Still Life with Tulips and Fruit probably dates to the late 1920s during a period when Hunter's still life paintings were particularly vibrant. It is possible that this picture was the Still Life -Tulips exhibited posthumously at the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts in 1932 although another still life of tulips by Hunter is known at the Warwick District Council Art Gallery in Leamington Spa and several others are in private collections. '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 o his work, often with vibrant colours of fruit echoed in the design on a vase or background curtain.' (Derek Ogston, The Life and Work of George Leslie Hunter 1877-1931, 2002, p. 49)
During the 1920s Hunter was encouraged by his friend and biographer Tom Honeyman to concentrate on painting still-life and this was to give him a new and more focused direction in his work. With a ready market for Hunter’s still life’s of flowers, he painted over a dozen large and ambitious canvases during this period, with much enthusiasm. Hunter loved nothing more than to paint flowers and he relished the prospect of devoting his time to still-life painting. There was a renewed vibrancy and freshness to his pictures, a clarity of colour and a striking contrast in his work, which is exceptional. In the early 1920’s Hunter’s paint application had become rather tentative and lacking commitment, but later in the decade his paint was applied with spirit and force. As Honeyman, noted ‘Technique, as mere technique, did not interest him; it was the vision behind that mattered. With all his vigour and impetuosity, his impulsive artistic urge was instinctively right in choice of colours and tones. It is this unerring sense of colour that made Hunter the artist he became.’ (T. J. Honeyman, Introducing Leslie Hunter, pg. 211).
Still Life with Tulips and Fruit is contemporary with Still Life with Dahlias and Fruit (Sotheby's, Gleneagles, 31 August 2005, lot 1088). The two pictures follow the same compositional arrangements of an earthenware vase of flowers and a shallow dish of fruit on a patterned tablecloth with a brightly coloured drape behind. he white panelling behind the still life in both pictures offers a contrast of angularity to the curved forms of the glass, the vase and the apples.
This picture was withdrawn from the sale of Scottish Pictures, 24 April 2006 due to a dispute over ownership which has now been fully resolved.
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