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Post War and St Ives

Post War and St Ives

Post War and St Ives

paisnel gallery

All works are available upon receipt of catalogue

Index of Artists and Catalogue Numbers

Adams, Robert Armstrong, John Avray Wilson, Frank Bradley, Martin Bratby, John Butler, Reg Canney, Michael Clatworthy, Robert Cohen, Bernard Cohen, Harold Davie, Alan Denny, Robyn Donaldson, Antony Feiler, Paul Fraser, Donald Hamilton Frost, Sir Terry Gear, William Gilbert, Stephen Gowing, Sir Lawrence Heath, Adrian Lowndes, Alan Middleton, Derek Mitchell, Denis Plumb, John Sedgley, Peter Stevens, Norman Wall, Brian

26 17 10

11 15 30 5 29 18 16 12 & 13 25 22 1&4 7 2 6 8 20 3 14 9 28 19 & 23 21 24 27

Introduction This catalogue accompanies the third of our annual exhibitions at Bury Street focusing on the diverse and eclectic developments in postwar British art. Inevitably, the exhibition can represent only a selection of artists and practices of the period. It begins with the refined and landscapereferenced paintings of Terry Frost and Paul Feiler, moving on to Tachiste works by William Gear, Stephen Gilbert and Derek Middleton, with their greater emphasis on the physical properties of paint. The vigorous and mystical compositions of Alan Davie and Martin Bradley lead on to the Abstract Expressionism of Frank Avray Wilson and into the Swinging Sixties of Antony Donaldson’s Pop Art, Peter Sedgley’s Op Art and the emergence of hard-edged and minimal works by Robyn Denny and John Plumb, characterised by flat areas of colour and a rejection of the Expressionist brushstroke. Post-war British art is now universally recognised as a dynamic and wide-ranging body of work, freed from the constraints of insularity, and one that will continue to influence and inform future generations of artists.


cat no. 1

Paul Feiler


Enclosed Form, Black, 1964

Oil on canvas 24 x 26 ins (61 x 66 cms) Signed, dated 1964 and inscribed verso provenance Grosvenor Gallery Purchased by Mrs Z Mitchell Private collection by descent to 2009

Paul Feiler has always been concerned with the architecture of space. From the early 1950s when he became known for his gestural abstractions based on natural forms around him Feiler’s paintings were sensitive compositions using light and tone and most importantly texture. Enclosed Form, Black is a masterful example of complex application.

cat no. 2

Sir Terry Frost


Walk Along the Quay, 1953

Oil on board 28 x 111/2 ins (71 x 29.5 cms) Signed and dated ’53 verso provenance Paisnel Gallery, 1991 Private Collection, 1991–2009

The Walk Along the Quay series is one of Frost’s most iconic. Inspired by the study of boats in and around the harbour at St Ives, the central motif is a solid structure surrounded by abstracted symbols of hulls, sails and harbour life.

cat no. 3

Adrian Heath


Study, 1958

Oil on canvas 14 x 18 ins (35.5 x 45.5 cms) Signed Inscribed and dated 1958 verso provenance The Artist’s Estate Exhibited: Nine Abstract Artists Revisited Osborne Samuel, March 2005 Cat. No 13

Heath’s abstracts, unlike Frost’s, were rarely referential. During the 1950s Heath was associated with some of the most avant-garde artists in England including Victor Pasmore, Anthony Hill and Kenneth Martin. He became the main link between the St Ives School and the London based painters of the period.

cat no. 4

Paul Feiler


Nanjizal, Yellow Ochre, 1962

Oil on canvas 14 x 20 ins (35.5 x 51 cms) Signed and dated ’62 Inscribed verso

Nanjizal, Yellow Ochre was painted in the early 1960s at the peak of Feiler’s career when he was working in parallel with Lanyon in St. Ives. Situated one mile to the south-east of Land’s End, Nanjizal is a superbly scenic west-facing cove with spectacular sunsets. The only access is via a footpath from Trevescan or along the cliff path from Land’s End.

cat no. 5

Michael Canney


Untitled, (circa 1960)

Oil on board 7 x 181/2 ins (18 x 47 cms) provenance The Artist’s Estate Liss Fine Art (label verso) Private Collection

Canney was pre-occupied with constructivist principles and their relationships with mathematics and geometry. Successful examples of his craft use colour and tonal harmony to balance hard-edged composition.

