2009), p.162
Oil wash and pencil on paper
37 x 48 cm.
Inscribed verso 'Assisi / Oct 8-55 / Ben Nicholson'. Blind stamped 'REEVES BRISTOL BOARD' (upper right)
The Leger Galleries, London
Osborne Samuel, London
Nicholson’s work in Italy, although closely related to the central concerns of his art, is a special category in his oeuvre, which demonstrates his appreciation of Italian architecture and landscape. He visited Italy in 1950 and this was his first trip to the country since the end of the Second World War. Nicholson produced various drawings of some of his most favourite views throughout Italy – the regions of Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria. Peter Khoroche has commented that, “laying no claim to a technical or historical knowledge of architecture, what interested him was the shape, the proportion, the lie of a building…Building, like objects, were a starting point only, naturally there was no point in mere imitation…Architecture in landscape offered an opportunity to combine his love of precise structure with his feeling of poetry and acute sensitivity to the spirit of place”.
Oil on canvas
51 x 56 cm.
Signed, dated and titled verso on stretcher
Christie’s, London 1977
Private collection, purchased from above
Scolar Fine Art, London
Private collection, UK (purchased from the above 2001)
Osborne Samuel, London
Cambridge, Kettle’s Yard, Winifred Nicholson,
November 21st – December 16th 1972, cat. no. 3
Looking towards Bewcastle Fells in Cumberland, Winifred Nicholson’s painting draws no boundary between still life and landscape. Rather, the ridged or striped china seems placed on a stone ledge, its patterning continuing in shadows beneath it and stretching as a ribbon – whether river or drystone wall – into the distance.
Winifred had felt a strong attachment to Cumberland since the 1920s. In 1924 she moved with her husband, Ben Nicholson, to Banks Head, an old farmhouse on the Roman Wall. This is where she would return at the outbreak of war, after her marriage had collapsed and after spending time with her young children in Paris. The theme of a still life with flowers, whether table-top or framed by a window, was the most significant, distinctive and enduring of Nicholson’s career. As she recalled, ‘I have tried to paint many things in many different ways, but my paint brush always gives a tremor of pleasure when I let it paint a flower.’ The flowers in Bewcastle, possibly white nemophila and yellow ranunculus, are painted joyously and without fussiness.
Bewcastle unites the elements of its composition not only through form, but through colour. Yellow flowers and rimmed china link to the ochre landscape, grey drawing the eye from the foreground to the hills and skittering clouds. Nicholson’s friend, the poet Kathleen Raine, paid tribute to her skill in conveying the essence of this landscape, writing,
Mountains she loved, but above all skies; the grey luminosity of the Cumbrian skies she depicted with virtuosity in her handling of the mingling of light with cloud and mist.
 Winifred Nicholson, ‘The Flower’s Response’, in Andrew Nicholson (ed.), Unknown Colour: Paintings, Letters, Writings by Winifred Nicholson (London: Faber and Faber, 1987), p. 216.
 Kathleen Raine, ‘The Unregarded Happy Texture of Life’ (1984), reproduced in Unknown Colour, p. 199.
Bronze with brown patina
157 x 54 x 40 cm.
Signed, dated twice & inscribed 'Unikat' verso
Private Collection, Switzerland
Five slightly varying versions recorded, this unique work was the first one. (other versions are within the collections at the Tate, London, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Jesus College, Cambridge.
This work is recorded in the archives compiled by the late Professor Robin Spencer.
The myth of Daedalus and Icarus is a gift to sculptors: dramatic, tragic and containing vivid imagery. Daedalus was a maze-maker and master craftsman; Icarus his feckless son, who flew too close to the sun with wings his father made from feathers and wax. Their story was retold superbly by Paolozzi’s contemporary, Michael Ayrton, who translated its figures, also, to sculpture.
Paolozzi made his first versions of Daedalus and Icarus in 1949: reliefs and abstract constructions, consisting of tables, through which pegs, cross-bars and funnel shapes were inserted at right angles. He returned to Icarus in 1957, creating two large bronzes, each with pitiful stumps for wings. Daedalus (1990) is an emphatically figurative response, however, broached in the robust, mechanical vein of Paolozzi’s later work. Using a variation on the collage process, which had long fascinated him, Paolozzi would construct a form then fragment it – by slicing vertically and horizontally into geometrical parts – before reassembling. The method generated multiple options for reconstruction, which Paolozzi would capitalise upon by casting different permutations as he worked, thus creating series of ‘unique’ works on a theme. With Daedalus, there are five different versions, some mounted on wheeled trolleys.
In this, the first of the series, Daedalus holds two sections of a rod at shoulder height, and stands with each foot on a separate base, one in front of the other. According to legend, Daedalus’ statues were so lifelike they had to be tethered, lest they wandered free – a characteristic supposedly derived from their posture, feet staggered, as if ‘walking’. Paolozzi’s figure echoes this stance through its unevenly distributed weight. Rich in association, Daedalus has been suggested also as a self-portrait: Paolozzi, sculptor and master craftsman. ₁
₁ Judith Collins, Eduardo Paolozzi (Farnham: Lund Humphries, 2014), p. 285.
