BECKETT, SAMUEL (1906-1989, novelist, poet and playwright, Nobel prize winner for Literature) PORTRA
Lot 9
BECKETT, SAMUEL (1906-1989, novelist, poet and playwright, Nobel Prize winner for Literature) PORTRAIT BY TOM PHILLIPS R.A. (b. 1937),
Sold for £3,600 (US$ 6,050) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
BECKETT, SAMUEL (1906-1989, novelist, poet and playwright, Nobel Prize winner for Literature)
PORTRAIT BY TOM PHILLIPS R.A. (b. 1937),
coloured lithograph, half-length, seated, depicting Beckett from behind, inscribed ‘hors de commerce’and signed by Tom Phillips, titled at foot in large capitals ‘No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better’, 26 x 16 in (66 x 40.6 cm).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE: Acquired from the artist’s own collection.

    Tom Phillips has written about the making of this portrait: 'When Beckett was in London last year [1984], rehearsing the San Quentin group in Waiting for Godot at the Riverside Theatre, I was asked by David Gothard, its director, if I would come along and do some drawings.

    At the beginning I did not know quite how to set about drawing him. I'm not a very good lightning sketcher. To move up in front of him would evidently have been an intrusion on his work there. Sitting behind, trying to form a strategy, I gradually realised that the back of his head was as eloquent as the front, and as recognizable. Beyond the head from this viewpoint was of course the stage and his play. Beckett's privateness as a person would be both respected by the unobtrusive artist at his back and reflected in the picture which would emphasise, as he would, the work in favour of the man. Beckett has a half-military, half-monastic stillness which was helpful to my task...Initially I positioned myself so that I caught some of the side view of his face but settled in the end, in doing the most finished of the drawings, for a full back view in which each of Beckett's majestic ears is seen to good advantage: they are after all the most sensitive ears for language alive...'(The Review of Contemporary Fiction, USA, Summer 1987, vol. vii, number 2).
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