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Prunella Clough (1919-2000)
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Prunella Clough (1919-2000)

Cranes and men

Prunella Clough (1919-2000)
Cranes and men
signed 'Clough' (lower right)
oil on canvas
35 x 16½ in. (88.9 x 41.9 cm.)
Painted in 1950.
Purchased by the present owner in 1951 for £42.
London, Institute of Contemporary Art, 1950: aspects of British art, December 1950 - January 1951, catalogue not traced.
Cambridge, Arts Council, 1952, catalogue not traced.
London, Arts Council, Arts Council Gallery, Three Young Collectors, November - December 1952, no. 28: this exhibition travelled to Nottingham, Chapel Bar Gallery, December 1952 - January 1953; Bristol, City Art Gallery, January 1953; Lincoln, Art Gallery, February 1953; Newcastle, Hatton Gallery, March 1953; and Arbroath, Art Gallery, April 1953.
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Lot Essay

In the late 1940s and early 1950s Clough drew much of her subject matter from the docksides of Lowestoft and the Thames. In the present work, the large industrial crane completely dominates the composition while the men in the foreground are almost obscured by the grid of colour that Clough has applied to the canvas. Clough commented on her intentions regarding these works that they were '... an attempt to introduce the figure into a contemporary urban landscape without the devices of the past, without the myths of Mars or Venus or the legends of Breughel. I was trying to update the classical Western concern with the figure without the benefit of religious or mythical content' (see B. Tufnell (ed.), exhibition catalogue, Prunella Clough, London, Tate, 2007, p. 13).

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