Rocky Sheepfold, Late 1940's
Gouache and pen and ink on paper
51.44 x 66.04 cm.
Signed, lower right; titled verso
In 1943 Piper received a commission to document a slate quarry inside the mountain of Manod Mawr, north Wales, where the collections of the National Gallery were sent for safe storage during the war. While the interior proved too dark to draw, Piper took the opportunity to explore the region, using John Murray’s Handbook for Travellers in North Wales (1898) as his guide.
Returning to Snowdonia in the summer of 1945, he discovered and rented ‘Pentre’, a cottage halfway down the Nant Ffrancon valley, through which a river runs, and to which, at the time, there was an unmade track barely passable in winter. Piper acquainted himself with the geology of the area by reading A.C. Ramsay’s The Old Glaciers of Switzerland and North Wales (1860) and by drawing the mountains repeatedly, thereby beginning to notice how rocks near to hand often resembled the contours of those in the distance. Writing to Paul Nash in November 1945, he described a gale ‘which made the clouds whirl round the mountains in circles and lifted the water off the river in spray’, adding, ‘I hope you will see the place one day.’¹
It is likely that Rocky Sheepfold, which resembles Piper’s photographs of a drystone enclosure in the Nant Ffrancon valley, relates to the landscape near this cottage.² The painting balances topographical detail against broad washes of tone, evoking the mood of lithographs commissioned for the poetry volume English Scottish and Welsh Landscape (1944), described in a review as ‘sinister … livid and menacing’.³ To the perimeter of Rocky Sheepfold, scattered stones extrude from the grass; larger boulders shelter and form part of the enclosure. Elemental and windswept, it demonstrates an opportunistic intervention into the landscape.
¹ Frances Spalding, John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 267–8.
² John Piper, photographs of sheepfold in Nant Ffrancon, Caernarvonshire (c. 1930s–1980s), black and white negatives, Tate Archive TGA 8728/3/3/10–11.
³ English Scottish and Welsh Landscape 1700–c. 1860, verse chosen by John Betjeman and Geoffrey Taylor, with original lithographs by John Piper (London: Frederick Muller Ltd, 1944); The Studio (December 1944), p. 192.
Thorn Trees, Spring, 1967
Oil on canvas
54.61 x 45.69 cm.
Signed and dated upper left Also signed with initials, inscribed, dedicated and dated again 'P.A and FRAU ADE/a souvenir/of/11 March 1967/with friendship./G.S. 30.V.67/THORN TREES. SPRING' verso
Mr & Mrs Peter Ade, München
Thence by descent
Private Collection, Germany
PA are the initials of Peter Ade, the Director of Haus der Kunst in München . A gift by the artist in recognition of the assistance Peter Ade gave with a travelling exhibition of Sutherland’s work in 1967. ( Haus der Kunst München, 11. March – 7. May 1967; Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, 2. June – 30. July 1967; Haus am Waldsee Berlin, 11. August – 24. September 1967; Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln, 7. October – 20. November, 1967.)
This painting clearly relates in structure to two earlier versions of the same subject from the 1940’s, one now held in the British Council and the second at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York).
In the 1940s Sutherland began a series of paintings based on thorns. Walking in the country, and preoccupied with a commission for a Crucifixion , he began to notice ‘ thorn bushes and the structure of thorns, which pierced the air in all directions, their points establishing limits of aerial space’ . Drawing them, he observed a strange transformation take place: the thorns rearranged themselves into ‘ a paraphrase of the Crucifixion and the Crucified Head – the cruelty’ .1 Kenneth Clark described the resulting trees, heads and crosses as akin to metaphors in poetry, their freely created forms more vivid and personal for using imagery not already ‘ deadened by use’ .2
The context for these works for Sutherland, a Catholic, was deeply meaningful. In the early post-war years he received commissions from the Reverend Walter Hussey for a Crucifixion and Noli me tangere , respectively for St Matthew’ s, Northampton, and Chichester Cathedral. More significant still was the tapestry commissioned by Basil Spence as a focal point for the new Cathedral at Coventry (1962), a monumental sign of hope abutting the ruins of its war-blasted predecessor. At Coventry, Sutherland’ s Christ in Majesty was complemented sensitively by an altar set from Geoffrey Clarke, itself alluding to the bitter piercing of thorns.
Among Sutherland’ s ‘ thorn’ paintings, a cluster of Thorn Crosses evokes altar sets. The trinity of forms in Thorn Trees, Spring (1967) likewise suggests a cross and candlesticks, or perhaps a crucifixion witnessed by mourners: such is the malleability and suggestibility of Sutherland’ s imagery. Especially potent is the painting’ s confluence of death and renewal – sere thorns cloaked in the verdure of a fresh season. The contrast was one Sutherland had originally hoped to exploit in his commission for St Matthew’ s, Northampton, as he explained:
I would have liked to paint the Crucifixion against a blue sky … in benign circumstances: blue skies, green grass, Crucifixion[s] under warmth – and blue skies are, in a sense, more powerfully horrifying.3
1. Graham Sutherland, ‘ Thoughts on Painting’ , The Listener (6 September 1951), p. 378, quoted in ‘ An Exhibition of Painting and Drawings by Graham Sutherland’ (Arts Council and Tate Gallery, 1953), unpaginated.
