Graham Sutherland, O.M. (1903-1980)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property from the Estate of a Lady
Graham Sutherland, O.M. (1903-1980)

Weeping Magdalen

Graham Sutherland, O.M. (1903-1980)
Weeping Magdalen
signed and dated 'Sutherland 12.12.46' (upper left), indistinctly signed again 'SUTHERLAND' (on the reverse)
oil on board
24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm.)
with Marlborough Fine Art, London, where purchased by Frankland Dark, by 1952.
J. Hayes, The Art of Graham Sutherland, Oxford, 1980, pp. 108-109, no. 74, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Graham Sutherland, London, Tate Gallery, 1982, p. 111, dated '17 December 1946'.
Venice, British Council, The British Pavilion, XXVI Biennale, June - September 1952, no. 19.
Paris, British Council, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Graham Sutherland Exhibition, November - December 1952, no. 17: this exhibition travelled to Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, January - February 1953; and Zurich, Kunsthaus, March - April 1953.
London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Gallery, Sutherland: An exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, May - August 1953, no. 20.
Berlin, British Council, Haus am Waldsee, Graham Sutherland: exhibition of paintings and drawings, September - October 1954, no. 14: this exhibition travelled to Cologne; Stuttgart; Mannheim; and Hamburg, 1954-55.
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Pippa Jacomb
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Lot Essay

On Henry Moore's recommendation, the Rev. Walter Hussey, the Dean of St Matthew's, Northampton, commissioned Graham Sutherland to paint a crucifixion to hang in St Matthew's opposite Moore's Madonna and Child. Sutherland began Crucifixion in the summer of 1946, and it was unveiled in St Matthew's on 16 November 1946. For this large scale and powerful depiction of Christ, Sutherland found inspiration in Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece, 1512-16.

Just days after the unveiling of Crucifixion, Sutherland completed The Deposition (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), in which he includes the traditional mourners at the base of the cross: the Virgin, St John and Mary Magdalen. The kneeling figure of Mary Magdalen closely relates to the figure in Weeping Magdalen, which Sutherland painted in December 1946. The pose, with her head thrown back and shrieking mouth, are reminiscent of the mother and child in Picasso's Guernica, 1937, and was a motif also adopted by Sutherland's friend Francis Bacon. The garments worn by this Mary Magdalen appear to grow up out of the ground, and the saturation of Sutherland's characteristic green pigment is a reminder of the significance of the landscape within his work.

Frankland Dark, the previous owner of Weeping Magdalen, was a renowned architect, most notable for his contribution to industrial architecture, in particular for the design of power stations. In 1956 Dark commissioned Geoffrey Clarke to make the window at his home at Hyde Park Gate. This would be Clarke's first sculptural window, made up of protruding lead circles set with irregular pieces of coloured glass. This coincided with a period of post-war architectural redevelopment in Britain, during which Clarke carried out around fifty architectural commissions, including the nave windows for Basil Spence’s Coventry Cathedral. Central to the Cathedral is Sutherland’s tapestry, Christ in Glory, which can be seen as a continuation of the religious theme explored by Sutherland ten years earlier.

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