Dorothea Sharp, RBA, ROI (British, 1874-1955) Painting on the beach
Lot 189AR
Dorothea Sharp, RBA, ROI
(British, 1874-1955)
Painting on the beach
Sold for £98,500 (US$ 158,097) inc. premium

Lot Details
Dorothea Sharp, RBA, ROI (British, 1874-1955)
Painting on the beach
oil on canvas
35.5 x 44.5cm (14 x 17 1/2in).
Painted circa 1914

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Sale, Sotheby's, London, 2 March 1988, lot 207
    Sale, Christie's, London, 20 June 1995, lot 145
    with David Messum's, London

    Literature
    P. Duval, Canadian Impressionism, Toronto, 1990, p. 10, illustrated

    Dorothea Sharp was born in Dartford, Kent in 1874. It was under the tutelage of George Clausen that Sharp was first exposed to plein air painting and became increasingly fascinated in and influenced by the work of the French impressionist painters. During a Parisian sojourn she became particularly interested in Claude Monet's subjects and style, which encouraged her to experiment with brushwork and light.

    Sharp is most associated with paintings of children and women set in idyllic seaside and country settings and the present lot is a typical example of the artist's oeuvre. The two subjects occupy much of the canvas and both face inwards, disengaged with the viewer, concentrating on their activities. Despite this, Sharp has created a scene that is warm and inviting with bright white and golden brushstrokes contrasting with the deep purple hues of the shadow to perfectly capture the sun's arresting light. In the distance, a small area of blue alludes to a shimmering seascape, an expansive vista beyond the calm shaded tranquillity of the tent. The painting confidently captures the spontaneity of the moment with the loose sketchy outlines of various objects, such as a leaning parasol and discarded sun hat.

    A work by the Canadian impressionist artist Helen McNicoll shares an almost identical composition with the present lot. The painting, titled Under the Shadow of the Tent, painted in 1914, is currently held in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada. For another similar example see In the Tent, also painted in 1914, P. Duval, Canadian Impressionism, Toronto, 1990, p. 98-9.

    The two works are a wonderful example of the working relationship and friendship between Sharp and McNicoll. They first met in St Ives in 1905 and subsequently became close, referring to each other affectionately as "Nelly" and "Dolly". They shared a studio space in Maida Vale, London and in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, in northern France, and they also travelled together on sketching trips, venturing to France and Italy. It was an important relationship for both, but possibly more significant for McNicoll, who was deaf, a consequence of contracting scarlet fever at the age of two. Apart from her immediate family, Sharp was her closest and most intimate companion, someone who she could trust and who acted as a great source of strength and support. Indeed, "Dorothea Sharp's company provided McNicoll with camaraderie, security, and saved her from what would be difficult negotiations with models", (N. Luckyj, Helen McNicoll: a Canadian impressionist, Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1999, p. 44.

    The present lot gives a unique opportunity to view the close relationship between two of Britain and Canada's finest female Impressionist artists.
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