2. Kenneth Clark, introduction to ‘ An Exhibition of Painting and Drawings by Graham Sutherland’ (Arts Council and Tate Gallery, 1953), unpaginated.
3. Sutherland, ‘ Thoughts on Painting’ , The Listener (6 September 1951), republished in Graham Sutherland, Correspondences: Selected Writings on Art , ed. Julian Andrews (Graham and Kathleen Sutherland Foundation, 1982), p. 73.
San Quirico d’Orcia I, 1956
Oil on canvas
94 x 150 cm.
Signed and dated 1956. Also signed, titled, dated 1956 and inscribed verso
Private Collection, UK
Christies, 1983, December 19th, Lot 130
Private Collection, UK (purchased from the above)
Osborne Samuel, London
After winning the Rome Prize in 1955, on graduating from the Royal College of Art, Joe Tilson travelled to Italy. There he met his future wife, the artist Joslyn Morton, and together they shared a studio at Casa Frollo on the Giudecca in Venice, where they would marry a year later. Thus began a profound relationship with Italy, which has provided both an anchor and a creative focus for Tilson’s work, from early paintings to the recent brightly coloured Postcards from Venice (2014–15).
During the 1950s Tilson made his first paintings of Tuscany, a landscape that had nurtured and informed the work of Renaissance artists such as Giovanni di Paolo, Simone Martini and Sassetta. The Val d’Orcia is distinctive for its flat chalk plains and conical hills. Over centuries, the terrain has eroded to form alternating calanchi (furrows) and biancane (sedimentary clay outcrops): the Crete Senesi, described by Iris Origo as ‘bare and colourless as elephants’ backs’. ₁ In San Quirico d’Orcia I (1956), Tilson renders this landscape using thick impasto, bulked with sand and grit, and a palette drawn from the dust-coloured valley. There is an insistent rhythm to the patterning of hills against plateau and sky. While the composition possesses a strong tonal unity, there is also mutability in its shading and contour – from the warmth of terracotta to chalk-white, cadmium yellow, and a misty blue light touching the hills.
₁ Iris Origo, Wartime in Val d’Orcia (London: Jonathan Cape, 1947), p. 15–16.
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.
Maze of Figures, 1970
Gouache, watercolour and ink
73 x 52 cm.
Agnew’s, London ‘Keith Vaughan,’ 2012, no.25
Austin Desmond Fine Art, Keith Vaughan, May-June 2012, no.25
Beginning to make a gouache, Vaughan would first block out colours, working intuitively. He thus started
as usual, with no more than a process. The making of a series of wet marks across the white board in a sequence of colours (blue black I fancy at the moment) and see where it leads.¹
Indian ink might then amplify the emerging forms, outlining figures against the coloured ground. Each decision was guided by what came before, as part of a complex, fluid approach.
The texture and composition of Maze of Figures bear witness to this method of working. Tonally, the image consists of layers of colour – brown, blue and green – in slabs and lines, wet on wet, dripped and spattered, from which emerge and recede the overlapping silhouettes of figures. A connection with abstraction expressionism proves tempting if elusive. In his journal for 1974, Vaughan recorded,
Looked at some pictures of Jackson Pollock. Some are still good. Though I could do better. Scale, energy and nerve is all one requires.²
Energy and nerve are present in abundance in Maze of Figures: its lines effervesce, calligraphically and contrapuntally, against a tapestry of colour.
¹ Keith Vaughan, Journal (2 July 1972).
² Keith Vaughan, Journal (26 November 1974).
Two Men, 1970
79 x 56 cm.
Inscribed upper right March 12/70
The Artist’s Estate
Private Collection, UK
Malcolm Yorke, Keith Vaughan Journals (1939-1976), ill. p.214
Agnew’s, British Art 1900-1998, September – October 1998, no.113
In the early 1960s, inspired by his students, in particular Mario Dubsky (1939–1985), Vaughan began to experiment with working in charcoal on a large scale. Dubsky studied at the Slade, and on leaving was awarded the Abbey Major Scholarship by a committee including Vaughan. From him Vaughan learnt how to blend charcoal, rubbing it into the paper, to create subtle grades of black that could be cut through or highlighted by an eraser.
The potential of the medium is demonstrated superbly by Two Men (1970), in which Vaughan contrasts the gentlest shading, used to define the centre of the left figure’s torso, and thus the twist of his body, with the velvety depth of shadow outlining his shoulder. Between the two figures are medium tones, and upon the draped cloth can be seen the smudged imprint of Vaughan’s own fingers. Against this, strong charcoal lines select and convey the outline of an ear, a navel, nostrils – only those details necessary to characterise the mood, the attitude, of the composition.
Linking the two men there is a homoerotic charge all the more powerful because of its ambiguity. The righthand figure’s intense gaze and proprietorial posture are countered by the left’s seeming casualness. Both are virile, unselfconsciously naked. It is a moment suspended: where it might lead – to passion, detachment or malevolence – is open to conjecture.