Bonhams : Michael Andrews (1928-1995) Craigie Aitchison (Study for Good and Bad at Games) 24.8 x 21.5 cm. (9 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.)
Michael Andrews (1928-1995) Craigie Aitchison (Study for Good and Bad at Games) 24.8 x 21.5 cm. (9 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.)

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Lot 168
Michael Andrews
(1928-1995)
Craigie Aitchison (Study for Good and Bad at Games) 24.8 x 21.5 cm. (9 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.)

Sold for £ 48,000 (US$ 60,566) inc. premium
Michael Andrews (1928-1995)
Craigie Aitchison (Study for Good and Bad at Games)
oil on board
24.8 x 21.5 cm. (9 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.)

Footnotes

  • Craigie Aitchison ( Study for Good and Bad at Games)



    'One of the great strengths of the portraits of acquaintances and friends that Andrews made in the 1950s and 1960s is their power not only to describe their subject's appearance, but also to suggest character and to invite a response as to how the subject seems a living, feeling person.'


    (see Paul Moorhouse 'Strange Consolation': The Art of Michael Andrews, Michael Andrews, Tate Publishing, London, 2001, p.14).


    In the 1960s many of Andrews most important works explored social interaction in convivial settings such as parties or at the celebrated Soho drinking club, The Colony Room, frequented by Andrews and friends such as Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Characteristically in these works Andrews included friends, often fellow artists, and family members.


    One of the first major social paintings was The Family in the Garden (1960-62) showing Andrews's family in the tranquil daytime setting of the garden of their Norfolk home. This was followed by paintings in which Andrews presented a very contrasting world of London parties as in The Colony Room (1962), All Night Long (1962-64) and Good and Bad at Games (1964-68).


    The present painting, a portrait of the painter Craigie Aitchison, directly relates to Good and Bad at Games (Australian National Gallery, Canberra). This three part work included not only Andrews, himself, but also portraits of friends and family members. Among them are some of Andrew's artist friends, including Craigie Aitchison, Paula Rego and Victor Willing, who along with Andrews had all studied at the Slade School of Art in the 1950s.


    Good and Bad at Games uses three separate canvases to convey the changing presence of guests at a party during the course of an evening. The idea was to suggest how people's presence waxed and waned with some people growing more lively and animated, others maintaining a steady level of intensity, and others appearing to grow tired and fade into the distance.


    As Paul Moorhouse has recognized: 'Andrews's party paintings offer views of fish tanks in which exotic fish have been replaced by people. We observe, instead, the swim of human behaviour - the predators, the performers and the observers, all caught in the currents and eddies of their fortunes.' (Op.cit., p.21)


    These heads appear to flicker like candles, their forms rising and falling. This quality is also to be found in the present painting in which Craigie Aitchison's head appears to stretch and grow before our eyes his presence growing before us.


    We are grateful to Dr. James Hyman for his assistance in cataloguing this work. This painting will be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Michael Andrews.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the correct title has been added and that the work is not signed verso.
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