Lot 50
  • 50

Hurvin Anderson

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
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  • Hurvin Anderson
  • Beach Scene
  • titled and dated 2003 (NOV) on the stretcher bar
  • oil on canvas
  • 160 by 259cm.
  • 63 by 102in.


Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Private Collection, London
Sale: Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art Including Arab & Iranian Art, 16 October 2009, Lot 112
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner


London, David Risley Gallery, Hurvin Anderson, The Lime, 2003-04
London, Saatchi Gallery, Newspeak: British Art Now, 2010, no.11, illustrated


Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate, although the overall tonalities are somewhat softer in the original. Condition: This work is in very good condition. There is very minor wear to the bottom left corner tip. Close inspection reveals a faint network of very thin and stable hairline cracks to the bottom left corner. Very close inspection reveals a rubmark to the centre of the bottom edge. No restoration is apparent under ultraviolet light.
"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.

Catalogue Note

Untitled (Beach Scene) is a significant example of Hurvin Anderson’s oeuvre: a stunningly executed and magnificently accomplished example of the artist’s extraordinary painterly facture. Anderson imbues an ostensibly ordinary beach scene - families and holidaymakers amongst the surf and walking within the waves - with elements of uncertainty and ambiguity through adroit manipulation of the brush. Washes of pale grey pigment cover the lower portion of the composition, submerging shadowy figures beneath layers of paint so that the figures become ghostly echoes of their companions. An impressively dark sky contrasts with the bright blue of the ocean, resulting in a curious sense of dislocation as the viewer seeks to connect the brilliant azure of the sea with the apparent lack of visible sunlight. Yet in its depiction of seemingly carefree relaxation amidst tropical sand and sea, Untitled (Beach Scene remains eloquently evocative of the warmth and vibrant colours to be found on a Caribbean beach.

Untitled (Beach Scene) was painted in 2003, following time Anderson spent in Trinidad in 2002 as part of an artist’s residency programme at Caribbean Contemporary Arts. Daily life on the island proceeded to influence the subjects of many of Anderson’s paintings produced around this period and following his return to the UK; Untitled (Beach Scene) belongs to this category of works resulting from Anderson’s vivid memories of his experience in Trinidad. Anderson finds inspiration for his paintings from a combination of photography and memory, declaring that: “Memory is the trigger. I will start from an idea about a place. Usually once I’ve made the first thing, I realise there’s a whole new aspect. By the end it’s not necessarily associated with the thing you started with” (the artist cited in: Hossein Amirsadeghi Ed., Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios, London 2012, p. 366). Peter Doig, with whom Anderson studied at the Royal College of Art, also works from a conjunction of memory and photography, creating haunting scenes of Trinidad following his move there in 2002: indeed, in their investigation of painterly technique and formal compositional structure, the oeuvres of these two painters are closely connected.

The detached viewpoint of Untitled (Beach Scene) leads to a sensation of displacement, almost as though the artist is looking at the scene from behind a veil rather than fully taking part, an idea that reflects the freedom Anderson felt whilst being able to experience an entirely unknown place from an outsider’s perspective. The artist recalled this liberating feeling of social and cultural separateness whilst living in Trinidad: “What had the greatest impact on me was how I existed there. I was British one moment, Jamaican the next. If they didn’t know who I was, I could have been Trinidadian. So I existed in all these different places… It was intriguing to not exist anywhere” (the artist cited in: Ibid., p. 368). Untitled (Beach Scene) thus becomes the work of an impartial observer, created through the perusal of layers of different memories and associations. The result is a painting of immense importance within Anderson’s corpus that belies the apparently simple nature of the chosen subject whilst brilliantly conveying the luminous beauty of the scene.