Overview

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Sean Scully (b. 1945)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF COL. ALEX GREGORY-HOOD, O.B.E., M.C.
Sean Scully (b. 1945)

East Coast Light 2

Details
Sean Scully (b. 1945)
East Coast Light 2
signed, inscribed and dated 'Sean Scully 73/ 8' x 7' (on the reverse), signed again and inscribed 'SEAN SCULLY/58 TANNSFELD RD/LONDON SE26/ENGLAND' (on the stretcher)
acrylic on canvas, shaped
84¾ x 96 in. (215.3 x 243.8 cm.)
Provenance
Purchased by Alex Gregory-Hood possibly at the 1973 exhibition.
Literature
Exhibition postcard, Sean Scully Recent Paintings, London, Rowan Gallery, 1973, exhibition not numbered, illustrated.
W. Feaver, 'Sean Scully', Art International, The Lugano Review, Vol. XVII/9, November 1973, pp. 26-27, 32, 75, illustrated, article not traced.
W. Feaver, 'Critical', Manchester Guardian, December 1973.
A. Warman, Manchester Guardian, December 1973.
Exhibition catalogue, 25 Years: Three Decades of Contemporary Art: The Seventies, London, Juda Rowan Gallery, 1985, n.p., no. 102, illustrated.
J. Higgins, 'Sean Scully and the metamorphosis of the stripe', ARTnews Magazine, November 1985, p. 106, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, British Painting 1952-1977, London, Royal Academy, 1977, p. 109, no. 325, illustrated, incorrectly labelled as 'Hidden Drawing No. 2, 1975'.
M. Poirier, Sean Scully, New York, 1990, n.p, pl. 18.
D. Carrier, Sean Scully, London, 2004, pp. 68, 72, 177, illustrated.
F. Ingleby (ed.), Sean Scully Resistance and Persistence Selected Writings, London, 2006, p. 19, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, The Indiscipline of Painting, St Ives, Tate Gallery, 2011, pp. 106-107, exhibition not numbered, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Sean Scully Figure/Abstract, Koblenz, Ludwig Museum, 2014, p. 93, exhibition not numbered, illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Rowan Gallery, Sean Scully Recent Paintings, November - December 1973, exhibition not numbered.
Newcastle Upon Tyne, Gulbenkian Gallery, Critics Choice, 1973, catalogue not traced.
New York, Duffy/Gibbs Gallery, Sean Scully, March 1977, exhibition not traced.
London, Royal Academy, British Painting 1952-1977, September - November 1977, no. 325, incorrectly labelled as 'Hidden Drawing No. 2, 1975'.
London, Juda Rowan Gallery, 25 Years: Three Decades of Contemporary Art: The Seventies, October - November 1985, no. 102.
St Ives, Tate Gallery, The Indiscipline of Painting, October 2011 - January 2012, exhibition not numbered: this exhibition travelled to Coventry, Mead Gallery Warwick Arts Centre, January - March 2012.
Koblenz, Ludwig Museum, Sean Scully Figure/Abstract, August - November 2014, exhibition not numbered: this exhibition travelled to Rostock, Kunsthalle, March - April 2015; and Cork, Crawford Gallery, June - September 2015.
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 will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Louise Simpson
Louise Simpson

Lot Essay

'... I was also thinking about TV screens and static and the overlaying of information. The superimposition of simultaneous information and learning how to look at everything that is happening all at the same time, all at once, and yet utterly complicated' (S. Scully, quoted in ‘An Interview,’ B. Kennedy, exhibition catalogue, Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe, Hanover, 2008, p. 31).

At 7ft high, East Coast Light 2 is an impressive and striking example of Scully’s early oeuvre. The work is a homage to the depiction of light, as it passes through space and the construction of depth within a two-dimensional field; themes that have remained central to the artist throughout his career. Painted during a period when Scully was travelling back and forth between America, Morocco and the UK, East Coast Light 2 is one of a small series of pentagonal canvases that drew on both Scully’s fascination with Morocco and his desire to structure his compositions right up to the edge of the painting. He described, '…The bottom of it, just to enforce how lingering the influence of Morocco was, is the same shape as the thin bands they have on camels. They’re always cut off, Moroccan carpets, like the bottom of a necktie. But I didn’t take it from a necktie, I took it from the culture of Morocco' (S. Scully, quoted in ‘An Interview,’ B. Kennedy, in exhibition catalogue, Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe, Hanover, 2008, p. 30).

In 1969 after returning from Morocco, Scully saw an exhibition of Jesús Rafael Soto at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Soto’s use of the suspended strips of material, which from one angle appear as a solid impenetrable field whilst from another seem interspersed, was highly influential on Scully. This is evident in East Coast Light 2, where the work is flat but also creates a clear sense of depth with the blanket of stripes of varying size and colour. Like a ball of elastic bands, there seems to be no end to the layering – employed with the use of a spray gun, a compressor, a roller and other industrial painting tools.

The series of pentagons from 1973 are amongst the first ‘shaped canvases’ Scully produced, and since then the reshaping, cutting and amalgamation of canvases have defined and remained central to his works and many of his most seminal series. He explained, 'I cut the corners from the bottoms of some of these paintings because I wanted the structures of the paintings to relate to the picture edge. I did a number of paintings like East Coast Light #2 (1973). That’s an important impulse in my work. It is something I’ve never given up' (S. Scully, Resistance and Persistence: Selected Writings, London, 2006, p. 19).

When viewed within the canon of British abstract painting, East Coast Light 2 is synonymous with the colour field paintings of Bridget Riley, whose work from the same period is also characterised by strong diagonal stripes as seen in Rattle (1973). Both works are hard-edged and abstract in style, whilst being illusionistic. Unlike Riley’s optical devices that draw a barrier between the painting and the viewer, throwing off their focus, Scully’s work employs an insular optical device; the eye is drawn inwards until the space appears unstable. Scully differentiates his work from other Op art by his use of alternative stripes as opposed to mechanically placed stripes. The inspiration for these evenly placed bands that anchor the composition to the canvas he attributed to the colourful fabrics and clothes that inspired him in Morocco, such as the fabrics of djellabas.

Scully is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished artists working today; his international reputation has been bolstered by a series of critically acclaimed international retrospectives in countries as diverse as China, the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea and the United States. East Coast Light 1, also from 1973, is in the collection of the Crawford Gallery, Cork.

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