George Leslie Hunter (1879-1931)
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George Leslie Hunter (1879-1931)

Still life with fruit

George Leslie Hunter (1879-1931)
Still life with fruit
signed 'L. Hunter.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
20¼ x 16 in. (51.5 x 40.6 cm.)
Painted circa 1930
with Alexander Reid & Pearson & Westergaard, Glasgow.
with the Aitken, Dott & Son. Edinburgh.
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
Anon. sale; Christie's, Glasgow, 7 December 1989, lot 352, where purchased by the present owner.
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No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis. Notice to Buyers Resident in Scotland Payment and collections may be made immediately following the end of the sale until 7.00pm. Collections may be made on Friday, 27 October 2000 from 9.00 am until 1.00 pm, after which all lots purchased by Scottish residents will be transported free of charge to either our Glasgow office, tel 44(0)141 332 8134 or to our Edinburgh office, tel 44(0)131 225 4756 where they will be available from 9.00 am on Monday, 30 October. Notice to Buyers outside Scotland Purchases made by buyers with addresses outside Scotland will be transferred to Christie's, 8 King Street, London SW1, for collection from noon on Monday, 30 October 2000. Purchases are only insured for a period of seven working days following the sale.

Lot Essay

Still life is a subject that dominates much of Hunter's work and the increasing modernity of his technique is very much evident in this late composition. Hunter developed a spontaneous, loose handling of paint and a broader chromatic range, taking inspiration from the notebooks of Van Gogh and Gauguin, about whom he read widely, actively taking notes and adapting their ideas to his own compositions.

Hunter took up oil painting in 1904 on his first visit to Paris. Until then Hunter had worked as an illustrator in California, where he had lived with his parents who emigrated there in his youth. The reality of Paris must have been a revelation for Hunter who by 1906 had amassed enough works to put on a one-man show in San Francisco. Sadly this never transpired as the works were destroyed by an earthquake. His first solo exhibition was realised with the assistance of the Glasgow dealer Alex Reid in 1913, a success repeated in 1916. One critic praised, 'He has three or four examples of still life that are superlatively strong ... they show a mastery of form and colour that takes one back to the triumphs of the Dutchman' (Bailie, Review of exhibition of Alex. Reid, Glasgow, March 1916, 88, p. 7).

In subject matter and palette during his early years Hunter was very much inspired by the work of the Dutch School. Early works such as lot 200 show the more Rembrantesque palette employed by Hunter until his travels in the 1920s to the South of France, Italy and Fife, seeking out new ranges of colour and light.

The example of the post-impressionists to George Leslie Hunter is very much in evidence in this work. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an acceleration in the production, display and consumption of works of art which generated the artistic response of much technical experimentation. The direct experience of the work of artists such as Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin through posthumous exhibitions held in the early twentieth century gave artists such as Hunter and fellow Colourists, Cadell, Fergusson and Peploe, an insight into such techniques, in particular, the dazzling effects of colour abstraction.


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