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20th century british art

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20th century british art Spring 2013

Paisnel Gallery 9 Bury Street, St James's, London sw1y 6ab telephone: 020 7930 9293 email: website:

Index of Artists and Catalogue Numbers Adams, Robert Bell, Trevor Bowling, Frank Boyle Family Clarke, Geoffrey Davie, Alan Eaton, Bertram Fedden, Mary Frost, Terry Gear, William Guthrie, Kathleen Lovell, Margaret Mount, Paul Nicholson, Ben Pender, Jack Plumb, John Reynolds, Alan Tunnard, John Underwood, Leon Wells, John Wilson, Frank Avray Wolmark, Alfred Wood, Christopher

28 13 22 23 25, 29 7, 20 24 4 9, 16 21 18 26 30 15 10 11, 17 19 5, 6, 12 27 14 8 2, 3 1

cat 1

Christopher Wood 1901–1930 On the Promenade, Monte Carlo oil and pencil on board 7½ x 9½ ins (19 x 24 cms) titled and dated april 1925 label verso provenance redfern gallery, london, may 1947 where purchased by d.a. reid esq private collection circa 2003–2013 exhibited london, the new burlington galleries, christopher wood, exhibition of complete works, 3 march – 2 april 1938, cat no 87

During his second visit to Monte Carlo in two years Wood painted On the Promenade. The limited palette and simplified linear composition suggest a work painted simply for pleasure. Together with a similar study, Seated Bather, Monte Carlo, the two paintings reflect the influences of Picasso and Cocteau and a period when the artist was immersed in the joys of travel, friendship and creativity.

cat 2

Alfred Aaron Wolmark 1877–1961 Arches, Lugano oil on panel 16 x 12 ins (40.5 x 30.5 cms) titled and dated 1932 label verso provenance james kirkman, london (label verso) paintings from the collection of john noott sotheby’s 3rd october 2001, lot no 173 exhibited london, the mayor gallery, 24 october – 25 november 1983, cat no 19

Wolmark travelled widely painting topographical subjects, notably visiting New York and Paris. One of the pioneers of Post-Impressionism in Britain, he used heavy impasto and rich colour to create a vibrant record of his tours. Arches Lugano was painted on an extended visit to Switzerland with cross-border trips to Italy and France.

cat 3

Alfred Aaron Wolmark 1877–1961 Cyclamen oil on panel 22 x 15½ ins (56 x 39.5 cms) signed with monogram and dated '47 provenance the artist's studio the belgrave gallery, london exhibited london, the belgrave gallery, alfred wolmark, 7–29 november 1985, cat no 35

Wolmark's later work was sometimes criticised for lacking the verve of the pre-war paintings but, aged 70 when he painted Cyclamen, he still brought the same rhythmical impastoed brushstrokes and joy of application to many examples of still life. His colourist principles remain with vibrant blues and intense reds.

cat 4

Mary Fedden 1915–2012 Julian Trevelyan Recumbent in a Breton Landscape oil on canvas 25 x 30 ins (63.5 x 76.2 cms) signed and dated 1953 titled label verso provenance jonathan clark fine art (label verso) private collection 2006–2013

Mary Fedden married Julian Trevelyan in 1951 and during the following decade they travelled extensively together throughout Europe. Her new confidence, gained from wider experience and her husband’s constructive guidance, is revealed in this Breton landscape with strong compositional structure and bold use of colour. Painted in 1953, the same year as her first solo exhibition at Redfern Gallery, this overtly romantic portrayal of the young and handsome Julian resonates with the prevailing mood of optimism in British post-war art.

cat 5

John Tunnard 1900–1971 Painting 1942 oil and tempera on gesso-prepared board 23½ x 36 ins (60 x 91.5 cms) signed and dated '42 also signed, dated & titled label verso provenance purchased by dr h g fenelon in 1942 collection of peter nahum 1996–2006 christies, the poetry of crisis, the peter nahum collection of british surrealist and avant-garde art, 1930–1951, 15th november 2006, cat no 108 where purchased by the previous owner. private collection, london 2006–2012 exhibited london, redfern gallery, john tunnard, 9 july–1 august, 1942, cat no 30 cairo and algiers, british council exhibition, 1945 literature alan peat & brian whitton, john tunnard his life and work, 1997, page 161, cat no 269

cat 6

John Tunnard 1900–1971 Project oil and tempera on gesso-prepared board 12 x 16 ins (30.5 x 40.5 cms) signed and dated '45 provenance redfern gallery 1946 private collection circa 1983–2013 literature alan peat and brian whitton, john tunnard his life and works, page 173, cat no 448 john tunnard personal record: 0.116 (red cross)

