On Friday 14 April we have our Art Online auction showcasing works from the 17th century through to the contemporary with prices from £10 - £2,000 (+ fees). There is a wide variety of artworks and sculpture, covering different genres and styles which makes it an exciting platform for new and established collectors looking to develop and grow their collections. Within the sale we have a strong selection of contemporary photography, all being sold without reserve, featuring photographers such as Veronica Bailey and Magali Nougarede. There is also an interesting group of works by Harold Dearden from a private collection and other highlights by artists such as Alfred Pollentine, Graham Rust, William Russell Flint and Victor Pasmore. Here, head of sale, Francesca Whitham picks out five works for under £1,000.
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1. Manner of Jan Brueghel II, 'Figures in an extensive wooded river landscape'
This charming Dutch panel candidly captures everyday life in the countryside. Three generations of a family are depicted in the foreground. The young child holds their mother’s hand and the eldest gentleman walks with a stick to the left of the group. Bounding ahead is a rather charismatic dog that looks back towards its owners. Elsewhere in the picture the artist has captured the goings on beside the river’s edge. I was particularly drawn to the pair of swans in the lower right corner. The work executed on panel is described as ‘Manner of’ Jan Brueghel II, this means that the work is executed in the style of the artist but at a later date. The artist has certainly captured elements of Breughel’s style, most notably in the fluidity of the characters, through their delicate hands and arms lifted in gestures of speech.
Lot 22: Manner of Jan Breughel II, 'Figures in an extensive wooded river landscape', Oil on panel | Est. £600-800 (+ fees)
2. Fleur Cowles, 'Rose'
Whilst roses can sometimes be seen as a clichéd romantic gesture, this work by American artist Fleur Cowles (Lot 44) is completely enchanting. The rose is perched on a rock formation jutting out into the water. This composition and the scale of the rose creates a surrealist atmosphere. Cowles was a renowned writer, journalist and editor. She was known for being the creative force behind Flair magazine in the 1950s. Cowles married Mike Cowles who owned American magazine Look. Shortly afterwards they set up Flair. The magazine featured illustrations by some of the most well-known artists of today including Picasso, Lucian Freud, Winston Churchill and Salvador Dalí. Cowles was drawn to nature through her artistic practice and regularly returned to the motif of the rose.
Lot 44: Fleur Cowles (American 1908-2009), 'Rose', Oil on board | Est. £400-600 (+ fees)
3. Lucy Jones, 'The London Promenade'
I love the striking effect of the paired back simplicity of this linocut (Lot 45). Particularly interesting is how the combination of pattern and geometric shapes all work together to form a full composition. Lucy Jones is a London based artist who was born in 1955. Jones studied at Byam Shaw School, Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art. Following a scholarship in painting she attended the British School in Rome between 1982-84. Jones practices in both printmaking and painting, depicting figures and landscapes, re-visiting the London landscape time and time again.
Lot 45: λ Lucy Jones (British B. 1955), 'The London Promenade', Linocut | Est. £100-150 (+ fees)
4. Alfred Wolmark, 'Trees'
I was particularly drawn to the expressive brushstrokes that make up this sturdy cluster of trees in Lot 173. The yellow pigment which sits hazily in the distance creates a sense of light as it pushes through the trees. Wolmark is a highly collectible artist and there are two other works by the artist in the sale (Lot 174 & 175). A post-impressionist painter, his works were included in the pivotal Manet and the Post-Impressionists exhibition at the Grafton Gallery. He was a friend of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and it is clear that his colour palette and style was increasingly influenced by modern French painting. This is a strong and interesting composition complemented by a stylised wood frame.
Lot 173: λ Alfred Wolmark (British 1877-1961), 'Trees', Oil on canvas-board | Est. £600-800 (+ fees)
5. Keith Vaughan, 'Entwined Figure'
Following on from the strong prices achieved for works by Keith Vaughan in our most recent Modern & Contemporary sale in March 2023, I couldn’t help but pick out Lot 185. The entwined figures fill the sheet. Despite its abstract nature you can feel the connection between the figures and the extensions of the limbs which hold the embrace. It is an intimate and sensitive study which would certainly be one of my choices from the forthcoming auction. Vaughan worked as a teacher at the Camberwell School of Art and later at the Slade School. The auction market for Vaughan’s work is exciting and prices have continued to rise, especially since the exhibition Keith Vaughan: Romanticism to Abstraction at Pallant House Gallery in 2012.
Lot 185: λ Keith Vaughan (British 1912-1977), 'Entwined Figure', Pencil drawing | Est. £300-500 (+ fees)