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PROPERTY OF A LADY

George Leslie Hunter
STILL LIFE OF PINK ROSES WITH FRUIT AND A GLASS
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 249,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
41

PROPERTY OF A LADY

George Leslie Hunter
STILL LIFE OF PINK ROSES WITH FRUIT AND A GLASS
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 249,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Scottish Art

|
London

George Leslie Hunter
1877-1931
STILL LIFE OF PINK ROSES WITH FRUIT AND A GLASS

Provenance

Purchased directly from the artist by a private collector and thence by descent until 2006;
Bonhams, Edinburgh, 25 August 2006, lot 1100A;
Richard Green, London, where purchased by the present owner

Catalogue Note

The square-brush application of the brilliantly-hued paint in Still Life of Pink Roses, Fruit and a Glass demonstrates Hunter's admiration for the work of Henri Matisse. One of Hunter's chief patrons in Glasgow, William McInnes owned a fine still life painting by Matisse that Hunter greatly admired; he would often sit in front of it for hours. Hunter's biographer T.J. Honeyman makes the important point that the Glasgow Art dealer Alexander Reid felt Hunter  'a more powerful colourist than Matisse and equally refined'. During his lifetime Hunter's work was often likened to that of both Matisse and Cezanne and although Honeyman noted that both artists had had some influence upon Hunter, especially during his stay in France, he was adamant in his contest that Hunter was far from an imitator of any other artist stating that 'one should not liken him to Matisse. One should contrast them. Each is a colourist, but their perceptions differ.' At this time Hunter's style was fully formed and he was proud of his achievements 'he was emphatic in the conviction that his present style of painting qualified him for inclusion among the accredited leaders of the post-war European art.'

It is difficult to date Hunter's still-lifes; he did not often write a date on them and the pictures included in various exhibitions usually had ubiquitous titles like 'Still Life' which make identifying specific exhibits impossible. However, stylistically the present picture is likely to have been painted in the mid-1920s. At this time Hunter's still-life paintings were particularly vibrant, marked by a richness of colour and bold composition. As Derek Ogston highlights in The Life and Work of George Leslie Hunter 1877-1931, 'Leslie Hunter's later still life and flower paintings exhibit considerable variety in both style and subject. It is clear that he continued to experiment, although bright colour was a constant constituent of his work, often with vibrant colours of fruit echoed in the design on a vase or background curtain.' (p.46) There is a wonderful richness in the colours of this painting and an expressive use of the paint which suggests confidence and joy which is not always present in Hunter’s paintings. It was clearly painted during a period in Hunter’s career when he was invigorated by his art and painted his best pictures.  In the 1920s Hunter was encouraged by his friend and biographer Tom Honeyman to concentrate on painting still-life subjects and this was to give him a new and more focused direction in his work. In the Times review of 1923, Honeyman confirms that 'Mr Hunter loves paint and the flatness of paint. He loads it on lusciously...his still-life paintings are strong and simple in design and gorgeous in colour. Only his firm taste and his mastery of colour prevent him being blatant; but, missing that, he makes the heart glad, like wine.' (Times review of 1923, T. J. Honeyman papers, National Library of Scotland, p. 85) Honeyman further identifies that 'it is this unerring sense of colour that made Hunter the artist he became...never a jarring pattern is found, or an inharmonious tone in his colour schemes – rich and glowing as they are without a hint of garishness.'

In December 1925 a critically-acclaimed show of Hunter's work was held at the Alex Reid Gallery. A critic noted that 'Like all progressive artists, Hunter's art has advanced stage by stage until he has now evolved a style of his own, which in its compelling power and decoration and realistic elements is well in advance of anything he has hitherto achieved.' (Glasgow Herald, 15 December 1925) The same critic praised his pictures '... strong and striking in design and gorgeous in their colour harmonies. His favourite theme in this connection is a vase of flowers or a dish of fruit set against a richly patterned curtain.'

Scottish Art

|
London