Project was painted in the spring of 1945 whilst Tunnard was serving with the H M Coastguard at Cadgwith, an historic and rugged fishing port on the Lizard Peninsula. As well as an observation post there was also a wartime lifeboat, 'Guide of Dunkirk', operating out of the harbour from 1941. Tunnard noted the painting as 'red cross' in his own records so it is conceivable that the ‘building’ in the composition with its protective emblem is in fact Cadgwith Lifeboat Station.

cat 7

Alan Davie Born 1920 Signs for Virility oil on board 40 x 48 ins (101.5 x 122 cms) signed, dated 1952 and titled verso opus 0.86 exhibited london, gimpel fils, alan davie, 29 november 2005 – 7 january 2006 (illustrated page 4) london, austin/desmond fine art, aspects of modern british art, 23 november – 20 december 2007, cat no 14 (illustrated)

With a letter of introduction from Peggy Guggenheim, Davie secured his first solo show in London at Gimpel Fils in 1950. Over one hundred and fifty exhibitions worldwide and fifty five years later, Gimpel Fils produced what was arguably then the best catalogue of Davie’s work, featuring seventeen iconic examples of his output between 1952 and 1963. Signs for Virility commands the first illustration with its coloured forms and gestures floating on a dramatic background of matt black.

cat 8

Frank Avray Wilson 1914–2009 Configuration Green and Black oil and collage on board 35 x 22 ins (89 x 56 cms) titled and dated 1954 label verso exhibited london, austin/desmond fine art, 1988 a selection of post-war british abstract art, cat no 3, illustrated page 38

In the mid-1950s when Configuration Green and Black was painted, Wilson acknowledged links with Tachism and the influence of the Cobra Group. This informal trend in painting was in retaliation against the former constraints of Cubism and paralleled Action Painting in America. The intention is to experiment with the pure process of painting and the awareness of paint as a tactile fluid substance capable of expression.

cat 9

Terry Frost 1915–2003 Lemon Yellow, Black & White oil on canvas 11½ x 19½ ins (29 x 49.5 cms) signed, dated 1958 and titled label verso provenance belgrave gallery, st ives anthony hepworth fine art private collection 2007–2012

Lemon Yellow, Black & White was painted shortly after the Frost family returned to St Ives, following a period spent in Leeds where Frost had been teaching. He had signed up with the new Waddington Galleries in 1958 bringing together Roger Hilton, Patrick Heron and Bryan Wynter to form the ‘Middle Generation’ in 1959. It was a time of financial security and preceded a rise in Frost's international profile with his first New York exhibition in 1960.

cat 10

Jack Pender 1918–1998 Mousehole Quay oil on board 18 x 36 ins (46 x 91.5 cms) signed painted circa 1956 provenance acquired directly from the artist by sheila bishop private collection circa 1956 to circa 1996

Pender was born in Mousehole and lived and worked there for most of his life. His painting combined elements of landscape with abstraction and a distinctive use of black outline and linear form. Fellow artists, Bryan Wynter and Alexander Mackenzie, experimented briefly with similar portrayals of white-washed cottages and Cornish stone dwellings. The old crane, starkly superimposed over the village of Mousehole beyond, was used to lower baulks (massive timbers) into the harbour inlet to close it off from gales between October and March.

cat 11

John Plumb 1927–2008 Painting to Red, 1957 oil on board 48 x 36 ins (122 x 91.5 cms) signed and dated 1957 verso provenance acquired directly from the artist exhibited london, new vision centre gallery, 15–26 october, 1957

Plumb exhibited with the Artists International Association between 1953 and 1957 prior to his solo exhibition at the pioneering New Vision Centre Gallery, which was co-founded by the Tachiste painter, Frank Avray Wilson. At that early stage in his career, Plumb shared the spontaneity and painterly energy that Wilson displayed with kaleidoscopic colour and rich texture. Painting to Red was one of a small group of abstract expressionist works painted before Plumb's radical progression toward the minimalist and austerely beautiful 'tape' paintings of the 1960s.

cat 12

John Tunnard 1900–1971 Receiver gouache 21½ x 14½ ins (54.5 x 37 cms) signed, dated 1959 and inscribed trg 12 titled verso provenance purchased from mcroberts and tunnard thence by descent private collection to 2013 exhibited london, mcroberts and tunnard, 26 november – 23 december 1959, cat no 29 literature alan peat and brian whitton, john tunnard his life and works, page 191, cat no 710 john tunnard ledger trg.12

