We were delighted to offer Callum Innes’ Exposed Painting, Paynes Grey / Cobalt for sale in April 2022. Not only did this work date from that pivotal year of recognition for the artist, 1995, it was from his famed Exposed Paintings series, a body of work which cemented his reputation and remains the lynchpin of his oeuvre. His Exposed Paintings exemplify what has been described as Innes’ “painting and un-painting” technique. The works embody balance and tension: between the application and subtraction of materials, between simplicity and complexity, between meticulous technique and serendipitous outcomes.
Painted in the typical large format that characterises this series (apparently selected as it is the span of the artist’s arm), it features a block of pure highly saturated blue, the striations of Innes’ gestural brushwork visible upon scrutiny. The year 1995 saw the artist meditate on the minimalistic juxtaposition of just two tonal fields, in this case Paynes Grey and Cobalt Blue, meeting in a feathery, bleeding intersection. Though graphic, indeed almost stark, nothing is ever quite what it first seems with a work by Innes. “Everything that pertains to be minimal of course is not,” he once commented. “The way the eye works, it goes to the painted area, then the white, then the feathering. Something simple becomes complex.”
Callum Innes is recognised as one of the UK’s foremost contemporary painters as supported by his highly regarded international reputation. A graduate of Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, and the Edinburgh College of Art, his work earned high regard from an early stage in his career. In 1992, the artist was the recipient of two major exhibitions in significant public institutions: the ICA, London, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. In 1995 Innes was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and Jerwood Painting Prize. In 1998 he won the prestigious NatWest Art Prize and in 2002 was awarded the Jerwood Painting Prize and the Artisti Invitati Al Premio Internazionale. Innes has had numerous solo shows around the world, and his work his held in major collections including Tate, London, and the Guggenheim, New York.
Characterised by competitive bidding, strong results and a high selling rate, our Contemporary & Post-War Art sales are among our most popular auctions. Held three times a year in our Scottish saleroom, highlights are also regularly exhibited in our London gallery. Our strong private client base and excellent international marketing reach has seen these sales grow into flagships of our company.
Encompassing works by both emerging and internationally regarded contemporary artists and sculptors, we have achieved top prices for household names including John Hoyland (a world record), Bridget Riley, Eduardo Paolozzi (a world record for a sculpture), Terry Frost, Nicholas Party, Alison Watt and Callum Innes. Regularly featured local favourites include John Bellany and the ‘New Glasgow Boys’ Peter Howson, Ken Currie, Steven Campbell, as well as John Byrne and Alasdair Gray.