Director, Head of Sales
19th Century and British Impressionist Art / Edward Seago, RWS, RBA (British, 1910-1974) Tuileries Gardens, November
With P & D Colnaghi, London.
With Laing Galleries, Toronto.
Acquired from the above by the parents of the present owner, 1959.
Private collection, Canada.
Apart from the beauty and elegance of the city, there is an indefinable feeling of romance about Paris which has an irresistible fascination. Its association with painters and painting is enough in itself to make any artist want to go there.
(Edward Seago, With Capricorn to Paris)
The present lot, unseen since 1959, is an impressive example of Seago's Parisian work, capturing elegant figures strolling in the autumnal sunshine of the Tuileries Gardens. Between 1951 and 1967, Seago made eight visits to France, often voyaging on board Capricorn, the yacht he had fitted out as a floating studio. Seago had long harboured an ambition to visit Paris, writing 'long before I ever went to France I wanted to journey up the Seine, preferably in my own boat, and so come to Paris- to moor in the heart of the city within sight of Notre Dame'1. Setting out on his first voyage, Capricorn stopped off at Dieppe, Le Havre and Honfleur, before meandering down the Seine, mooring up at the quayside near the Place du Concord2.
During these expeditions, the artist produced a substantial body of work, depicting the French capital, as well as Dieppe, Honfleur, Nantes, Montereau and other scenic towns. As James Reid notes, during these trips, Seago 'seemed to explode with a burst of creative energy'3. Moored on the right bank of the Seine, Seago was perfectly placed to explore and paint not just the river itself, but sights such as the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, the subject of the present lot. While the figures are painted in the artist's usual Impressionistic style, Seago is nonetheless able to make them 'remarkably individualised, so that each figure has its own specific personality', achieved with 'a few seemingly insouciant flicks of the wrist'4.
While the present lot bears a gallery label from Colnaghi on the reverse, it was in fact acquired from the Toronto dealer Blair Laing. The relationship between Seago, Colnaghi and Laing is well documented, and both galleries held regular highly successful exhibitions of Seagos' work. Writing in his memoir, G. Blair Laing notes that he first encountered Seago's work in 1950, in the window of Colnaghi's Gallery. Tom Baskett, a partner at Colnaghi and an advisor to Seago, arranged a meeting, Laing visiting the artist's studio in Norfolk. Laing writes 'Seago's was the first studio I had visited outside Canada, and I was impressed... little did I dream that I was about to embark on a business relationship with this talented artist and enjoy a friendship that was to last for the next twenty-four years.'5 Laing visited Seago numerous times in the intervening years, his gallery hosting its first Seago exhibition in 1954.
1Edward Seago, With Capricorn to Paris, London, 1956, p.10.
2Ron Ranson, Edward Seago, Newton Abbot, 1987, p 28.
3James Reid, Edward Seago: the landscape art London, 1991, p. 180.
4Ibid, p. 190.
5G. Blair Laing, Memoirs of an Art Dealer, Toronto, 1979. p. 174.