British, 1903-1980


1957, gouache, watercolor, and crayon on heavy card
signed and dated G.S. X.III \ 57 along lower edge
sight: 37 x 27 1/2 in., frame: 47 1/2 x 38 in.

  • Provenance: From the artist to Jean Simpson-Baikie, London; to the current owner, 1967.
  • Notes: After the Second World War, British artist Graham Sutherland incorporated new tonalities and brighter colors into his work. Reflecting on this shift, the artist noted that by 1945, "color became important to me and I found I could use it emotively and arbitrarily." The two works included in this sale exemplify this injection of bright color, particularly in contrast to the sparse instances of color in his earlier pieces. In the decades following the war, Sutherland received several public commissions, including a Crucifixion for the parish church of St Matthew's in Northampton (1944) and his celebrated design for the tapestry of Christ in Glory at the new Coventry Cathedral (1962). The ‘duality' of the Crucifixion fascinated Sutherland, who described it as 'the most tragic of all themes, yet inherent in it is the promise of salvation. It is the symbol of the precarious balanced moment, the hair's–breadth between black and white.' As an Official War Artist employed to capture the bomb damage in Great Britain, Sutherland's vision for the Crucifixion was undoubtedly impacted by his wartime experiences and reaction to its aftermath. His realized, life–size Crucifixion was inspired by Matthias Grunewald's famous Issenhiem altarpiece, rendering an anguished and blistered Christ, as well as contemporary photographs of the dead and starving victims of the Nazi concentration camps. As he worked on these large–scale commissions, Sutherland produced many related works, mediating on religious themes and ‘standing forms,' including trees and fragments of roots. The dramatic perspective lines, bright palette, and almost cruciform figure of Untiled are reminiscent of the Crucifixion at St Matthew's.
  • Condition: Overall good condition. Hinge mounted at top edge. Old masking tape on back of card.

    Please note: All property is sold "AS IS" and any statement, whether oral or written, is given as a courtesy and shall not be deemed as a guarantee, warranty, or representation of the authenticity of authorship, physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of the property or otherwise. The absence of a condition report does not imply the item is in perfect condition.

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Boston, MA, US

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