Arp to Warhol
19 November 2016
Graham Sutherland, 1903-1980
Original lithograph in six colours. 1972/73. Signed in pencil. Inscribed as ‘Artist’s Proof’. Also dedicated by Sutherland in pencil: ‘ For A.G. from G.S. 22.iv.73’. (See below). Total issued edition, including proofs, of 116 impressions. Drawn by Sutherland and printed at the Mourlot studio, Paris 1972/73. Issued in the series: ‘Three Lithographs’ by Theodorani, Milan 1974.
Note: The dedication ‘A.G’ refers to Arnold Goodman - Lord Goodman - who was chairman of the U.K. Arts Council from 1965 to 1972. He was a great supporter of the contemporary arts of the period and a close friend of Graham Sutherland.
Ref: Tassi - Sutherland Graphic Work no 148.
Excellent impression with brilliant colours. On pale cream wove paper. Excellent condition. Full sheet: 725 x 515mm. 28 5/8 x 20 1/4ins. Image: 665x465mm. 26 1/8 x 18 1/4ins.
Sutherland was one of the greatest and most individual 20th century British painters and his art brought together in a modern 20th century imagery two central themes of traditional British painting – the concept of a visionary ecstasy derived from landscape and religious faith.
When he was allowed, aged 18, by his father to give up his first career as a railway engineer and enroll at Goldsmiths Art College in London he was immediately guided by his tutor, the engraver Frederick Griggs, to look at etchings by Samuel Palmer. Palmer’s 19th century vision of the rolling richness of the Kent landscape was a revelation and it remained central to Sutherland’s artistic inspiration for the remainder of his life.
Sutherland’s concept of the ‘vision of landscape’ was not so much inspired by a view of landscape as a whole but rather by the elements of nature – branches, rocks or foliage. This view was crystalized by visits to Pembrokeshire in Wales, first in the 1930’s and 40’s and then again in the 1960’s. In the wild estuaries of the coast, amongst the cliffs and on the open hillsides he found objects and views which became central features of his pictures.
Sutherland converted to Catholicism in the 1920’s at the time of his marriage and religious faith became the second central feature of his art. He used the elements of the landscape to allude to the central tenets of his religion. The way in which he transformed the natural objects, a fallen branch for example, into an expressive and emotional ‘being’ also shows how much his inspiration was allied to the concepts of the French Surrealist artists. In 1936 he exhibited in the ‘International Surrealist Exhibition’ in London and it was an influence that remained with him.
In ‘Roses’ it is very apparent how all these elements came together right through to the late period of his life – the colour and allusions to landscape, the use of the thorns and shaping of the arrangement of the roses to suggest a cross and the way that the bush forms become strange almost living fcreatures. A passionate and inspired artist of the medium of colour lithography ‘Roses’ is one of Sutherland’s most beautiful late period prints.
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