Receiver was painted at Trethinick in Lamorna, formerly the home of Dame Laura Knight. The Tunnards bought the house in 1952 with the assistance of a legacy and spent considerable time transforming the six acres of surrounding land. As a result, very little work was produced there in the early years, but by 1959, Tunnard was once again painting intensely. Of the fifty works shown at the major McRoberts and Tunnard exhibition, over eighteen had been painted in the previous twelve months.

cat 13

Trevor Bell Born 1930 Broken Form on Venetian Red oil on canvas 36 x 24 ins (91.5 x 61 cms) signed and dated '60 also signed and titled on canvas overlap provenance acquired directly from the artist's studio in 2011

Following his first one-man show in 1958 at Waddington Galleries, Bell was awarded an Italian Government Scholarship in 1959. He travelled extensively and produced a number of paintings inspired by the Italian landscape using a richer palette. Works included Broken Form on Venetian Red, Italian and To Tuscany (University of Leeds Art Collection) and Umbro-Sienese 1960 (University of Liverpool Collection).

cat 14

John Wells 1907–2000 Painting 1960 oil on canvas 10 x 14 ins (25.5 x 35.5 cms) signed and dated 1960 verso inscribed trewarveneth street, newlyn, on stretcher provenance private collection 2002–2013 exhibited london, the waddington galleries, john wells, september 1960, cat no 14 (label verso)

During the highly productive period leading up to his first one-man show at Waddington Galleries in 1960, Wells adopted a more expressive and gestural approach to his work, significantly different from the earlier geometrically-based compositions.

cat 15

Ben Nicholson 1894–1982 Feb 1963 (Peg Top) oil and pencil on paper 12½ x 9 ins (32 x 23 cms) signed, dated feb 1963 and titled verso exhibited new york, andré emmerich gallery, britain salutes new york (caro, hockney, nicholson), 27 april – 27 may 1983 germany, quadrat bottrop, joseph albers museum, ben nicholson, 29 october – 10 december 1989, cat no 41

With characteristic simplicity of line and subtle interlocking of shapes, Feb 1963 (Peg Top) is a still life drawn with infinite skill and apparent ease. The addition of a compact red structure stabilises the composition by anchoring the transparent forms.

cat 16

Terry Frost 1915–2003 Chevrons for Compton oil on canvas 48 x 48 ins (122 x 122 cms) signed, dated '64 and titled verso provenance private collection 2007–2012 exhibited london, belgrave gallery, terry frost, recent paintings, collages & monotypes, major works of the 50s and 60s, 10 march – 4 april 1997

An abundance of bold symbols define this painting as a crossroads in Frost's career. The arrows and V-shapes present in paintings between 1960 and 1963 are merged with the brash traffic signs of Banbury and the chevrons and circles of the Compton Wynyates chapel banners. Untitled (Two Chevrons) and MK 17th October (British Council Collection) are two other notable examples of this combination of heraldic imagery and elements of urban modernisation.

cat 17

John Plumb 1927–2008 Jaffa, 1965 acrylic on cotton duck 72 x 50 ins (183 x 127 cms) signed and dated 1965 verso also signed, dated May 1965 & titled label verso exhibited brussels, galerie le zodiac, john plumb may 1966, cat no 1 (label verso) bristol, arnolfini gallery, john plumb, 25 march – 25 april 1967, cat no 4, illustrated

The following extract from a text written in 2008 by the art critic, Frank Whitford, who had known John Plumb for many years, summarises perfectly the artist's work from this period: "By the mid-1960s Plumb was producing large fields of a single colour with narrow, sometimes scarcely visible, margins of other colours intended optically to modify the effect and even the emotional impact, of the central, dominant, and usually ravishingly beautiful hue."

cat 18

Kathleen Guthrie 1905–1981 Brown and Grey oil on canvas 36 x 48 ins (91.5 x 122 cms) signed titled label verso painted circa 1975 provenance the artist's estate private collection

From her solo exhibition with Andras Kalman in 1951, through to the retrospective at Drian Gallery in 1966, Guthrie's oeuvre was continuously progressive both in subject and technique. In the 1970s she embarked on a succession of bold abstract paintings, which she referred to as her 'Camelot' series, the hard geometric style owing much to the influence of her second husband, Cecil Stephenson. Brown and Grey was central to the series and Guthrie produced a number of accomplished silkscreens after the painting.

