Frank Bowling R.A. (British, born 1936) Untitled 52.7 x 30.5 cm. (20 3/4 x 12 in.) (Painted circa 1978)

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Lot 4AR
Frank Bowling R.A.
(British, born 1936)
Untitled 52.7 x 30.5 cm. (20 3/4 x 12 in.)

Sold for £ 16,312 (US$ 20,373) inc. premium
Frank Bowling R.A. (British, born 1936)
Untitled
partially stencilled 'FRANK/BOWLING' and indistinctly inscribed and dated (verso)
acrylic on canvas
52.7 x 30.5 cm. (20 3/4 x 12 in.)
Painted circa 1978

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Purchased directly from the Artist by the present owner's late husband in 1978
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Frank Bowling's output throughout the mid-1970s is dominated by a series of 'poured' paintings. To execute these, Bowling built a wooden platform to support his canvases which could be tilted to allow for the paint, poured from a height, to run down the canvas in a controlled manner. Whilst managing the palette to some extent, this technique purposefully allowed for an element of automatism to enter his work. Bowling further developed this approach in 1978. Retaining the vertical format of each canvas, over a poured base layer, hand-applied splotches and chemical interventions were introduced. This involved the use of ammonia, pearl-essence, acrylic solutions and distilled turpentine with splatters and runs of thinned paint, resulting in a vibrant and varying surface quality.

    Mel Gooding has described such works as 'a spectacle of the heavens framed as through a tall window', declaring 'the exhilarating reality of the perceived world – its infinite diversities of texture, colour and light, brightness, shadow and darkness, its endless variegation and constant surprise – will henceforth always be present in Bowling's painting' (Mel Gooding, Frank Bowling, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2011, pp.85-86).

    In 1987, the Tate Gallery made a painting by Bowling their first acquisition by a living black British artist and in 2005 Bowling was the first black artist to be elected to the Royal Academy of Arts. Tate Britain are holding the first major retrospective of Bowling's work from May-August 2019.

    We are grateful to the Frank Bowling Archive for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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