• First Open | Post-War and Cont auction at Christies

    Sale 12724

    First Open | Post-War and Contemporary Art | London

    29 September 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 75

    Shelagh Wakely (1932-2011)

    La Fonte de Neiges (La Jouisseuse) (The Melting of the Snow (The Sensualist))


    Shelagh Wakely (1932-2011)
    La Fonte de Neiges (La Jouisseuse) (The Melting of the Snow (The Sensualist))
    titled, inscribed and dated 'LA FONTE DE NEIGES LA JOUISSEUSE Jan '86' (on the overlap)
    ink, watercolour, graphite, emulsion and varnish on canvas
    67 ¾ x 55 1/8in. (172 x 140cm.)
    Executed in 1986

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    A pioneering installation artist, Shelagh Wakely (1932-2011), though best known for her large-scale public commissions, also worked in a more intimate idiom: many of her smaller creations involved gold leaf, wire, feathers or powders, and incorporated processes of decay and evanescence in their explorations of nature. Her 40-year career spanned a wealth of media; a childhood spent between the Lake District and Kenya was followed by courses of painting and screen-printing at Chelsea College of Art in the late 1950s, and during the next decade she worked as a freelance textile designer, before spending much of her life as an artist in Brazil. Her diverse influences can be traced in the present work, La Fonte de Neiges (La Jouisseuse) (The Melting of Snow ((The Sensualist)) (1986). Its delicate forms, executed in varnish, ink, graphite, emulsion and watercolour on canvas, recall a series of limpid pools or fluttering petals as much as the disappearing snow of the title; the ephemeral, Twomblyesque lines evoke a wistful sense of lyricism, its richly varied surface conjuring forth beauty from that which must fade away.

    Special Notice

    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.
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    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.


    London, Camden Arts Centre, Shelagh Wakely: A View from a Window, 2014.