Masterpiece by 'great lost modernist' of British art offered at Bonhams Modern British and Irish sale
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Masterpiece by 'great lost modernist' of British art offered at Bonhams Modern British and Irish sale
The Lee Shore by David Jones. Estimate £20,000-30,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- The Lee Shore by the British modernist artist and engraver David Jones (1895-1974) features in Bonhams Modern British and Irish Art sale in London on Wednesday 22 November. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

Created in 1961, in pencil, crayon and watercolour, The Lee Shore is heavily symbolic. Known also as Gwener – the Welsh for Venus – the work is filled with references to Classical and Nordic mythology, religion and, even, Welsh costume. In 1973, towards the end of his life, Jones wrote a five-page letter explaining in detail the precise significance of the images included in the composition. The letter, which is to be sold with the painting, was sent to his great friend Valerie Price, to whom he had given the picture.

During his lifetime, Jones was acclaimed by leading figures in the art world, including the poet W.H Auden, the composer Igor Stravinsky and the art historian, museum director and broadcaster, Kenneth Clark, who described him as the greatest draughtsman since William Blake.

In the years following his death in 1974, Jones faded from view, but recently interest in the life and work of ‘the great lost modernist of British Art’, has revived. An exhibition at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester in 2015-16 introduced Jones to a new generation, and the recent publication of Thomas Dilworth’s biography of the artist, David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet has consolidated his reputation.

Writing in the Winter edition of Bonhams Magazine, the celebrated novelist and biographer A.N. Wilson, a long-time admirer of David Jones, said:” Jones was, whatever he was doing – whether carving a memorial, writing a poem, musing about his latest love, or dipping his brush into the watercolour box – a visionary. In all his pictures, religious or erotic, you are in the land of the mind.”

Bonhams Director of Modern British and Irish Art, Matthew Bradbury, said: “David Jones was a remarkable artist whose talents have been neglected for too long. The Lee Shore displays his great power as a lyrical draughtsman and the breadth of his intelligence and interests.”

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