Dreweatts sale of Modern and Contemporary Art on 3 April features important works by artists such as Terry Frost, Denis Mitchell, John Armstrong, Francis Newton Souza and Brian Shields. Jennie Fisher, Head of Pictures, presents here some of her highlights from the auction.
The auction includes a number of significant St. Ives School works from a private collection. In particular, a large and impressive oil titled Black and White (Moorings) by Sir Terry Frost dating from 1985 (lot 206).
Sir Terry Frost is renowned for his geometric abstractions and patterns of interlined shapes based on the observation of nature. In 1941, Frost met painter Adrian Heath in a prisoner of war camp. His relationship with Heath prospered and it was he who encouraged Frost to go to St Ives and paint.
This striking work is reminiscent of Frost’s earlier paintings and with its sparse colour scheme and geometric simplicity, it typifies everything ‘St. Ives’.
To compliment this work, the sale also includes two noteworthy sculptures from fellow Cornish resident, Denis Mitchell. Again, simplicity of line and form are at the heart of both Zag Cone and St. Keverne (lots 210 & 212).
Mitchell’s sculptures tend to incorporate just one principle form, stretching and curving upwards into the space. They are an expertly judged balance between space and form, between line and mass and their sleek polished exteriors belie their material weight.
Prints, works on paper and further oils by Wilhelmina Barns Graham (lots 201 & 203), John Armstrong (lot 209) and Michael Ayrton (lots 207, 208, 213, 214) complete this group.
Abstract art is further represented by a small but exquisitely executed oil entitled Red Sunset No.2 by Scottish artist Joan Eardley (lot 247).
With provenance from Roland, Browse & Delbanco, this typical late 1950s/early 60s work most probably depicts the landscape around Catterline in north-eastern Scotland where she lived from 1961 until her early death in 1963.
Likewise, from a private collection, the sale also includes an interesting work on paper by Indian artist Francis Newton Souza (lot 215).
Souza was a founding member of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group founded in 1947. Whilst the group lacked a singular style, it advocated the synthesis of traditional Indian artistic traditions into the wider international art scene and, in particular, the western European and American avant-garde. Souza’s first exhibition in London was in 1948 at Burlington House. The following year, he moved to London where he initially struggled to make an impact, relying instead on journalism to make ends meet. However, in 1954, the ICA included his work in an exhibition and the following year, as a result of a meeting with Victor Musgrave of Gallery One, a one-man show at the gallery sold out and Souza was on the road to success.
The present work is interesting as, dating from 1954, it lies on the cusp of that critical acclaim and depicts a street scene with Souza’s typical spiky tree forms dominating the composition.
For collectors of figurative work, the sale includes a characteristic cricketing scene by Liverpool-born artist, Brian Shields (Braaq) (lot 235).
Famous for his depictions of northern industrial landscapes, this more light-hearted work achieved a price of £61,000 in 2014, at the time a world record for the artist. The artist depicts himself in the painting as a boy in a striped jumper.
Auction: Wednesday 3 April, 2.30pm
On view: Sunday 31 March: 10am–2pm; Monday 1 April: 9am–5.30pm; Tuesday 2 April: 9am–4.30pm; Day of sale: from 8.30am