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EDWARD BURRA (1905-1976)
EDWARD BURRA (1905-1976)
EDWARD BURRA (1905-1976)
EDWARD BURRA (1905-1976)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
EDWARD BURRA (1905-1976)

O'Neill (The Barman)

EDWARD BURRA (1905-1976)
O'Neill (The Barman)
stamped with signature 'E.J. Burra' (on the reverse), inscribed 'O'Neill' (upper left, under the mount)
ink on paper
19 x 15 in. (48.3 x 38.1 cm.)
Executed in 1932.
with Lefevre Gallery, London.
Works from the Estate of Edward Burra, Lady Ritchie of Dundee and Associated Owners; Sotheby's, London, 3 July 2002, lot 234.
with Martin Summers, London, where purchased by the present owner in 2002.
H. Wolfe, ABC of the Theatre, London, 1932, p. 31, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Edward Burra, London, Arts Council of Great Britian, Hayward Gallery, 1985, pp. 148, 150, no. 138iii, illustrated.
London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Hayward Gallery, Edward Burra, August - September 1985, no. 138iii: this exhibition travelled to Southampton, Art Gallery, October - November 1985; Leeds, City Art Gallery, December 1985 - January 1986; and Norwich, Castle Museum, January - February 1986.
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.

Brought to you by

Alice Murray
Alice Murray Head of Day Sale

Lot Essay

The present work and The Actress (lot 168) are the original artworks that Burra executed for ABC of the Theatre, a book produced by the artist in collaboration with the poet Humbert Wolfe. Published in 1932 by Dennis Cohen’s Cresset Press, the book contained 23 drawings by Burra, each illustration accompanied by a short verse written by Wolfe. The proof illustrations and typescript for the book, can be found in the collection of Tate, London.

The illustrations are a set of sophisticated caricatures of theatre personalities, often with enlarged heads and small bodies, with many achieving an extraordinarily effective likeness to the characters they portray.

The present work was published for the letter ‘O’ and depicts a portrait of the celebrated American playwright Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953). Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1936) and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1920), O’Neill is known for being one of the first to introduce realism into American theatre, depicting characters on the edge of society, in his famed works such as Long Day's Journey into Night.

Wolfe’s verse that accompanied Burra’s illustration, humorously read: ‘O is O'Neill. The theatre was packed. Though a few may have died in the 49th act’.

We are very grateful to Professor Jane Stevenson for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

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