MAUGHAM, [WILLIAM] SOMERSET (1874-1965, novelist and playwright) PORTRAIT BY GRAHAM SUTHERLAND O.M.,
Lot 105
MAUGHAM, WILLIAM SOMERSET (1874-1965, novelist and playwright) PORTRAIT BY GRAHAM SUTHERLAND O.M., A.R.E. (1903-1980),
Sold for £4,200 (US$ 6,778) inc. premium

Lot Details
MAUGHAM, WILLIAM SOMERSET (1874-1965, novelist and playwright)
PORTRAIT BY GRAHAM SUTHERLAND O.M., A.R.E. (1903-1980),
lithograph in black ink, proof, head, dated in the plate 7 July 1953, on Japan paper, signed and inscribed by Graham Sutherland in pencil below the image 'To H.A. from G.S. in friendship. 4.IX.57', 9½ x 9½ in (24.2 x 24.2 cm).

Footnotes

  • REFERENCE: Roberto Tassi, Sutherland: The Graphic Work, number 62; John Hayes, Portraits by Graham Sutherland, National Portrait Gallery, 1977.

    A rare signed and inscribed artist's proof lithograph on Japan paper by the most important portraitist of Maugham. The portrait (unsigned) was reproduced in Cakes and Ale. The present work is a trial proof before the special limited edition of the book. It is the most famous of Sutherland's portrait works in lithography. H.A. has not been identified, but two people in his circle with those initials were Hardie Amis and the painter, engraver and sculptor Hans Arp (1887-1966).

    When selling a similar inscribed version of the lithograph (though his was on smaller paper - measuring c. 10¾ x 9¼ in), William Weston wrote of it as an 'absolutely exceptional and extremely rare signed and dedicated impression of Sutherland's most famous portrait in the medium of lithography...We have only seen one other signed proof of this outstanding portrait lithograph in more than 30 years...This lithograph was drawn at the same period as the paintings, and as a parallel to the preliminary drawings.'

    Virginia Woolf accurately described Maugham as in this portrait: 'like a dead man whose beard or moustache has grown a little grisly bristle after death. And his lips are drawn back like a dead man's. He has small ferret eyes. A look of suffering & malignity & suspicion...Sat like an animal in a trap.' Cyril Connolly said of Sutherland's major full-length portrait of Maugham: '...on his face the fastidious expression...of one who understands humanity and both pities and forgives, finding much to enjoy and very little to hope for.'

    Maugham himself observed: 'Only those totally without physical vanity, educated in painting, or with exceptionally good manners, can disguise their feelings of shock or even revulsion when they are confronted for the first time with a reasonably truthful image of themselves...'
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