LONDON.- Lyon & Turnbulls
MODERN MADE auction in London on November 14 will turn the spotlight on the West Cornwall fishing town that became a centre for 20th century British art. It was in St Ives where a forward-thinking collective of artists established a base for the abstract, avant-garde movement in Britain.
Among the most eagerly anticipated aspects of the 279-lot sale are the many works from an important St Ives artists estate. This includes an archive of material relating to Porthia Prints, a short-lived company established by sculptor and painter Denis Mitchell (1912-93) and his brother in the 1950s. With the promise of a little extra money, the pair encouraged local artists to submit original designs for screen printing on linen and sale as table mats. At least 17 painters and sculptors, a veritable A-Z of the post-war St Ives scene, took part in the project that between 1955-60 supplied designs for sale through Heals of London.
Today, apart from two small scale exhibitions (at the Redfern Gallery in 1986 and the Belgrave Gallery, St Ives in 2006), they have rarely been seen.
The collection of both original designs and examples of the printed linens comes for sale with estimates starting at £200. It includes screenprinted panels by Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, Roger Hilton, Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon created at the zenith of the St Ives School. Hepworths paper collage together with three printed linens of the corresponding design in differing colourways are estimated at £3000-5000.
Terry Frost (1915-2003) held his first show in St Ives in 1947 and settled there in 1951 to refine his vibrant, geometric style. A selection of works from different moments of his career includes the oil The Island, 1950 (£6000-8000) and the hand-coloured screenprint Sun and Boat c.1992-96 (estimate £500-800).
Another artist who found inspiration in the Cornish light, colour and landscape is Breon OCasey. In 1962, he began experimenting with his own abstract pictorial vocabulary, capturing the world around him through a series of circles, triangles and squares,. His oil painting Red Sun inscribed To Denis Mitchell from Breon OCasey with respect & gratitude 1965 is expected to bring £3000-5000.
On the market for the first time, Denis Mitchells gravity-defying sculpture Carn Galver II, 1968 is estimated at £7000-10,000. The first version of Carn Galver appeared in bronze in 1967 with this scaled-up model made the following year using fibreglass set on a marble base. It was shown at the Bath Festival in 1969 and again in 1979 at Mitchell's major solo show at the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea.
These are complemented by a curated selection of 14 works from the estate of Bryan Ingham (1936-97) who, living in a remote cottage he owned on the Lizard peninsula, spent much of his working life immersed in the St.Ives community of artists. His pencil and oil on board titled Autumn in Cornwall, 1992 is estimated at £3000-5000.
The MODERN MADE auction format, headed by specialist Philip Smith, celebrates the significant outpouring of artistic creativity seen throughout the decades of the 20th century across a range of mediums from paintings and sculpture to ceramics and jewellery design.
Many of the highlights from a strong selection of studio ceramics come from the collection of Barbara Ling, the owner of The Candover Gallery that operated in New Alresford in Hampshire from 1984 to 2007. Candover was one of a small group of ground-breaking British galleries that supported contemporary ceramics throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, championing the work of many of the leading names in the field before they rose to wider prominence.
This carefully chosen selection from her estate charts the thriving nature of British studio ceramics of this period. A large selection of works by Walter Keeler (including a commemorative mug marking the 23rd and final year of the Candover Gallery estimated at £100-200) is supported by pieces by Peter Hayes, John Maltby, John Ward, Lucie Rie, Magdalene Odundo and Jennifer Lees Pale, Speckled, Granite and Dark Bands, Tilted Vessel, 1984 (estimate £6000-8000).
British art and design is complemented by works from other parts of the globe. This Novembers auction celebrates Scandinavian rug making and textile design via a collection of mid-century works by the Märta Måås-Fjetterström (MMF) workshop in Båstad, Sweden. Post-war Italian design is represented by two red blue and red/green glass standard lamps designed by Fulvio Bianconi for Venini that were purchased by the current vendors family directly from Italy in the 1950s (estimated at £4000-6000 each) and American modernism by a pair of prototype patinated steel Origami chairs made in an edition of high in 1991 by Philip Michael Wolfson (estimate £4000-6000).