WILLIAM SCOTT, R.A. (1913-1989)
WILLIAM SCOTT, R.A. (1913-1989)
WILLIAM SCOTT, R.A. (1913-1989)
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WILLIAM SCOTT, R.A. (1913-1989)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN ESTATE
WILLIAM SCOTT, R.A. (1913-1989)

Orange Still Life with Figure

Details
WILLIAM SCOTT, R.A. (1913-1989)
Orange Still Life with Figure
signed and dated 'W.SCOTT 56/7' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
48 x 60 in. (121.9 x 152.4 cm.)
Painted in 1956-57.
Provenance
The artist, and by descent by 1985.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, William Scott: Every Picture tells a Story, London, Gimpel Fils, 1985, n.p., no. 5, illustrated.
R. Alley and T.P. Flanagan, exhibition catalogue, William Scott, Belfast, Ulster Museum, 1986, p. 57, no. 27, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, William Scott: Paintings and Drawings, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 1998, p. 72, no. 38, illustrated.
M. Raeburn, Vision: 50 Years of British Creativity, London, 1999, p. 46, illustrated.
N. Lynton, William Scott, London, 2004, p. 185, illustrated.
S. Whitfield (ed.), William Scott: Catalogue Raisonné of Oil Paintings, Vol. 2 1952-1959, London, 2013, pp. 168-169, no. 310, illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Gimpel Fils, William Scott: Every Picture tells a Story, February - March 1985, no. 5.
Belfast, Ulster Museum, William Scott, June - August 1986, no. 27: this exhibition travelled to Dublin, Guinness Hop Store, August - September 1986; and Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, October - November 1986.
London, Royal Academy, 1990, no. 1171, as 'Orange Still Life'.
Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, William Scott: Paintings and Drawings, July - November 1998, no. 38.
Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum, Blast to Frieze: British Art in the 20th Century, September 2002 - January 2003, exhibition not numbered, as 'Orange Still Life'.
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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

'The forms I use are the forms I see about me and the forms I have dreamt about as a child ... The objects I painted were the symbols of the life I knew best' William Scott
Orange Still Life with Figure, 1956-7, is one of the most striking examples of Scott’s still life paintings of this period, showcasing the artist’s mastery of line and tone. This monumental work, which is vibrant in colour and visual imagery, was created in the period after Scott had taught painting in a summer school in Canada, subsequently travelling onto New York, where he met his American contemporaries: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Frans Kline. These artists had a profound influence on his understanding of his own art, leading to the realisation that he had been following a European modernist tradition and aligning his work to that of Pierre Bonnard. For the first time, he began to receive recognition outside of the UK and was invited to exhibit on other continents; in Sao Paolo in 1953, and by 1954, he was exhibiting in Martha Jackson's visionary gallery in New York.
In the present composition, a number of rows of simplified kitchen objects - pots, pans, and bowls - are spread across a table top which spans the large canvas. Intentionally pared down to the fundamental shapes that serve to identify the objects, the viewer’s eye travels across the painting surface seeking to find order and symmetry in the jumble of shapes and tones until they are drawn to the figure of a child with his arm hugging the top right-hand corner of the tabletop. The simple outlines of the objects are in contrast to the carefully constructed spouts and pan lids with central knobs, as well as the delineated lines of a background grid viewed above the table surface. Scott flattens the pictorial space through the reduction of perspective, and his exacting placement of these simple objects, together with a visually arresting palette and monumental scale, grant the viewer an opportunity to see the world through the painter's eyes.
The child of modest Scottish parents who moved to Northern Ireland when he was a boy, Scott considered that his impoverished Belfast childhood had shaped his vision and alerted him to the synthesis between austerity and sensuality, a dialogue that would preoccupy him throughout his life and career. In the 'beauty in plainness', that Scott looked for around him, he could conceive a more streamlined and minimalist aesthetic to express more fully his powers of image making, 'I would like to combine a sensual eroticism with a starkness, which will be instinctive and uncontrived', he explained in 1955 (W. Scott, quoted in A. Bowness, William Scott: Paintings, London 1964, p. 35). Still life painting provided a symbol of life that he could exploit and became his 'chief occupation', providing the freedom to experiment with shape, colour, and form.
Sarah Whitfield has remarked that 'the table still life and figure shows Scott's strong affinity with Bonnard ... In addition, the grid behind the table, which is more obvious here is a device Scott borrows directly from Bonnard's The Bath (1925) also in the Tate Gallery (a copy of which Scott had recently acquired)' (S. Whitfield, loc. cit.).

We are very grateful to The William Scott Foundation for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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