Sir William Coldstream (British, 1906-1987) Blue Still Life 77 x 71.2 cm. (30 1/4 x 28 in.) (Painted in 1983)

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Lot 6AR
Sir William Coldstream
(British, 1906-1987)
Blue Still Life 77 x 71.2 cm. (30 1/4 x 28 in.)

Sold for £ 68,812 (US$ 82,791) inc. premium
Sir William Coldstream (British, 1906-1987)
Blue Still Life
oil on canvas
77 x 71.2 cm. (30 1/4 x 28 in.)
Painted in 1983

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    With Anthony d'Offay, London, 1983, where purchased by
    Dr Bruce Laughton, thence by descent
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Exhibited
    London, Anthony d'Offay, William Coldstream: New Paintings, 20 June-20 July 1984, cat.no.22 (ill.)
    London, Tate, The Paintings of William Coldstream, 1908-1987, 17 October 1990-6 January 1991, cat.no.76 (ill.)

    Literature
    Bruce Laughton, William Coldstream, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2004, pp.300-304, fig.164-6 (col.ill)
    Peter T.J. Rumley, William Coldstream, Sansom & Company, Bristol, 2018, p.146, cat.no.196 (col.ill.)

    Dr. Bruce Laughton (1928-2016) was a noted writer on British and French nineteenth and twentieth-century art whose publications include Philip Wilson Steer (Clarendon Press, 1971), The Euston Road School (Scholar Press, 1986), The Drawings of Daumier and Millet (Yale University Press, 1991), Honoré Daumier (Editions du Valhermeil, 1996) and William Coldstream (Yale University Press, 2004).

    In his 2004 monograph on the artist, Laughton documents the progression of Blue Still Life which was to become Coldstream's final, completed still-life painting. Laughton notes 'When I visited him [Coldstream] in the studio on 3 March 1983, he had been working for five weeks on Blue Still Life and I photographed it then. The strong central vertical axis through the blue artificial flowers and the Delft vase made them appear as if suspended by an invisible thread, the volume of the vase being felt before he had drawn its contours.' (Bruce Laughton, William Coldstream, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2004, p.302).

    'I also photographed the still life set-up from the exact position of the artist's eye, as a record. (fig 1.) This shows one marguerite bloom fallen down onto the table top; it afterwards disappeared, but the chalk circle marking its position remains in the finished painting' (ibid. p.303).

    'The Focus of Blue Still Life is on the Delft vase. 'Blue' is simply the major colour key, uniting the artificial flowers with the vase and the William Morris pattern on the printed wallpaper. A mysterious aspect of the design is the long standing mirror which leans against the wallpaper, reflecting nothing but a greenish light from the white panelling at right angles to it. There are a few final placement marks, in pure vermilion, on the vase and marguerite petals, while a yellow horizontal mark on the vase stem is the benchmark for all measurements up and down. At quite a late stage, the wallpaper pattern was scumbled over with a greyish glaze, to prevent it from overwhelming the eye.' (ibid. p.304).

    Dr. Bruce Laughton's collection also extended to an oil by Euan Uglow (see lot 7) and several drawings by Coldstream and Victor Pasmore to be included in the auction of Modern British & Irish Art at Bonhams Knightsbridge on 3 July.
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