EUAN UGLOW (1932-2000)
EUAN UGLOW (1932-2000)
EUAN UGLOW (1932-2000)
EUAN UGLOW (1932-2000)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN ESTATE
EUAN UGLOW (1932-2000)

Striding Nude, Blue Dress

EUAN UGLOW (1932-2000)
Striding Nude, Blue Dress
oil on canvas
59 3/4 x 43 1/2 in. (152 x 110.5 cm.)
Painted in 1978-1981.
Mrs Cherry Paulette Brown.
with Browse & Darby, London, May 1989.
with Browse & Darby, London, where purchased by the present owner in August 2009.
Times Literary Supplement, 20 May 1983, illustrated.
M. Murphy, exhibition catalogue, Euan Uglow: Paintings and Drawings, London, Browse & Darby, 1983, n.p., no. 15, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, The Singular Vision: Paintings of the Figure by Contemporary British Artists, Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 1985, p. 44, no. 34, illustrated, as 'Striding Nude, Blue Dress, II'.
C. Lampert (intro.), exhibition catalogue, 8th International Drawing Biennale, Middlesbrough, Art Gallery, 1987, n.p., illustrated.
C. Lampert (intro.), exhibition catalogue, Euan Uglow's Nudes, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1989, n.p., illustrated.
A. Forge and J. McLean, exhibition catalogue, Euan Uglow, New York, Salander O'Reilly, 1993, n.p., no. 22, illustrated, as 'Striding Nude'.
C. Lampert, Euan Uglow: The Complete Paintings, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 142, no. 297, illustrated.
London, Browse & Darby, Euan Uglow: Paintings and Drawings, May - June 1983, no. 15.
Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, The Singular Vision: Paintings of the Figure by Contemporary British Artists, January - February 1985, no. 34, as 'Striding Nude, Blue Dress, II': this exhibition travelled to Milton Keynes, Exhibition Gallery, March - April 1985; Southport, Atkinson Art Gallery, April - June 1985; Newcastle upon Tyne, Laing Art Gallery, June - July 1985; Barnsley, Cooper Gallery, August 1985; and London, South London Art Gallery, September - October 1985.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Studies of the Nude, March - May 1986, no. 32.
Baghdad, Invitational International Cultural Festival, Spring 1988.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Euan Uglow's Nudes, July - September 1989.
New York, Salander O'Reilly, Euan Uglow, December 1993, no. 22, as 'Striding Nude'.
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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Lot Essay

