Sir George Clausen, RA, RWS (British, 1852-1944) Portrait of Arthur George Clausen, the artist's son
Lot 98AR
Sir George Clausen, RA, RWS
(British, 1852-1944)
Portrait of Arthur George Clausen, the artist's son
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 28,088) inc. premium

Lot Details
Sir George Clausen, RA, RWS (British, 1852-1944)
Portrait of Arthur George Clausen, the artist's son
signed and indistinctly dated 'G. CLAUSEN/1893' (upper right), inscribed 'ARTY' (upper left), also inscribed '1893/Portrait of my son Arthur George/George Clausen/Middington/Newport/Essex' on reverse
oil on panel
24 x 16cm (9 7/16 x 6 5/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Arthur George Clausen
    Thence by descent

    While some contemporaries saw eye-catching subject pictures as a means of securing lucrative portrait commissions, George Clausen never considered the naturalistic portrayal of field workers in this way. Early in his career, portraits were few in number and were restricted to family members and close friends. Within this group there was a series of small portraits of his children that began in 1889 with that of his eldest daughter, Margaret Mary. These continued with the larger family group – The Breakfast Table, 1890-1 (Private Collection) - which originally contained Arthur George (1883-1974) the first of Clausen's three sons, standing to the right of the table with his two sisters and their mother, Agnes Mary Clausen1.

    After it was shown at the Royal Academy the painter came to the view that the composition would be strengthened if the right-hand section was removed and only the head and shoulders of the boy was salvaged and re-stretched as an independent picture (sold Bonhams, 6 March 2012).

    In the following years Clausen painted other small portraits of Arthur George, his sister Kit, and brother, Raymond John. All are distinguished by the sensitivity that typifies his paintings of country children – Annie Carter, Rose Grimsdale and 'ploughboy' Joe. However in these family portraits the patient observation of his own offspring combines sympathy with a visual rigour that recalls the miniatures of Holbein. Clausen avoids the flashy pyrotechnics of contemporaries like Sargent and Shannon who were often required to convey innocence with high social standing in their child portraits. In later years, as they grew up, the painter would occasionally turn to his children as models, but seldom with the incisiveness seen in the present work.

    1Kenneth McConkey, Sir George Clausen RA 1852-1944, 1980 (exhibition catalogue, Bradford and Tyne and Wear Museums), pp. 58-9; Kenneth McConkey, George Clausen and the Picture of English Rural Life, 2012, (Atelier Books), pp. 97-8.

    We are grateful to Professor Kenneth McConkey for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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  1. Sam Travers
    Specialist - 19th Century Paintings
    Bonhams
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