cat no. 6

William Gear


Landscape No 2, 1951

Oil on canvas 481/2 x 321/2 ins (122 x 82 cms) Signed, inscribed and dated May ’51 verso provenance Private Collection 1993–2008 Exhibited: William Gear Paintings 1948–1968 Cat. No 12 Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Arts Council. Touring Exhibition: Belfast, April 1969 Brooke Park Gallery, Londonderry May 1969 Scottish Arts Council Gallery, Glasgow June–July 1969. Talbot Rice Arts Centre, Edinburgh August 1982 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham August 1982 Redfern Gallery, September 1990

William Gear was one of the few British painters to play a significant part in the development of post-war international modern art movements. In Landscape No 2 he has progressed from his association with the influential Cobra Group and is experimenting with a freer handling of paint and exploration of the effects of light, shade and colour.

cat no. 7

Donald Hamilton Fraser


Composition, 1956

Oil on canvas 18 x 23 ins (46 x 58 cms) Signed Exhibited: Metavisual Tachiste Abstract, Redfern Gallery 2007 Illustrated Page 39

Painted soon after Fraser had returned from a funded scholarship to Paris in 1954. His block colours and inter-related forms are reminiscent of De Stael and lay the foundations for a lengthy and successful output of abstracted landscapes.

cat no. 8

Stephen Gilbert


Forms on Red, 1957

Oil on canvas 561/2 x 401/2 ins (143 x 102 cms) Inscribed ‘Gilbert ’57, Forms on Red’ on stretcher provenance The artist’s collection Private Collection: David Hughes 1995–2008

Stephen Gilbert was associated with William Gear by his place of birth, his place in the international artistic community, and his membership of the Cobra movement. Forms on Red is indicative of his move away from the expressive figuration of Cobra in favour of a gestural abstraction which shared affinities with the Tachiste movement. This painting was one of the last major abstracts Gilbert painted before devoting himself to constructivist sculpture.

cat no. 9

Derek Middleton


Untitled, 1957

Oil on canvas 353/4 x 261/2 ins (91 x 67 cms) Signed with initials Signed and dated 1957 verso Exhibited: New Vision Centre, 1957

A regular exhibitor at the New Vision Centre Gallery, where he held his first one-man show, as well as Drian Gallery and Gallery One. His paintings were included in a touring exhibition of British Abstract Art in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa alongside works by Hilton, Blow, Heath, Davie and Pasmore.

cat no. 10

Frank Avray Wilson


Galaxy, 1960

Oil on canvas 48 x 48 ins (122 x 122 cms) Signed and dated 1960 Signed, dated and inscribed with title verso Exhibited: Commonwealth Vision, June–July 1961, Cat No 10 Commonwealth Institute, London

A classic example of Wilson’s creativity in a universal context as studied in his science degree at Cambridge. By his own admission an Abstract Expressionist, his work still references the cosmos on many occasions; forms expanding from a central event towards the edges of the composition.

cat no. 11

Martin Bradley


Songe Venetien, 1961

Oil on canvas 57 x 381/2 ins (145 x 97 cms) Signed and dated 1961 Title inscribed verso

Painted whilst Bradley was exhibiting in Venice with Galerie del Cavallino. In 1961 his work was also included in Arte e Contemplazione in the Palazzo Grassi (Venice) alongside Fontana, Dubuffet and Rothko.

cat no. 12

Alan Davie


Lemon Quadrille, 1961

Oil on canvas 40 x 48 ins (102 x 122 cms) Signed, dated May ’61 and titled verso Inscribed ‘Opus O 397C’ verso

Alan Davie’s work is held in more than sixty public collections including: Arts Council of Great Britain, London Tate Gallery, London Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Peggy Guggenheim, Venice Museum of Modern Art, New York Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Art Gallery of New South Wales Kunsthaus, Basel

cat no. 13

Alan Davie


Tiger is Joyful, 1960

Oil on canvas 12 x 16 ins (30.5 x 41 cms) Signed, inscribed and dated August 1960 verso Also inscribed ‘Bili Davie Collection’

Davie’s interest in Zen Buddhism inspired his search for free expression of the unconscious mind. His paintings were entirely spontaneous and intuitive, many having no pre-considered composition or even titled until completed. The tiger’s tail was a recurring motif throughout the 1960s.

cat no. 14

Alan Lowndes


Nude Study, 1952

Oil on board 11 x 16 ins (28 x 41 cms) Signed and dated 1952

A rare painting in Lowndes’ oeuvre, and a radical departure from the familiar images of urban life that both he and Lowry painted with studied simplicity and nostalgic vision. The form is sensuous, but not overt, and painted with greater fluidity than his Stockport subjects.

