Glyn Warren Philpot, R.A. (1884-1937)
Glyn Warren Philpot, R.A. (1884-1937)

Man with Red Hair

Glyn Warren Philpot, R.A. (1884-1937)
Man with Red Hair
signed with initials 'GP' (lower left)
oil on canvas
31½ x 17¾ in. (80 x 45 cm.)
Painted in 1936-37.
Gabrielle Cross, the artist's niece, by whom bequeathed to the present owner, 1997.
Exhibition catalogue, The 1937 international exhibition of paintings, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, 1937, no. 155, pl. 43.
D. Philpot, Manuscript catalogue of portraits by Glyn Philpot, c.1938-57, pp. 29, 79.
Exhibition catalogue, The Royal Academy Illustrated, London, Royal Academy, 1937, p. 24, illustrated.
R. Gibson, exhibition catalogue, Glyn Philpot 1884-1937 Edwardian Aesthete to Thirties Modernist, London, National Portrait Gallery, 1984, pp. 33, 89, fig. 29.
J.G.P. Delaney, Glyn Philpot: His Life and Art, Aldershot and Brookfield (VT), 1999, p. 146.
London, Royal Academy, 1937, no. 544, as 'Study for Portrait'.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, The 1937 international exhibition of paintings, October - December 1937, no. 155.
Wellington, New Zealand, New Zealand Centenary Exhibition, 1939-1940, catalogue not traced.
Brighton, Museum and Art Gallery, Glyn Philpot, April - May 1953, no. 60, as 'Young Man with Red Hair'.
London, Leighton House Museum, Retrospective exhibition: drawings, paintings and sculpture by Glyn Warren Philpot, R.A. 1884-1937, February 1959, no. 60, as 'Young Man with Red Hair'.
Art Exhibitions Bureau, 1959-1960, no. 35, as 'Young Man with Red Hair', catalogue not traced.
Worthing, City Art Gallery, Glyn Philpot: an exhibition of paintings and drawings, September - October 1962, no. 18.

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Pippa Jacomb
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Lot Essay

Philpot’s stylistic development from the sombre tones of traditional Edwardian portraiture, which delighted a clientele used to the work of John Singer Sargent and Philip de László, to the unvarnished, broad and distinct strokes of bright colour of his mature work, more reminiscent of Matisse, is without parallel among other society portraitists of the first decades of the twentieth century. This ‘late’ style – though one should remember that the painter died at the age of fifty-three – matured after the artist’s acquisition of a permanent studio in Paris in 1931. It caused a considerable stir after the first examples were unveiled to the London public, alienating much of Philpot’s previous support, and even resulting in the Royal Academy asking the painter to withdraw one of his submissions to the 1933 Summer Exhibition. To most more recent admirers of Philpot’s work, however, his paintings of the 1930s mark the pinnacle of his achievement.

Daisy Philpot recorded in her catalogue of her brother’s work that this painting was ‘painted at Lancaster Gate in 1936 or 7’ and that the sitter was ‘Hughes’. Arthur Hughes, the son of a farmer who was a neighbour of Philpot’s sister in Bury, looked after the painter ‘like a nurse’ when he was recovering from pleurisy in September 1936. He accompanied him on a weekend in Scotland and subsequently on a four day visit to Paris and then to Ostend from 29 September to 1 October. According to Robin Gibson, loc. cit., this portrait was originally larger and was reduced in size by the artist. While this would certainly not be without parallel – Philpot had cut down his portrait of Glen Byam Shaw a year earlier – this portrait looks as if it was always intended to be in this format. It clearly satisfied the painter, who chose it for the 1937 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, where it was to be one of the very last exhibited works of his career.

Robin Gibson points out that this and two other works of similar date, Melancholy Negro (Brighton Museum and Art Gallery; Gibson, op. cit., no. 63, illustrated in colour p. 82) and Portrait of Mrs Robert Lutyens (Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport) share heavy impasto and particularly bright, even strident, colour, which the painter was to tone down in the work of his final year.

We are grateful to Charles Beddington for his assistance with this catalogue entry. The painting will be included in his catalogue of Philpot’s paintings and sculpture currently in preparation.

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