Sean Scully (Irish, born 1946) Untitled 58.4 x 76.7 cm. (23 x 30 1/4 in.) Executed in 1984
Lot 104* AR
Sean Scully (Irish, born 1946) Untitled 58.4 x 76.7 cm. (23 x 30 1/4 in.) Executed in 1984
Sold for £37,250 (US$ 59,787) inc. premium

Lot Details
Sean Scully (Irish, born 1946)
Untitled
signed and dated 'Sean Scully 9.28.84' (lower right)
pastel
58.4 x 76.7 cm. (23 x 30 1/4 in.)
Executed in 1984

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    with David McKee Inc., New York

    Untitled, bears witness to Scully's 40 year love affair with the stripe, which has shifted and evolved but never diminished. Numerous visits to Morocco, where he saw long strips of dyed wool being hung out side by side by carpet makers, was to be the foundation stone for this motif.

    Here we are presented with three distinct bands – thick monochrome verticals to the left, coloured thin verticals in the centre and thick monochrome horizontals to the right. This triptych arrangement is something the artist was interested in exploring at the time, sometimes for personal reasons. Painted the same year as this lot, the iconic Paul (1984) from Tate Collection memorialises his son, who had recently died in a car accident. Two bands of light verticals are abruptly halted by a heavy section of thick horizontals, alluding to a life force and the untimely end of it.

    In the present example however, the three separate bands cohabit easily but do so without giving up their identities. Here is an abstraction that encourages dialogue with the viewer and Scully has always cited the 'spiritual' aspect of his oeuvre. He has commented that he "is trying to get at deep emotions through simple forms" (Irish Arts Review, Spring 2006, p.75). The positioning of narrow stripes set into a background of broader stripes invite us to move forward and backward, introducing a physical and emotional dynamism.

    The success of this advance and recession brings to mind film technique whereby the three striped sections can be seen as successive movie frames, one in front (in this case the blue verticals) with the supporting panels ready to appear when required.
Auction information

The 29 May sale was the departments most successful auction to date making almost £5m.

Furthermore, it was 90% sold by value with some staggering results achieved for fresh, competitively priced material sourced from private collections. Over half of sold lots soared above their high estimates, indicating that Bonhams is best positioned to secure the best price for your Modern British & Irish Art.

The variety on offer within this genre continues to delight buyers, proven by exceptional results for post-war masters such as Auerbach, Scully, Hockney and Freud whilst the early-mid century examples by Spencer, Lavery, Burra and Moore also exceeded expectation. We were proud to break our own world auction record twice over in the same sale for a pencil drawing by L.S. Lowry. Agecroft Regatta sold for £211,250, pipping The Organ Grinder (£151,250) to the title. The sculpture and Irish content were similarly contended for by the packed saleroom and busy telephones.

The cover lot Garden Path, Cookham Rise by Sir Stanley Spencer fetched an impressive £769,250 while the much admired Oil-bound Puffin by Lucian Freud commanded £385,250 on the day, with both returning to private collections.

We are delighted to now invite consignments for the forthcoming auction on 20 November 2013.

Please contact a member of the department or visit the sale webpage for further information.

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Contacts
  1. Penny Day
    Specialist - Modern British and Irish Art
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  2. Matthew Bradbury
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  3. Christopher Dawson
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    Work +44 20 7468 8296
    FaxFax: +44 20 7447 7434
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