Football Players, gouache on paper, signed lower left, framed, 31.8 x 53.7cm (12 1/2 x 21 1/8in).
Provenance: Private UK collection; acquired in the 1980s.
Although this work is undated we believe it to have been executed in the mid to late 1950s.
Mualla's colourful depictions of everyday society appear cheerful and carefree at first glance, however when one delves into the artist's traumatic past the reasons for their presence and the works gayety seem less apparent.
Mualla's earliest trauma was suffered at the age of 12 when he broke his ankle playing football. This accident left him crippled and prevented him from attending school for a year.
This makes Football Players an extremely intriguing painting as it features as a subject matter the sport Mualla was playing that led to the injury that was to become such a blight on his life. Perhaps understandably therefore, the subject matter is extremely rare in Mualla's oeuvre and this is the only such example to appear at auction to date.
References: Cem Ileri (ed.), Fikret Moualla, Istanbul, 2005, p.310