Christie’s announce a group of superb Scottish Colourist paintings to be offered in the 20th Century British Art sale on 26 May 2011, led by the most important work by Samuel John Peploe, R.S.A. (1871-1935) ever to come to auction, The Coffee Pot, 1905 (estimate: £800,000-1.2million). One of five works which together constitute Peploe’s most famous images, this magnificent painting illustrates the impact of Edouard Manet on the artist during his time in Paris. This canvas exemplifies the artistic sophistication which cemented Peploe’s position in the European art scene. Featuring a joyous array of rare paintings by Peploe, John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961) and Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, R.S.A., R.S.W. (1883-1937), as well as Anne Redpath, A.R.A., A.R.W.S., R.S.A. (1895-1965), this group provides serious collectors and institutions with a range of subjects and palettes which exemplify the celebrated painterly style of these artists. With two months left for works to continue to be consigned, this initial group is estimated to realise in excess of £1.5 million.

Andre Zlattinger, Senior Director in the 20th British and Irish Art department: “Christie’s is thrilled to be offering ‘The Coffee Pot’ an incredibly large, evocative and sensual painting by Peploe, which is his most important work to come to auction. Illustrating the influence of Edouard Manet during his time in Paris, it marks a significant point of mastery and accomplishment in Peploe’s early career, revealing a wonderful new painting technique and sophisticated handling of colour, light, form and texture. Having recently been exhibited in the National Gallery of Scotland’s exhibition ‘Impressionists in Scotland,’ it is offered from a private collection and is a key Scottish work for any true connoisseur.”

A further early Peploe, of charming proportions, is A Wine Decanter, Glasses and Fruit, 1905-1910 (estimate: £200,000-300,000). It is offered from the collection of the late William Bowie, who was an important collector of Scottish Colourists in the 1950s. From the 1920s Peploe concentrated on two very different approaches to his work; the freedom and expression seen in his landscapes of Iona and Cassis and carefully constructed studio still lifes. He favoured compositional devices such as sumptuous roses, different coloured drapes, mirrors and a variety of blue-and-white pots and vases, invariably cut off by the top of the picture plane.

Roses in a vase with oranges and white tablecloth (estimate: £200,000-300,000) is a classic Peploe, whilst Still Life with Oranges & Roses, from the mid-1920s, illustrates a Cézanesque style (estimate: £300,000-500,000). Marigolds in a jug (estimate: £100,000-150,000) dating to the 1930s, shows his experimentation with a brown based palette and moves away from roses to lilies and marigolds which are executed with looser brushstrokes.

Fergusson’s evocatively bustling Parisian Street Scene was painted between 1904 and 1908 whilst he was living with Peploe in Paris (estimate: £25,000-35,000). Employing a fresh palette and thickly applied paint, which is sometimes referred to as a ‘toothpaste picture’, this small panel is a jewel.

Cadell is represented by Roses, circa 1920s, which is relatively rare as the artist, who was renowned for his beautiful interiors, portraits of Edinburgh society beauties and Iona landscapes, painted very few still lives (estimate: £80,000-120,000). The significant influence of the Scottish Colourists on the work of Redpath is illustrated in her spring like canvas First Flowers (estimate: £100,000-150,000). Having been executed following her return to Scotland from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, this early work dates to the 1940s which is the artist’s most sought after period.

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