On Friday 8 December, we have our Art Online auction which showcases a private collection of works from artists such as Denis Bowen, William Newcombe and Halima Nalecz, whose approach to abstraction helped shape the post-war British art scene.
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The establishment of the New Vision Centre Gallery promoted artistic expression through the celebration of international avant-garde artists in London. This cosmopolitan approach praised artists and works that were otherwise being overlooked. Whilst pop art and abstract expressionism from North America was proving the taste of the 60s, the New Vision Centre Gallery honed in on movements spreading across Europe and Latin America, exploring ideas of kinetic and optical art, providing a platform for artists whose ideas and approaches were proving difficult for the mainstream market to digest and appreciate.
The birth of the New Vision Group in 1951 signified the support for abstraction and young contemporary artists, set up by students from the Hammersmith School of Art, including Denis Bowen. In 1956, Denis Bowen, Halima Nalecz and Frank Avray Wilson went on to establish the New Vision Centre Gallery based in Seymour Place, London. Promoting artists who were often ignored by the establishment, the group looked to showcase artists exploring non-figurative works, experimenting with early ideas of Tachisme. In 1960 the group hosted the exhibition of Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni. During 1964, together with Kenneth Coutts-Smith and the Tunnard Gallery they presented an exhibition of the ‘Group Zero’ artists Heinz Mack and Otto Piene.
λ Lot 5: William John Bertram Newcombe (British 1907-1969), Movement In Space, Mixed media on paper | Est. £150-200 (+ fees)
The New Vision Centre Gallery was one of the first galleries to elevate contemporary foreign artists, giving them a platform for group and solo exhibitions. Between 1956-1966, artists from 29 countries were exhibited, with an emphasis of those from the Commonwealth, including Gordon House, Aubrey Williams and Ian Stephenson.
Denis Bowen (South African/British 1921-2006)
Denis Bowen, a South African artist who was born in 1921, moved to Huddersfield, England where he was raised by his Aunt. In 1936, Bowen studied at the Huddersfield School of Art and after his service in the Second World War he enrolled at the Royal College of Art in 1946. Bowen moved into tuition and took positions at Birmingham School of Art, Central School of Art and Design, and Hammersmith School of Art throughout his career.
Lot 1 includes four monotypes with hand-colouring. These experimental prints from 1961/62 are from a period when Bowen was exploring Tachisme exploding with fluid, rapid strokes capturing a sense of rhythm and movement. These early studies experimented with atomic explosions and eruptions, sometimes titled ‘Vertical Image’ - a reoccurring theme in Bowen’s expression through art.
“Spontaneity of the construction of the image which engages the eye and quickens the senses.”
~ Denis Bowen
λ Lot 1: Denis Bowen (South African/British 1921-2006), Untitled, NO. 25; NO. 26 together with two smaller studies, Monotype with hand-colouring | Est. £300-500 (+ fees)
William John Bertram Newcombe (Canadian/British 1907-1969)
William Newcombe (Lots 3-9) was the subject of numerous one-man shows at the New Vision Centre Gallery in London in 1958, 1959, 1962, 1964 and 1965. During this period, he was also showcasing at the Galerie El Corsario, Ibiza (1956), Jerrold Morris Art Gallery, Toronto (1962) and other London galleries including Grosvenor Gallery in 1961, and Nicholas Treadwell Gallery in 1965. Born in Victoria, British Colombia, Newcombe grew up in Vancouver and lived between Toronto and London throughout his career. Working mainly with watercolours and ink, Newcombe explored abstraction through different colours and textures.
It was during Denis Bowen’s teaching position at the University of British Colombia in Vancouver that he was first introduced to William Newcombe.
λ Lot 3: William John Bertram Newcombe (Canadian/British 1907-1969), The Heights, Mixed media on paper | Est. £150-200 (+ fees)
Halima Nalecz (Polish1914-2008)
Lot 2 is a foliage study on paper by Halima Nalecz. She was one of the founding members of the New Vision Centre Gallery with Denis Bowen and was also the director of the Drian Gallery at Porchester Place. Nalecz was extremely influential on the post-war British art scene, supporting emerging artists and acting as patron for the arts throughout her career. Nalecz settled in London in 1956 with a strong vision of providing a platform and opportunity for young artists exploring themes of abstract expressionism in the 1960s. In 1957, Nalecz opened the Drian Gallery and hosted major exhibitions for artists such as William Crozer and John Bellany. Throughout her career, as an established artist and director of the Drian Gallery, Nalecz built her own collection, vowing to purchase a work of art by an artist to enter the permanent collection every time a painting of hers sold. This collection of over 500 works was donated to the Polish National Museum in 1983.
λ Lot 2: Halima Nalecz (Polish1914-2008), Untitled (Foliage), Monotype with hand-colouring | Est. £150-200 (+ fees)
Friday 8 December | 10.30am GMT
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2JE
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