Frank Bowling (b. 1936)
signed, inscribed and dated 'FRANK Bowling/Winter '77' and stenciled 'FRANK/BOWLING' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
28½ x 23¾ in. (72.4 x 60.4 cm.)
Private collection, UK.
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.
Sale room notice
Please note that medium should read:

Acrylic on the artist’s stitched canvas.

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Pippa Jacomb
Pippa Jacomb

Lot Essay

Born in Guyana in 1936, Frank Bowling moved to Britain at the age of 15, completing his education at the Royal College of Art in 1962, alongside David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj, Allen Jones and Derek Boshier. Initially working as a figurative painter, he moved towards abstraction after settling in New York in the late 1960s where he built a strong reputation and following. He received great support from Clement Greenberg, who visited his studio and became a friend and advocate of his abstract work. Fuelled also by a reckoning to incorporate black artists into the trajectory of Modernism, Bowling was forced to defend himself from stereotyped expectations of others: the St Lucian poet and watercolourist Derek Walcott ‘berated me for betraying the Caribbean spirit; if you weren't painting cane-cutters and suffering, you weren't a Caribbean artist. But everything I felt attached to was London-born’ (quoted in M. Jaggi, ‘Books: The Weight of Colour’, The Guardian, 24 February 2007).

Bowling worked by pouring paint directly onto canvases, often foregoing an easel in favour of a canvas on the floor. His poured works of the late 1970s, such as Winter, allow some independence and chance how his colours mixed together on the canvas, marking a departure from the work of more traditional ‘Colour Field’ painters. In 1987, the Tate Gallery made a Bowling painting their first acquisition by a living black British artist, and in 2005 Bowling was the first black artist to be elected to the Royal Academy of Arts. The curator Gilane Tawadros has said of Bowlings’ style ‘his experiments in paint in the 1960s, and since, were way ahead of their time. He paved the way for other artists for whom political and aesthetic considerations are not seen as separate’ (quoted in op. cit.).

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