Maud Frances Eyston Sumner (South African, 1902-1985)
Dinard, Brittany signed 'Sumner' (lower left) oil on canvas 54 x 65cm (21 1/4 x 25 9/16in).
PROVENANCE: Acquired from the artist by Miss Suus Dörr of Den Haag Bequeathed to the current owner
Maud Sumner was born in Johannesburg, the daughter of an English brewer. In October 1922, she went to Oxford University to study English literature, at a time when women were in a significant minority. Sumner's passion had always been for art and after a period studying at the Westminster School of Art, she went to Paris where she studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. This was her first step into the Paris art world and throughout her life, she was influenced and inspired by French painting. She was a pupil of Maurice Denis, a figure who was critical in her artistic development.
The present lot most probably dates to the early 1950s, when Sumner's work had begun to take on an increasingly abstract quality. Technique and colour were crucial to her and her play with form, light and colour takes precedence over location. Sumner endows the landscape with a magnificent serenity and an overall sense of calm. She does not include any figures in the painting; this is not to dehumanise the work but rather to give it a still and spiritual quality.