Graham Sutherland, O.M. (1903-1980)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Graham Sutherland, O.M. (1903-1980)

Roses III

Graham Sutherland, O.M. (1903-1980)
Roses III
signed and dated 'Sutherland 1950' (upper left), inscribed and dated again '"Roses" III 1950' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
18 x 15 in. (45.6 x 38 cm.)
Acquired by the present owner's aunt in the 1950s, and by descent.
Venice, British Council, XXVI Biennale, June - October 1952, no. 50.
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Exposition Graham Sutherland, November - December 1952, no. 50.
Zürich, Kunsthaus Zürich, Graham Sutherland, March - April 1953, no. 48.
Amsterdam, British Council, Stedelijk Museum, Graham Sutherland, 1953, no. 48.
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

Louise Simpson
Louise Simpson

Lot Essay

‘Graham Sutherland is the outstanding English painter of his generation’
(Kenneth Clark, exhibition catalogue, XXVI Biennale, Venice, 1952).

The present lot was exhibited at the now infamous ‘Geometry of Fear’ Venice Biennale in 1952. As Kenneth Clark’s essay in the accompanying catalogue attests, Sutherland was at this point widely regarded as the most impressive and influential British painter of the day. Yet this particular strand of imagery might seem a surprising choice given the artist's more familiar use at this time of spiky thorn bushes and palms and of gnarled root forms, which served to inject into his work a note of menace and anxiety. The presence of such qualities was viewed and admired by critics as appropriate to the psychological aftermath of the Second World War.

Perhaps Sutherland himself was wary of being typecast. At any rate, the rose pictures seem more life-enhancing in mood and more Matissean in idiom than the generality of his work over the last couple of years. Nevertheless, they are not entirely out of line with his mainstream work. To the extent that the two main elements in this picture take on anthropomorphic resonances, as perhaps male and female presences, we might see an analogy with Sutherland's Association of Oaks (1940: collection Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh), where found tree root forms take on exactly those connotations. We might equally note his gathering interest at this point in ambiguous vertical forms, as in the extended Standing Form series that he had begun the previous year.

We are very grateful to Martin Hammer for his assistance with preparing this catalogue entry.

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