'The reminiscence of the triumphant outwardness of a Greek kouros in the austere and heroic stance of Zagi (1981-2) and Striding Nude, Blue Dress (1978-81) is not fortuitous: these figures resist the spectator’s banal disposition to envelop them with his gaze, and do not return or flatter it. One is moved instead by the way in which they seem to celebrate the power of the female body to be manifest, and manifestly itself ... The images seem both familiar and strange at once: they show forth a reality whose intense and powerful charge is not so much erotic, as simply corporeal.'
So wrote Martin Golding at the beginning of his introduction to the landmark exhibition of Euan Uglow’s work held at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1989. This was the show that firmly established Uglow as one of the leading British painters of his generation and in the catalogue for this exhibition Golding singled out the artist’s two great paintings of standing nudes from the end of the 1970s, (Striding Nude, Blue Dress and its sister picture, Zagi, now in the Tate) as among Uglow’s foremost achievements. Set starkly against the monochrome geometry of their carefully co-ordinated, semi-abstract backgrounds, each of the nude figures in these two paintings, Golding wrote, ‘remains herself, separate and intact. She is unmistakably what she seems to be and what we know; but she is nevertheless at a remove from our normally casual habits of attention; she is Other, “a thing apart”’ (ibid).
Zagi and Striding Nude Blue Dress, 1978-81, mark the culmination of a dramatic sequence of four paintings on the theme of the standing/walking female nude that Uglow made between 1975 and 1982. Because of his notoriously meticulous and slow manner of working – John Rothenstein once claimed Uglow to be the ‘slowest’ of all professional painters ‘who sometimes takes over three-quarters of an hour’ just to ‘pose the model in the precise position he requires’ – the first two paintings in this series remained incomplete and unfinished. The two models in each of these cases had found themselves unable to afford the enormous amount of time required by Uglow who, as in the case of Striding Nude, Blue Dress, often needed to work for more than two years on one picture. One of the models for these earlier, unfinished striding nudes was the young lawyer Cherie Booth Blair. The model Uglow used for Striding Nude, Blue Dress, was an art student named Debbie Hayes and such is the precision and accuracy of Uglow’s painstakingly crafted pictorial reconstructions of his sitters that, when this painting was exhibited in Baghdad in 1988, the figure of Hayes was immediately recognized by an ex-flatmate who remarked upon the painting’s extraordinary ‘click of personality’ (C. Lampert, Euan Uglow: The Complete Paintings, London, 2007, p. 142).
'I like to have an ordered rectangle, a shape with reason. The whole picture is glued together with the shape of the canvas and the appearance of the subject' Euan Uglow
As in many of Uglow’s paintings, the object or figure under the artist’s scrutiny derives its uniqueness, its ‘click of personality’, from the strange, heightened sense of reality that Uglow is able to bestow upon his subjects. This unique sense of ‘heightened’ realism is of a wholly pictorial nature and is attained by a slow, painstaking practice of observation, measurement, correction and a pictorial balancing of proportion that reconstructs an image of its three-dimensional subject upon an demonstrably flat and fictious, two-dimensional, monochrome surface. ‘Art is artifice’, Uglow used to insist. ‘It’s nothing to do with being true to life. You’re trying to construct a new world so that it can stand: nothing to do with illusionism’ (Euan Uglow quoted in Euan Uglow, Controlled Passion: Fifty Years of Painting, exh. cat . Kendal, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, 2003, p. xxxviii).
Acknowledging the artifice of his medium, and as a way of emphasizing it, Uglow, as in Striding Nude, Blue Dress, often sought to attain a precise mathematical balance between his figure and the space of a painting in a manner reminiscent of Renaissance masters such as Piero della Francesca. ‘I’m painting an idea not an ideal’ Uglow maintained. ‘Basically I’m trying to paint a structured painting full of controlled, and therefore potent, emotion. I won’t let chance be there unless it’s challenged’ (Euan Uglow, quoted in ‘Snatches of Conversation’ with Andrew Lambirth, Euan Uglow, exh. cat., Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1989, p. 59).
Towards this end, Uglow often preferred that his canvas be either a square, a golden rectangle, or a rectangle of exact root value, and would often make his life models pose in ways that emphasised simple geometric shapes. In Zagi, for example, the root 2 rectangle of the canvas ultimately dictated the three-dimensional pose that his model took. In Striding Nude, Blue Dress, Uglow has positioned the model into a pose reminiscent of the striding pose of ancient Greek and Egyptian Kouros figures. This walking pose also has strong echoes of two other of Uglow’s favourite modernist works, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase and Alberto Giacometti’s 1932 sculpture Walking Woman which he knew from the Tate.
As a consequence of this, figure and geometry all become an integrated part of each other in the resultant composition – a composition which is usually presaged by a careful series of preparatory drawings. The figure itself is also rendered in precisely measured planes of individual colour that together pictorially build the form in the manner of a sculpture. Uglow’s attitude towards mark making and surface was also a fusion of ancient and modern techniques that owes much to both the Old Masters and also to more modern painters like William Coldstream, Piet Mondrian and American Abstract Expressionists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.
The methodical process of his painting’s construction is also catalogued and recorded in the surface of his pictures by his habit of leaving visible the elaborate and extensive sequence of measuring marks he made throughout its creation. A distinguishing feature of Uglow’s work, these measurement marks were ones that not only helped the artist maintain perspective and proportion and keep his composition within the classical golden section ratio, but were also pictorial elements that he liked to keep visible because, as he admitted, he never knew when he might need to refer to them again. ‘It’s a chart or diary of what happened, while still trying to keep the idea of what the painting is,’ Uglow said. ‘I don’t really finish a painting, it stops. Then, if I were to paint out those marks, it would be another picture’ (Euan Uglow, quoted in ‘Snatches of Conversation’, op. cit., p. 59).

We are very grateful to Catherine Lampert for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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