• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7595

    20th Century British Art

    6 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 103

    Paul Feiler (b. 1918)

    Porthcadjack, blue & black

    Price Realised  


    Paul Feiler (b. 1918)
    Porthcadjack, blue & black
    signed and dated 'FEILER 61' (lower left), signed, inscribed and dated again 'PAUL FEILER/PORTHCADJACK, BLUE + BLACK/1960/61' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    48 x 48 in. (122 x 122 cm.)

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    Feiler was able to move to Cornwall in 1953, following the sell-out success of his first exhibition at the Redfern Gallery. He bought a disused chapel at Kerris, near Paul, where he still lives. His paintings from this time often bear the title of a particular Cornish location, the inspiration for his work coming from the surrounding light and landscape. Porthcadjack is a cove close to the village of Portreath, an isolated and exposed part of the coastline where the sea constantly crashes against the towering cliffs. Drawing on this external source his paintings are rendered through simple compositional structures, using tonal palettes of whites, slate greys and Cornish blues achieved using heavily impastoed layers of paint.

    Feiler attended the Slade from 1937-40 with fellow students Patrick Heron, Kenneth Armitage, Bryan Wynter and Adrian Heath. He later became close friends with Peter Lanyon. Along with his contemporaries, he looked to the work of the American Abstract Expressionist painters, including Rothko, Pollock and de Kooning, who inpsired him to adopt a fully abstract idiom.

    To a degree the direction of the American painters was moving along the same lines as their Cornish counterparts. Patrick Heron wrote about the 1956 Tate Gallery exhibition, Modern Art in the United States: A Selection from the Collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; 'the most vigorous movement seen since the war, we shall now watch New York as eagerly as Paris for new developments' and concluding that the work was a 'consolidation' of their own (Patrick Heron, Arts, New York, 1956) (see lot 99). Feiler seems to have concurred with this, as in 1958 when Mark Rothko came to stay with Peter Lanyon, Feiler invited them for lunch at Paul, one of an increasing number of visits by Americans to St Ives. In response to these new influences, and with his own maturation as a painter, by the early 1960s Feiler's paintings had developed a new sense of clarity and purity, responding less to what the landscape looks like than to the feelings stirred by its perception. The mastery of form of Porthcadjack, blue & black captures the vastness of the Atlantic coast with an austere grandeur unique to Feiler.

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    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    with Redfern Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owners in July 1984.