cat no. 15

John Bratby


Holyland, 1961

Oil on canvas 28 x 40 ins (71 x 103 cms) Signed, titled and dated August 1961 provenance Private collection 1961–2008 Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1961, No. 369

In the 1950s Bratby was the leader of the so-called ‘Kitchen Sink‘ painters. In this painting his ongoing interest in British post-war life continues. The arrangement of exotic fruit reminds us of a time when the opportunity to purchase imported goods was a relatively new experience for many people.

cat no. 16

Harold Cohen


Transit, 1963

Oil on canvas 68 x 80 ins (173 x 203 cms) Signed, inscribed and dated January ’63 verso Exhibited: Robert Fraser Gallery, London 1963 (label verso) Stadt. Kunst Galerie, Bochum, 1963 (label verso)

In the early 1960s Cohen embarked on a series of paintings, often on a monumental scale, exploring new forms of innovative organic abstraction. Other titles include Before the Event, 1963 (permanent collection Tate Gallery) and Aspect, 1964 (exhibited Whitechapel Art Gallery 1965).

cat no. 17

John Armstrong


Abstract, 1962 Oil on canvas 30 x 20 ins (76 x 51 cms) Signed and dated ’62 Titled label verso provenance Private Collection Exhibited: John Armstrong, Paintings 1935–1970, The Minories, Colchester 1977, Cat No 35

Initially a leading light in the development of Surrealism in Britain, Armstrong’s work underwent several changes both in composition and application. The first hints of abstraction can be seen in the The Meeting, 1958 in which a backdrop of buildings has been reduced to a series of flat planes painted with square brush technique. By 1959, Grey Green Construction had paved the way for a series of pure abstracts, rectangular in form with stippled semi-transparent surfaces. Abstract, 1962 was the culmination of this development.

cat no. 18

Bernard Cohen


Untitled (Blue), 1965

Acrylic on canvas Signed and dated 1965 verso 18 x 18 ins (46 x 46 cms) provenance Kasmin, London (label verso) Illustrated: ‘Bernard Cohen, Work of Six Decades’ Norbert Lynton, Flowers East 2009, Page 118

From the early 1960s Cohen began to produce paintings created from a dizzying profusion of oscillating coils and floating luminous dots. Similar works in the Tate Gallery are In the Moment, 1965 and the Arts Council Glow, 1965.

cat no. 19

John Plumb


Yellow 4, 1966

Acrylic on cotton duck 60 x 48 ins (152 x 122 cms) Signed, dated ’66 and inscribed verso provenance The Artist’s Estate

This work is one of a group of Colour Field paintings produced by the artist in the mid 1960s. Using large areas of single colour with narrow, sometimes scarcely visible, margins of contrasting colour Plumb intended to optically modify the effect, and even the emotional impact of, a central and dominant hue.

cat no. 20

Sir Lawrence Gowing


Wood: Parabolic Perspective, 1964

Oil on hardboard 48 x 56 ins (122 x 142 cms) Signed and dated 1964–65 verso Exhibited: Marlborough Fine Art, London (label verso)

A work from the same series titled Wood: Parabolic Perspective, 1963 was purchased by the Tate Gallery in 1965 for their permanent collection of the artist’s work.

cat no. 21

Peter Sedgley


Around, 1966

Acrylic on canvas 521/2 x 60 ins (133.5 x 152 cms) Signed, dated 1966 and inscribed on the canvas overlap provenance Originally purchased from the artist in 1991 Exhibited: Peter Sedgley, McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery, London, 1966 Cat No 4, Aspects of New British Art, British Council Touring Exhibition of New Zealand and Australia 1967, Cat No 40

Painted for Sedgley’s ground-breaking second solo exhibition at McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery in London, Around, 1966 is an example of his involvement with Op-art at its most successful. Sedgley was informed as much by his partner Bridget Riley as his American contemporaries.

cat no. 22

Antony Donaldson


It was as if no-one had heard, 1965

Acrylic on canvas 68 x 68 ins (173 x 173 cms) Signed and dated summer 1965 on stretcher Titled label verso provenance McCrory Corporation, Art Inventory No. 147 Exhibited: Antony Donaldson, Rowan Gallery 1965 Il Tempo dell’immagine, Bologna Museo Civico 1967

Donaldson was twenty six when he painted this rhythmical work. The same number of vertical bars in the composition allude to his age and though unusual form a perfect balance to the four more characteristic and identical figures arranged on the canvas.

