Eileen Agar, R.A. (1899-1991)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Eileen Agar, R.A. (1899-1991)

The Lyre Man

Details
Eileen Agar, R.A. (1899-1991)
The Lyre Man
signed twice 'AGAR' (lower left and right), signed again and dated 'AGAR 1963' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
14 x 10 in. (35.5 x 25.5 cm.)
Painted in 1963.
Provenance
with Lilian Gethie, Manchester, where purchased by the present 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.

Brought to you by

Philip Harley
Philip Harley

Lot Essay


Agar was drawn to the image of the lyre (compare her 1973 collage Apollo’s Lyre), partly for the richness of its significance. Invented by either Hermes or Apollo, it not only symbolises divine harmony but is also poetry made manifest. It is the attribute of Erato, muse of lyric poetry, and of Terpsichore, muse of dance and song. Apollo defeated Marsyas in a musical contest, and punished him savagely for his hubris, later repenting and breaking his lyre. The strings were also symbolic: a seven-stringed instrument represented the seven planets, a twelve-stringed one the signs of the zodiac. In The Lyre Man, Agar amalgamates instrument and player into one tense and resonant shape, like someone on horseback. Beautifully mottled and overpainted, this strong image is typical of Agar’s maturity, uniting the urge to decorativeness with layers of meaning and reference.

A.L.

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