William Scott, R.A. (1913-1989)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more POST-WAR BRITISH MODERNISM FROM THE PARNASSUS COLLECTION
William Scott, R.A. (1913-1989)

White Predominating

William Scott, R.A. (1913-1989)
White Predominating
oil on canvas
41½ x 47½ in. (107 x 122.5 cm.)
Painted in 1971.
with Falchi Arte Moderna, Milan.
Private collection, Italy.
Anonymous sale; Porro & Co., Milan, 24 November 2005, lot 211.
Exhibition catalogue, William Scott, Milan, Falchi Arte Moderna, 1972, no. 6, illustrated in colour.
S. Whitfield (ed.), William Scott Catalogue Raisonné of Oil Paintings 1969-1989, Vol. 4, London, 2013, p. 76, no. 696, illustrated in colour.
Milan, Falchi Arte Moderna, William Scott, October 1972, no. 6.
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.

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Lot Essay

In 1964 William and Mary Scott accepted an invitation to become part of a cultural exchange programme with West Berlin, enjoying the experience to the extent that they prolonged their stay into 1965. Away from his normal environs, Scott embarked on a series of mainly blue and white paintings that were to become known as his Berlin Series. This had nothing to do with the artist's emotional response to his new surroundings, commenting on Berlin Blues 4, painted in 1965 (Tate, London) that 'The title has no significance apart from the discovery of this particular blue pigment in Berlin' (Tate Gallery Report 1965-1966, London, 1967).

As banal as this explanation may seem, it goes some way to explaining the present work. Painted in 1971, White Predominating uses the same 'Berlin Blue', however, the artist's preoccupation now becomes what was once the primed or empty spaces of the canvas. Referring to these early 1970s works, which Professor Norbert Lynton calls his neo-classical still lifes, Scott said that he 'was now prepared to leave larger areas of undisturbed colour' (William Scott quoted in exhibition catalogue, William Scott, New York, McCaffrey Fine Art, 2010, p. 53). The forms are certainly discernable as simplified still- life objects. The frying pan, bowl and plate reference earlier paintings from the 1940s, however, Scott is no longer interested in the subject, rather the physical nature of the painting itself. We are conditioned to seethe areas of white as negative, or at best neutral, however in White Predominating it is thrust forward, consuming what we believe to be the dominant objects and so subverts the equilibrium of common artistic illusion.

For a short period in 1971 Scott explored the use of a colour border in a small number of works, using green and yellow predominately, such as in the present work and other examples Blue, White and Yellow (private collection); Emerald (private collection) and Green and Blue (whereabouts unknown).

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