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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN ESTEEMED PRIVATE COLLECTION


signed, titled and dated "CATERED Caroline Walker 2017" (on the reverse); signed 'Caroline Walker' (on the stretcher)
oil on linen
59 x 80in. (150 x 203.1cm.)
Painted in 2017
ProjectB Gallery, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
J. de Vries, M. Price and M. Samel (eds.), Caroline Walker Picture Window, London 2018, p. 303 (illustrated in colour, pp. 134 -135; detail illustrated in colour, p. 136; installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 140-141 and 310).
Milan, ProjectB Gallery, Night Scenes, 2017.
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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

In Caroline Walker’s Catered, a woman stands alone. Her back is turned to the viewer, her face hidden from view. Bathed in light, she is the only human presence upon an otherwise vacant stage: a kitchen strewn with pots, utensils and empty glasses. A dishcloth lies rumpled on worktop sideboard; a pair of yellow washing up gloves gleams brightly upon a rail. Spanning two metres in width, the work belongs to Walker’s 2017 series Night Scenes, which depicts women in lonely, after-hours settings. Some languish at the end of parties; others work long into the night. The present painting, in particular, captures Walker’s fascination with service industries, and the frequently unseen roles that women often play within them. Here, dressed in black and lost in unknowable thought, her protagonist is almost indistinguishable from the shadows and silhouettes around her. Imbued with voyeuristic tension, it is a work of cinematic ambition, played out in Walker’s rich, atmospheric painterly language.

Born and raised in Scotland, Walker attended Glasgow School of Art before completing her MA at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2009. She has risen to critical acclaim over the past decade, with solo exhibitions at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham and KM21, The Hague, as well as the Fitzrovia Chapel, London, earlier this year, and at Nottingham Castle opposite Laura Knight this spring. Interestingly, she recalls, it was in her own family kitchen that she first developed a passion for art as a child. ‘I was mad about drawing and painting from a very early age, and would spend countless hours in my first studio (a large kitchen cupboard I commandeered) drawing endless pictures of women’, she explains (C. Walker, quoted in R. Boddington, ‘Caroline Walker paints the unseen women of London's service industries’, It’s Nice That, 4 June 2019). Trips to local museums with her mother introduced her to the work of the Scottish Colourists; later, she would come to admire Degas and Manet, as well as Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. Catered, indeed, combines an Old Masterly sense of chiaroscuro with an almost filmic approach to lighting, recalling in particular the night-time scenes of Edward Hopper.

The device of painting the figure from behind, or Rückenfigur, was made famous in Caspar David Friedrich’s majestic Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818). Typically, the strategy encourages the viewer to identify themselves with the protagonist, and to experience the scene as if through their eyes. In some ways, Walker extends this notion: ‘I paint women because in some ways I am always painting myself, and my own experiences or anxieties,’ she explains, ‘but from a distanced objective position which can hopefully also reflect how we all encounter the world’ (C. Walker, quoted in D. Woodward, ‘Caroline Walker: In Every Dream Home’, AnOther Magazine, 19 July 2013). At the same time, however, her central character flies in the face of Friedrich’s Romantic hero, her form almost invisible at her kitchen sink. The objects that litter the room, by contrast, seem to sparkle with anthropomorphic life, vying for the viewer’s attention. As foreground and background shift in and out of focus, the figure remains locked in her own world: it is a space we cannot enter, and a private realm that—for all its familiarity—we cannot know.

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