cat 19

Alan Reynolds Born 1926 Structure – Olive, Rust and Black gouache on card 18 x 15½ ins (46 x 39.5cms) signed painted in 1961 provenance private collection circa 1990–2012

By the mid-1950s, Reynolds' transition to abstraction from figuration was fully established. The new aesthetic approach stemmed from simplification and experimentation on the relationship between geometric forms exemplified in Structure – Olive, Rust and Black. A larger oil of strikingly similar composition, Structure – Red, Black, Orange and Green, was included in the Carnegie selection at Pittsburgh International in 1961.

cat 20

Alan Davie Born 1920 Wet Fish oil on canvas 20 x 24 ins (51 x 61 cms) signed and dated June 1967 verso titled on stretcher provenance gimpel & weitzenhoffer ltd, new york (label verso)

Painted in the same year in which Davie was included in the Peter Stuyvesant Collection exhibition at Tate Gallery, London, Wet Fish is an exuberant, spontaneous and highly characteristic example of the artist’s oeuvre in the mid-1960s. Davie had solo shows in Chicago, Hanover, London, Paris and Zurich in 1967, confirming his status as a truly international artist of the era.

cat 21

William Gear 1915–1997 Landscape Composition oil on canvas laid on board 30 x 20 ins (76 x 51 cms) signed and dated '71

William Gear painted landscape compositions with his own distinct language. He blended light, colour and structure to create dissolution of shape akin to camouflage. The earlier examples, such as Autumn Landscape 1950 (collection National Galleries of Scotland), gave way to more formal constructions, inspired by his interest in sculpture, but throughout the 1960s and 1970s he returned to his unique style of softened forms intersected with strident diagonals.

cat 22

Frank Bowling Born 1936 From BG to BG (The Journey) acrylic on canvas 44 x 65 ins (112 x 165 cms) signed, dated 1974 and titled verso provenance purchased directly from the artist in 1991 private collection, london 1991–2006 private collection, cornwall 2006–2012

Bowling began the 1960s as a figurative painter but moved increasingly towards abstraction whilst living and working in New York from 1966. By the end of the decade he was concentrating on purely applied colour. From the same era as the distinctive 'poured paintings', BG to BG (The Journey) gives the viewer an involuntary sense of landscape, despite the fact that Bowling titled many of the series to deflect descriptive association.

cat 23

Boyle Family Study for the Fire Series with Blackened Sandstone painted fibreglass and mixed media 60 x 42 ins (152.5 x 107 cms) signed, dated 1989 and titled verso exhibited zurich, turske & turske, boyle family: the fire studies, 25 november 1989 – 13 january 1990

With a fundamental interest in portraying randomly selected locations in painstaking and eerie detail, the Boyle Family visited derelict plots, waste ground and building sites to reproduce slabs of reality, unencumbered by motive or emotion. The Fire Series was created on a demolition site in London in 1989. Writing about the exhibition Beyond Image: Boyle Family, at the Hayward Gallery in 1986, Mark Boyle wrote that their aim is, “To see if it is possible for us to look at the world or a small part of it, without being reminded consciously or unconsciously of myths and legends, art out of the past – or present, art and myths of other culture...” “We don’t want to find in it memories of places where we suffered joy and anguish or tenderness or laughter. We want to see without motive and without reminiscence this cliff, this street, this roof, this field this rock, this earth”.

cat 24

Bertram Eaton 1912–1978 Wall Construction beech and mahogany 38¼ x 62 ins (97 x 157.5 cms) signed with estate stamp circa 1950 provenance the artist's estate

By 1950, Eaton’s sculpture was entirely abstract. His exhibition at Gallerie Apollinaire consisted of a range of murals on the theme of Wall Construction. All these assemblies were contained within rectangular structures, usually incorporating a combination of yew, lime, beech and mahogany. The Festival of Britain in 1951 provided a huge source of inspiration for Eaton and his broadened artistic vocabulary led to a number of group exhibitions with Reg Butler, Ivon Hitchens and John Piper at London galleries, such as Rowland Browse Delanco and Hanover Gallery.

cat 25

Geoffrey Clarke Born 1924 Trough Torii 1 aluminium 13¼ x 35 ins (34 x 89 cms) stamped with initials and dated '65 number 1 from edition of 6 provenance purchased from the artist in 1994 private collection 1996–2012

