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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF NONA KOERFER GIESE

Blue on Orange and Ochre

Blue on Orange and Ochre
signed and dated 'Bridget Riley '71' (lower left)
gouache and graphite on paper
30 1/8 x 27in. (76.5 x 68.5cm.)
Executed in 1971
Collection of the artist.
Rowan Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the late owner.
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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Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Offered from the estate of Nona Koerfer Giese, Blue on Orange and Ochre (1971) is an exquisite example of Bridget Riley’s experiments with gouache and graphite. A revealing strand of her practice, Riley’s works on paper have functioned as sites of discovery for the artist, fuelling her career-long investigation into colour, line and form. ‘For me, drawing is an enquiry, a way of finding out—the first thing that I discover is that I do not know’, Riley has said. ‘It is as though there is an eye at the end of my pencil, which tries, independently of my personal general-purpose eye, to penetrate a kind of obscuring veil or thickness’ (B. Riley, ‘At the End of My Pencil’, London Review of Books, Vol. 31, No. 19, 8 October 2009). Rendered in an alternating palette of ochre, orange and turquoise, the present work marks a striking example of Riley’s rare horizontal stripe formats, exemplified in works such as Horizontal Vibration (1961) and Rise I (1968).

Following her rise to prominence over the previous decade, the early 1970s marked a critical point in Riley’s career. In 1971, the year the present work was created, the artist participated in her first retrospective at the Kunstverein Hannover, an exhibition which travelled to the Kunsthalle Bern, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin, and finally the Hayward Gallery, London. The exhibition was the first full-scale retrospective dedicated to a contemporary painter to be held at the Hayward. Writing on the show in the New Statesman, critic Robert Melville remarked ‘No painter, alive or dead, has ever made us more conscious of our eyes than Bridget Riley’ (R. Melville, ‘An Art Without Accident’, New Statesman, 23 July 1971, p. 121).

The stripe was Riley’s most beloved form. Following her embrace of colour in 1967, it came to dominate her oeuvre for the best part of a decade, returning again in the 1980s with her so-called ‘Egyptian’ palette, and later in 2011 with her Rose Rose series. Her linear, parallel arrangements enabled her to organise hues in such a way ‘that the eye can travel over the surface in a way parallel to the way it moves over nature … It encounters reflections, echoes and fugitive flickers which when traced evaporate’ (B. Riley, ‘The Pleasures of Sight’, in Bridget Riley, exh. cat. Tate Gallery, London 2003, p. 214). Inspired by her childhood by the sea in Cornwall, as well as influences ranging from the Old Masters to Futurism and Pointillism, Riley dedicated her life and art to probing the subtle workings of colour. In Blue on Orange and Ochre, the mechanics of these enquiries are brought to life.

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