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Girl in a Tree

Girl in a Tree
signed, signed with the artist's initials and dated 'HA Hurvin Anderson JUNE. 2018' (on the reverse)
acrylic and ink on paper
13 1⁄8 x 15 1⁄8in. (33.4 x 38.3cm.)
Executed in 2018
Donated by the artist, courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery.
Twisted, Kistefos Benefit Auction Jevnaker, 22 August 2018, lot 1.
Private Collection, London.
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.
We will invoice under standard VAT rules and VAT will be charged at 20% on both the hammer price and buyer’s premium and shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

Hidden amongst the verdant greens of Hurvin Anderson’s Girl in a Tree is the titular protagonist, dressed in red. Her limbs merge with interlaced boughs as she perches amongst thick, leafy branches; a pink sky glows through the foliage. Painted in 2018, the year after Anderson was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, the work is characteristically vibrant, a meeting of abstraction and figuration. For the artist, trees themselves have long served as a personal totem: while visiting Montego Bay in Jamaica in 2006, Anderson was struck by the sight of children playing in a mango tree. Drawn unexpectedly back in time to his own childhood, he remembered seeing his brother high up in a nearby tree’s branches. Moved, he took a picture of the scene that later served as source imagery for a series of paintings, including Greensleeves (2017), which is featured in the Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition Mixing It Up: Painting Today. By working from photographs, Anderson paints both the act of remembering and memories themselves.

The youngest of eight siblings and the only one in the family to be born in England, Anderson’s painterly practice reflects his dual inheritance. As he has explained, ‘I had always felt a double-edged thing about who I was and where I came from. In Trinidad I could be all these things, I was the Englishman, but I was also the Jamaican. It was an interesting place to explore this no man’s land, you could kind of drift back and forwards between these identities’ (H. Anderson, quoted in Hurvin Anderson: Subtitles, exh. cat. Michael Werner Gallery, New York 2011, n.p.). In his WelcomeCountry Club and Barbershop series, he uses a variety of formal, optical and chromatic distortions to capture this sense of alienation, drawing inspiration from Cubism, Expressionism, geometric abstraction, Colour Field painting and Op Art. In Girl in a Tree, these influences combine with allusions to the work of Paul Gauguin, who was similarly fascinated by the relationship between real and imagined landscapes. Indeed, amid the branches overlooking the ground beneath, the picture’s protagonist too seems suspended between worlds and between ways of being.

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