Marlow Moss (1889-1958)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Marlow Moss (1889-1958)

White and Yellow

Marlow Moss (1889-1958)
White and Yellow
signed with initials and dated 'MM 35' (lower right of the canvas overlap), signed and dated again 'MM/O/S/S 1935' (on the frame)
oil, string and collage on canvas in the artist's painted frame
24½ x 15¾ in. (62.2 x 40 cm.)
Purchased by the present owner at the 1974 exhibition.
Abstraction Cre´ation: Art Non-Figuratif, Issue 5, Paris, 1936, p. 18, illustrated.
Zeeland, Middelburg Town Hall, Marlow Moss, April 1972, catalogue not traced.
Zurich, Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Marlow Moss: Bilder, Konstruktionen, Zeichnungen, December 1973 - January 1974, no. 4: this exhibition travelled to London, Gimpel Fils, April - May 1975.
Como, Palazzo Volpi, I’Europa dei Razionalisti, May – August 1989, no. 154.
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. These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Anne Haasjes
Anne Haasjes

Lot Essay

Marlow Moss chose this work, and one other, to represent herself in the fifth and final cahier of Abstraction Création: Art Non-Figuratif, published in Paris in 1936. Her membership of this association, from its inauguration in 1931, alongside Piet Mondrian, Georges Vantongerloo and Theo van Doesburg, places her at the centre of the constructivist avant-garde in Europe in the inter-war period. In an earlier issue she wrote a short statement of her intentions (in French), explaining she aimed “…to construct pure plastic art which will be able to express in totality the artist’s consciousness of the universe.”

A Londoner by birth, she had moved to Paris in 1927, and attended the Académie Moderne under the tutelage of Fernand Léger. It was at this time that she met her lifelong partner the Dutch novelist Netty Nijhoff, who later wrote the short biography of Moss that appears in the 1962 Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum exhibition catalogue, alongside one of the iconic portrait photographs of Moss, in her customary masculine attire, by Nijhoff’s son the photographer Steven Storm.

White and Yellow is one of the earliest examples of a series of works Moss made in the period just prior to the start of the Second World War, with string and eventually rope glued onto the canvas. This relief technique was adopted in an effort to eliminate the use of black, which she felt hampered the expression of light she sought, whilst retaining linear structure in a composition. It represents a further departure from Mondrian’s Neoplasticism; previously Moss had caused a stir with the introduction of a double-line, her succès de scandale.

A decade later Moss had returned to England, and was working in near-isolation in Cornwall, not far from the modernists of St Ives although no alliance was forged. Much of her work was lost during the war when her home and studio in Normandy was bombed. She has remained in relative obscurity ever since, especially neglected in her home country. Interestingly, this work was reserved, at the Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich, for the Tate Gallery Collection, by then-Director Sir Norman Reid in 1973, but was subsequently purchased by the present owner.

We are very grateful to Dr Lucy Howarth for preparing this catalogue entry. Dr Howarth co-curated the touring Marlow Moss exhibition, previously at Tate St Ives and the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, and currently at Leeds Art Gallery before opening at Tate Britain in October 2014.

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