cat no. 23

John Plumb


Colour Ladder, painted circa 1970

Acrylic on cotton duck 78 x 30 ins (198 x 76 cms) provenance The Artist’s Estate

The 1970s saw Plumb move forward again with an entirely new series of work. The Chance and Ladder paintings all used random selections of colours arranged in precise patterns at various angles across the canvas.

cat no. 24

Norman Stevens


Fronds, 1969

Oil on canvas 601/2 x 60 ins (153 x 152.5 cms) Signed on the stretcher provenance Lord Broughshane Exhibited: Hanover Gallery, London 1969 Redfern Gallery, London 1986

Louvered shutters were a recurring theme in Steven’s work from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Paintings, lithographs and screenprints explored the relationship between bright daylight and its effects within. Rarely did he use such startling colours as seen in Fronds.

cat no. 25

Robyn Denny


Head on 1, 1975

Oil on canvas 46 x 37 ins (117 x 94 cms) Signed, dated 1975 and inscribed verso provenance Studio la Citta, Galleria d’arte, Verona (label verso)

Painted two years after Denny’s retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, Head on 1 forms part of a body of work that culminated in the Moonshine drawings which consist of clusters of incised marks on multiple layers of acrylic. They are regarded as some of Denny’s most beautiful works.


cat no. 26

Robert Adams


Three Forms, 1951

Copper Height 12 ins (30.5 cms) This piece is unique provenance Gimpel Fils Private Collection Exhibited: One-man Exhibition, Gimpel Fils, July 1951 Seven British Contemporary Artists, Black Hall St Giles Oxford, 1952 This Is Tomorrow, Whitechapel Art Gallery London, 1956 The Sculpture of Robert Adams by Alastair Grieve. Cat. No 124, Page 162, Illustrated Page 163 Published 1992 by Lund Humphries Publishers in Association with the Henry Moore Foundation

This delicate and spatially probing sculpture reflects Adam’s new interest in the integration of abstract art and architecture that was to occupy him often in later years. The three point support had evolved from earlier figurative works in 1948–49.

cat no. 27

Brian Wall


Standing Figure, 1959

Painted welded steel Height 233/4 ins (60.5 x 30.5 cms) This piece is unique Exhibited: Brian Wall, A Survey 1958–2006 Hackett-Freedman, San Francisco, September–October 2006 Architectural Design, May 1959 (Illustrated)

This small scale unique sculpture was produced during Wall’s last years in St Ives where he was an assistant to Barbara Hepworth. Whilst incorporating his constructivist principles of formality and simplicity it has a delicacy rarely found in larger works.

cat no. 28

Denis Mitchell


Skiddaw, 1974

Honister slate on stone base 12 x 34 inches (30.5 x 86 cms) Signed, inscribed and dated ’74 on base This piece is unique Exhibited: Festival Exhibition of Sculpture by Denis Mitchell, October–November 1979 Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, Swansea, Cat No 49 Denis Mitchell, Sculpture and Drawings, Newlyn Art Gallery, November 1985, Cat no.8

The name Skiddaw derives from the mountain formed by ancient rock in Cumbria. Honister is the mine that still produces the world famous Westmorland Green Slate, a favourite material of Mitchell’s in the 1970s.

cat no. 29

Robert Clatworthy


Bull, 1953

Bronze with a dark brown patina 6 x 13 inches (15 x 33 cms) Signed with initials on base Numbered 4 from an edition of 8

The starting point for Clatworthy’s enduring interest in this subject was quite simply a bull in the field next to the artist’s studio in Sussex. The Tate Gallery holds two works of the same title from 1956 and a life-size plaster was exhibited in Holland Park in 1957 for London County Council.

cat no. 30

Reg Butler


Small Figure, 1964

Bronze with mid-brown patina Height 41/2 inches (11.5 cms) Titled on label on base Numbered 5 from an edition of 8 casts with Valsuani Foundry stamp. provenance Hanover Gallery, whence purchased by Mr and Mrs Kreitman 1965 (label on base)

Another cast is illustrated as Seated Figure in Margaret Garlake’s monograph Page 164, Catalogue No 230.

Post-War and St Ives Published in 2009 by Paisnel Gallery isbn 978-0-9558255-1-4 Paisnel Gallery 9 Bury Street St James’s London sw1y 6ab Telephone: 02079309293 Email:

Š Paisnel Gallery All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without first seeking the written permission of the copyright holders and of the publisher. Photography: Michael Pollard Design: aw @ Print: Andrew Kilburn Print Services Ltd

Cover detail: Alan Davie, Lemon Quadrille, 1961

Post War and St. Ives  

Artist's Catalogue

Post War and St. Ives  

Artist's Catalogue