Still Life with Rose and Pitcher oil on canvas 50.8 x 40.6 cm. (20 x 16 in.) Painted circa 1957
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, South Africa
EXHIBITED: Probably Cape Town, NedArt, Euan Uglow, 26 May-14 June 1974, where acquired by the father of the present owner
Along with portraiture and nudes, Euan Uglow excelled at and was dedicated to the painting of still life. This mode was explored by the artist throughout his career with the present work, Still Life with Rose and Pitcher, belonging to what can be considered his most successful period. Some of Uglow's earliest still life's such as Wine Bottle (1950) and Apples (1949) are indebted to Cézanne as the artist experimented with structure and absorbed the influences around him.
By the early 1950s Uglow was beginning to define his own personal technique and Rose (1952) is illustrative of this (see Catherine Lampert, Euan Uglow, The Complete Paintings, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007, p.16, no.42). This simple composition painted on a relatively small piece of board comprises a single rose and leaf with the outline of a simple bottle amidst fluid brushwork. Clearly pre-empting the present work and incorporating all the basic components, Rose was much admired at the time and purchased by fellow student J.M. Baron despite alleged interest from a museum in the north of England.
The previously unrecorded Still Life with Rose and Pitcher is dateable to circa 1957 and comprises exactly that. The beautifully observed flowerhead occupies the centre of the canvas with carefully placed leaves below. The choice of decorative pitcher is typical of the artist who collected numerous vases and objects that were carefully selected for paintings and kept in his studio. The quite exacting depiction of the rose and pitcher contrasts well with the expressive and intuitive nature of the background brushwork which combines subtle tonal shifts. With a successful overall symmetry and some unexpected flashes of colour, Still Life with Rose and Pitcher is a highly accomplished and humble painting by an artist whose work is seldom presented at auction.
Bonhams hold the world auction record for Euan Uglow with the small (9 ¼ x 10 in.) Still life, which sold for £78,000 in March 2007.