William Johnstone's reputation is secure. He is central not only for his influence on the younger generation in the late forties and fifties, perhaps too for his influence on his contamporaries in the thirties like Nash and Moore, for his impact on art education, but above all for his radical vision as an artist.
The present lot and also lots 248-250 were painted in the last twenty years or so of his life when Johnstone painted extraordinary work after his return to Scotland in 1960. The later paintings are rooted in a long and consistent evolution. If in his combination of the inspiration of the Surrealists and the American painters of the twenties, Johnstone was a parallel figure to Jackson Pollock, his abstract expressionism was his own (see introduction to Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture by William Johnstone; Christie's, Glasgow, 18 June 1996).