Lot 79
  • 79

Mary Martin

Estimate
5,000 - 7,000 GBP
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Description

  • Mary Martin
  • Columbarium
  • signed, numbered 1/6 and dated 51 on the reverse
  • bronze with a gold patina on a wooden base
  • 33 by 33cm., 13 by 13in.

Provenance

Drian Gallery, London, whence acquired by John Milnes-Smith in January 1961 for £50

Exhibited

London Group Exhibition, November 1951 (the original plaster exhibited);
London, Drian Galleries, Construction: England: 1950-1960, January - February 1961, no.57 (this cast);
Oxford, Museum of Modern Art, Mary Martin/Kenneth Martin, May 1970, no.1, original plaster illustrated in the catalogue, and touring to Eastbourne, Exeter, Leeds,Wolverhampton, Manchester, Sheffield, Hull, Norwich, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Bristol;
London, Tate Gallery, Mary Martin, October - November 1984, no.1, original plaster illustrated in the catalogue;
London, Annely Juda Fine Art, Kenneth & Mary Martin, September - October 1987, no.4, illustrated in the catalogue (another cast);
London, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, A Selection of Post-war British Abstract Art, 1988, no.49 illustrated in the catalogue (as 'Placque').

Literature

Alastair Grieve, Constructed Art in England After the Second World War: A Neglected Avant-Garde, Yale University Press, New Haven & London 2005, pp.59,91,93-94 & 151, no.96, illustrated (the original plaster illustrated).

 

Condition

The bronze is mounted on a painted wooden board that is slightly dirty with some minor scuff marks to the edges, visible in the catalogue illustration. There is some surface dirt to the crevices of the bronze otherwise in good overall condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

Like her husband, Mary Martin's work began to move towards abstraction in around 1949, and her earliest abstract paintings show her pursuing the geometrically based composition themes that were current within the group. Columbarium was her first relief, and was created by carving into a slab of plaster that had been cast, and as such is unique as all the later reliefs were constructed. It is based around a system of rotating squares and rectangles using Hambidge's theories of root rectangles, and by incorporating slanting surfaces into the recessions. The overall effect is one of a pleasing complexity that looks forward to the relief work she would produce throughout her career.

Although this piece is numbered 1/6 on the reverse by the artist, in the 1984 Tate exhibition catalogue the edition is listed as numbering 4 casts. However subject study has confirmed the edition size to be 6.

 To be sold with a copy of the Drian Galleries catalogue, the original handlist with prices, the receipt and a letter from the gallery confirming that this cast is the one exhibited in the show listed above and a copy of the 1984 Tate Gallery Catalogue.