Trough Torii I was produced in Clarke’s own foundry. Torii (literally: bird perch) is the Japanese name for ceremonial gateways to Shinto shrines. The trough is symbolic of growth. Its classic monumental form was the earliest in the series started in 1965 and coincided with the artist’s first retrospective at the Redfern Gallery and his inclusion in the Tate Gallery exhibition British Sculpture in the Sixties.

cat 26

Margaret Lovell Born 1939 Wing Movement bronze on slate base 12 x 24 ins (30.5 x 61 cms) signed on base number 6 from an edition of 6 cast in 1969 provenance purchased from the marjorie parr gallery in 1969 private collection, london 1969–1995 christie's king street, 26 may 1995, lot 146 private collection 1995–2013 exhibited london, marjorie parr gallery, august 1969

The organic leaf and wing forms created by Lovell during the late 1960s were often finished using different patinas and the artist has confirmed that this cast with green patination is unique. Success in London in 1968 encouraged Marjorie Parr to include Lovell in the inaugural exhibition at her St Ives Gallery in 1969, where her work was exhibited alongside Denis Mitchell, John Milne and Breon O'Casey.

cat 27

Leon Underwood 1890–1975 The Chosen bronze on wooden base 8 x 22 ins (20.5 x 56 cms) signed, titled and numbered V/VII cast in 1968 provenance private collection 2001–2012 exhibited colchester, the minories, leon underwood a retrospective exhibition, august–september 1969, cat no 85 (another cast) london, redfern gallery, leon underwood 1890–1975: a centenary exhibition, 1991, cat no 28 (another cast) somerset, millfield school, millfield british twentieth century sculpture exhibition, 1992 (another cast) literature christopher neve, leon underwood, page 158, cat no 115 (another cast illustrated) ben whitworth, the sculpture of leon underwood, page 131, cat no 97 (another cast illustrated)

cat 28

Robert Adams 1917–1984 Two Bronze Forms bronze on mahogany base 5½ x 7½ ins (14 x 19 cms) stamped with signature and dated 1978 on base artist’s cast from an edition of 6 exhibited london, gimpel fils, robert adams, 30 october – 24 november 1979, cat no 12 literature alastair grieve, the sculpture of robert adams, henry moore foundation/lund humphries 1992, cat no 649, illustrated page 137

Like Hepworth, Adams was inspired by the Neolithic standing stones found in and around Penwith, Cornwall. The two slabs are fixed in place on a mahogany base thus removing the temptation to rearrange their configuration to the viewer’s choice. The use of polished crescents and circles cut into dark patinated forms parallels the work of Denis Mitchell, the sculptor and close friend who encouraged Adams to work on smallscale bronzes.

cat 29

Geoffrey Clarke Born 1924 One and One aluminium 15¾ x 21¼ ins (40 x 54 cms) stamped with initials and dated 86/88 edition of 3

In the late 1980s Clarke revisited the earlier symbolic themes he had explored in the 1950s with a series of paired figures and heads. One and One represents the male and female forms and their interaction, with discreet variations. They are connected by a uniting base, or bridge, possibly suggestive of marriage. Aluminium was a favoured medium of Clarke’s and he pioneered the use of polystyrene as a new alternative to the lost-wax method of casting.

cat 30

Paul Mount 1922–2009 Toscanella stainless steel on marble base 6¾ x 8 ins inc. base (17 x 20.5 cms) signed number 2 from an edition of 7 titled and dated 1991 on label exhibited new art centre, london (label on base)

For his solo exhibition at the New Art Centre in 1991, Paul Mount had explored and adopted the human form for a number of his sculptures. With obvious reference to the reclining figures of Henry Moore, Mount’s sensuous composition is greatly enhanced by his use of stainless steel, a medium in which he excelled.

20th century british art Published in 2013 by Paisnel Gallery

isbn 978-0-9558255-7-6 Paisnel Gallery 9 Bury Street St James’s London sw1y 6ab Telephone: 020 7930 9293 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: Paul Tucker Photography Design: Alan Ward @ Print: DeckersSnoeck, Antwerp

Cover: Frank Bowling, From BG to BG (The Journey) (detail) cat 22 Front endpaper: Terry Frost, Chevrons for Compton (detail) cat 16 Back endpaper: Boyle Family, Study for the Fire Series with Blackened Sandstone (detail) cat 23




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20th Century British Art  

Catalogue to accompany Exhibition Spring 2013

20th Century British Art  

Catalogue to accompany Exhibition Spring 2013