A sunny evening, and a busy saleroom, set the scene for a successful Scottish Paintings auction to close our Spring season. Bidders and buyers from across the world accessed the auction by phone and online bidding platforms, as well as those that travelled to attend in person.
Selected highlights from the auction had been exhibited in London and Glasgow, before the entire sale went on display in our beautiful Edinburgh saleroom. Paintings specialist, Carly Shearer, reflects back on the top lots of the evening, and some of the remarkable stories behind them.
The top lot of the evening was John Bulloch Souter’s striking and iconic, The Breakdown. The jazz subject of the painting stirred up social anxieties around race, jazz music and the British Empire, so much so that the painting was removed from the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1926, on request of the Colonial Office.
Contemporary viewers can see the painting for the masterpiece it is, and its importance as a historical record, and as such bidders competed on the phone until the hammer came down at top estimate. For further details on the fascinating history behind this painting click below:
Cadell’s sparkling paintings of the white sands and turquoise waters of the artist’s paradise of Iona remain eternally popular. Iona – Ben More was no different, attracting bidding in the room and from absentee bidders to achieve £62,500.
To find out more about Cadell’s precocious artistic talent, and the influence of avant-garde Parisian art on his style, click below:
The east end of Glasgow is a favoured subject of Joan Eardley’s. She particularly enjoyed capturing the character of the street children, yet in this scene she turns her attention to the fabric of the east end buildings themselves. Working tonally and graphically she captures a sense of structure and dilapidation, yet as we look more closely, character-filled details emerge from the children’s faces at the window to the cat curled up on the step.
In the wake of recent exhibitions in Edinburgh, Eardley continues to gain popularity and dedicated fans, and on the night Glasgow Tenement with Graffiti made well over top estimate at £50,000.
This dramatic painting by successful ‘Glasgow Girl’ Norah Neilson Gray was displayed in her studio as a ‘masterpiece’ work, to showcase and sell her skills to potential patrons.
Exotic’s style endures, attracting attention at viewings in each city, before determined bidders went head to head and the hammer came down well above top estimate. Discover more about the circumstances of Norah Neilson Gray’s artistic training and remarkable achievements below:
A Still-life of Tulips and Fruit dates from a specific moment in Hunter’s career, when he had discovered a new freedom and fluidity in his painting, working loosely and easily with a vivid palette; the effect is abundantly joyful. This painting also has an interesting provenance, as it originally belonged to William McInnes, a personal friend and collector of the artist.
Colourist collectors were drawn to the paintings’ visual vibrancy, as well as its interesting date and provenance, meaning it achieved £52,500 on the night.