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    Sale 7482

    Modern and Contemporary Australian Art Including Works by New Zealand and South African Artists

    12 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 64

    Leonard William French (b.1928)

    The Raft

    Price Realised  


    Leonard William French (b.1928)
    The Raft
    titled and dated 'The Raft 1970' on a label on the reverse
    enamel on hessian-covered hardboard
    59½ x 71¾in. (151.1 x 182.3cm.)

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    'Late in 1968, while still working on a resolution of The Journey, Leonard French embarked on a new major sequence of work which expressed itself in The Raft Series ... The series again dealt with a heroic, but meaningless journey, and one where the hero is stripped of companionship, confidence and the potential for triumph. The naked figure, hiding his face from the gaze of man, seated on a makeshift raft aimlessly drifting in an endless ocean, has all the hallmarks of a self-referential existentialist image. The intellectual context points more to Beckett, Ionesco and Borges, than it does to the heritage of the Homeric heroes.

    'In its formal language, The Raft series takes the painterly, non- ornamental tendencies of The Journey paintings to a climax. Although the actual technique of the painting in enamel glazes has remained unchanged, dramatic figuration has been given new prominence. The paintings are built around a polarity of the despair of the figure alone on the raft, and the ephemeral and ambiguous rainbow, a symbol of hope, faith and regeneration, shown as a presence from above. It is difficult not to see within the series an overiding note of pessimism and withdrawal from the world, a world so different from the one in which the Elizabethan hero met his martyrdom, protected through his faith. While Patrick McCaughey championed the show, it generally received a quiet reception with most of the series, between its Sydney and Melbourne exposures, remaining unsold.' (S. Grishin, Leonard French, Sydney, 1995, p.48)

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

    Pre-Lot Text



    Woollahra, Sydney, Rudy Komon Art Gallery, Leonard French (The Raft series), 1971.
    Melbourne, University of Melbourne Art Gallery, Leonard French: "The Raft" paintings, 1974.