On Wednesday 21 February, we have our Old Master, British and European Art auction. We are pleased to be offering fourteen never-before-seen works from one of the most popular Anglo-Spanish artists of the early 20th century, George Owen Wynne Apperley (1884-1960).
Famed for being one of the greatest of the late Romantic artists, Apperley’s passion for Spain was captured in a trip there in 1914. Such was his love of the country that he returned to live there a few years later in 1916.
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Lot 215: George Owen Wynne Apperley (British 1884-1960), 'Moreno De Granada', Oil on canvas | Est. £1,000-1,500 (+ fees)
Apperley was born in England and was of aristocratic Welsh stock. After studying at Hastings school of art he moved onto Herkomer School in Bushey, founded by the polymath artist Sir Hubert von Herkomer RA. In 1904 he travelled to Italy and in his own words`That visit awakened intense emotions whose effect was etched eternally on my soul… one could say my artistic education started seriously at that moment’. The plein air landscapes he painted impressed Herkomer who invited him to help with the backgrounds of his own paintings including Bullfighter that was exhibited at the Royal Academy. The following year Apperley had his first picture exhibited there too and would continue to do so for decades. His Mediterranean work led to many successful one-man exhibitions at London galleries including The Leicester Gallery in 1908 and 1910. He also exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, the Paris Salon (1913) and at the Venice Biennial in 1912 and 1914, where he was one of several artists representing Great Britain.
In 1916, he settled in the Albaicín district of Granada and soon became friends with many of the artists and creatives in the city. He created a studio from which many of his works were created, and often sent back to London and across Europe and beyond for one-man exhibitions at London galleries. In 1924 the Victoria and Albert Museum purchased his Cordobesa (Cordovan Woman).
Lot 214: George Owen Wynne Apperley (British 1884-1960), 'Magda', Oil on canvas | Est. £700-1,000 (+ fees)
Having moved from classical subjects and mythology his focus switched to portraiture in Spain and the Mediterranean light of southern Europe characterised his work. His studio hummed with life as a constant stream of gypsy singers, dancers, guitarists and vagrants came and went and it was this rich diversity that gave his paintings an authentic reflection of Granada and its people. Apperley was feted by Spanish high society and the visitors book for his studio was also filled with the names of European Royalty. His landscapes, gypsies and mythological subjects proved popular and by 1918 a large exhibition of his work in Madrid was visited by King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia. Granada embraced him as one of their own and christened him `The Englishman from the Albaicin’.
Sadly, he was compelled to leave his beloved Spain in 1932 when his conservative political position regarding the Second Spanish Republic led to an attack on his home. Amidst the political turmoil he decided to move with his second family, his muse and later wife, Enriqueta Contreras and their two sons to Tangier, Morocco. However, he missed Spain so much that he regularly returned to his studio in Granada to paint. He died in Tangier in 1960, with his obituary in Spain reading: ‘Apperley’s pictures will, in their own right, finally and deservedly justify the acclaim they received years ago. In the long term, the real human values attached to works of art remain untouched by academic debate’. He is commemorated in Granada by a statue in Placeta de la Calle Gloria in 2011 and his works are in many museum collections around the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Museo de Málaga in Spain.
Lot 222: George Owen Wynne Apperley (British 1884-1960), 'Arco Iris Sobre La Alhambra', Watercolour | Est. £700-1,000 (+ fees)
Among the works on offer, which range in estimate from £300-£1,500 is a striking oil on canvas titled Moreno De Granada which captures one of the many traditional flamboyant Spanish characters that surrounded Apperley. It carries an estimate of £1,000-1,500 (Lot 215). Another, also in rich oils is Magda featuring a vibrant woman in traditional Spanish attire. It is dated 1942 and is estimated to fetch £700-£1,000 (Lot 214).
Amongst several landscape paintings that encapsulate the stunning Spanish countryside and unique terrain and architecture is a pair of landscapes in watercolour titled Mirando Hacia Viznar (in English Looking Towards Viznar), which portrays the dry sandy earth tones of the hills in the area surrounding the town of Viznar a few miles out of the city of Granada. The area which he captures so well once housed the summer palace of an 18th-century archbishop of Granada, Don José Manuel Moscoso y Peralta, (1723–1811) and was where the famous Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) was assassinated. The painting dates from 1920 and carries an estimate of £700-£1,000 (Lot 223).
Arco Iris Sobre la Alhambra (or Rainbow over the Alhambra in English) is a beautiful encapsulation of a rainbow forming over the palace of Alhambra in Granada, one of the most recognised and best-preserved monuments of Islamic architecture with Spanish Renaissance additions. It dates from 1953 and carries an estimate of £700-£1,000 (Lot 222).
Lot 223: George Owen Wynne Apperley (British 1884-1960), 'Mirando Hacia Viznar, a pair of landscapes', Watercolour | Est. £700-1,000 (+ fees)
A colourful still life titled Bodegon (in English Pantry) is a simple yet effective visual feast for the eyes. Captured in oil and dating from 1958, it carries an estimate of £800-£1,200 (Lot 224). A more whimsical approach is seen in El Baño de las Ninfas (in English Nudes or Nymphs Bathing) is rich in colour and motion as the figures bathe beneath a waterfall amongst trees. In oil on canvas and dating from 1946 it carries an estimate of £3,000-£5,000 (Lot 218).
Commenting on the works, Brandon Lindberg, Head of Dreweatts Old Master, British & European Art department, said: “It has been a privilege to work with the artist’s family and select this group of work from his studio. We have chosen pictures that reflected his talent and the richness and diversity of his subject matter”.
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Wednesday 21 February, 10.30am GMT
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
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- Viewing in London (highlights only):
- Monday 12 February: 10am-4pm
- Tuesday 13 February: 10am-4pm
- Wednesday 14 February: 10am-4pm
- Viewing in Newbury:
- Sunday 18 February: 10am-3pm
- Monday 19 February: 10am-4pm
- Tuesday 20 February: 10am-4pm
- Wednesday 21 February: 8.30am-4pm
- Remote viewing service | Available by appointment
- Dreweatts 360 Virtual Auction Tour | Available from Wednesday 14 February