Lot 7
  • 7

David Bomberg

150,000 - 250,000 GBP
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  • David Bomberg
  • Moorish Ronda, Andalucia
  • signed and dated 35; also signed, titled and dated 1935 and inscribed with the Artist's address on Artist's label attached to the backing board
  • oil on canvas
  • 61 by 57cm.; 24 by 22½in.


Lilian Bomberg
Dinora Davies-Rees, the Artist's daughter
Ivor Braka Limited, London
Sale, Sotheby's London, 9th November 1988, lot 97
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, where acquired by David Bowie, 6th June 1994


Berlin & Dusseldorf, Konrad Fischer Galerie (details untraced);
New York, Hirschl & Adler (details untraced);
Cambridge, Heffer Gallery, David Bomberg, May - June 1954, cat. no.15;
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Laing Art Gallery, David Bomberg, 1890-1957: an Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, 17th May - 7th June 1958, cat. no.27, with Arts Council tour to Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Art Gallery, Middlesborough, Kettering Art Gallery, Northamptonshire, Arts Council Gallery, London, and Cartwright Memorial Hall, Bradford;
Coventry, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, David Bomberg, 3rd - 24th September 1960, cat. no.51;
Liverpool, Hope Hall, David Bomberg, 1961, cat. no.29;
London, Tate, David Bomberg, 2nd March - 9th April 1967, cat. no.59, with Arts Council tour to Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, City Art Gallery, Manchester, City Art Gallery, Bristol, and Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham;
Reading, Reading Museum and Art Gallery, David Bomberg and Lilian Holt, 4th June - 17th July 1971, cat. no.62, illustrated pl.5;
London, Fischer Fine Art, David Bomberg: A Tribute to Lilian Bomberg, 14th March - 12th April 1985, cat. no.60, illustrated p.25;
London, Tate, David Bomberg, 17th February - 8th May 1988, cat. no.123;
Ronda, Museo Joaquín Peinado, David Bomberg en Ronda, 1st - 31st October 2004, cat. no.4, illustrated p.43.


Richard Cork, David Bomberg, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1987, cat no.C40, illustrated p.223.


Original canvas. The canvas undulates slightly in places but otherwise appears sound. There are some lines of craquelure around the extreme edges of the canvas, where the canvas is pulled over the stretcher, with some small flecks of associated loss in places. There are some lines of craquelure in places, most apparent in the lower left quadrant and the lower centre. There are some scattered lines of reticulation to the work in places, most apparent towards the left edge. There is a small scuff towards the right side of the upper horizontal edge, with some associated loss. Subject to the above, the work appears to be in very good overall condition. Ultraviolet light reveals some retouching to a horizontal area of craquelure in the lower left quadrant, with a further speck of retouching to one of the dark brown areas of pigment in the lower left quadrant. There are also a few small specks of fluorescence elsewhere, which are thought to be in keeping with the artist's materials. ****unframed***** Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"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

Expelled from the Slade School of Art in 1913, David Bomberg transformed the visual vocabulary of British art before the First World War. In abstract masterpieces such as Ju-Jitsu (circa 1913, Tate, London) and The Mudbath (1914, Tate, London), scintillating geometric facets shatter traditional perspective and the innate energy of each composition is ferocious. It would be an understatement to say that Bomberg’s experiences on the Western Front during the First World War were to change all of this. It took him many years and many locations later to rediscover anything near the same unbridled intensity.

Having first visited Spain in the late 1920s, Bomberg returned in 1934, staying first at Cuenca before moving to Ronda, perched dramatically above a 400 ft ravine in the Southern region of Andalucia. Exploring the mountainscape by donkey, Bomberg was mesmerized by the raw majesty of the vertiginous topography as well as the breath-taking position of the town split in two over the ravine, both commanding the entire valley and yet completely vulnerable to the surrounding forces of nature.

The experience unleashed a dynamic flurry of work and Bomberg found a favourite vantage point three miles across the ravine: ‘I would sometimes wind my way down the old Moorish path at the edge of the ravine and cross the cultivated valley, climbing up again through the olive groves on the slopes of the opposite ledge on the afternoon of brilliant Andalucian spring days. Then I would forget everything but the ancient city on its glowing rock until the chill of the mountain touched me – the sun had gone – Ronda was in after glow and I was packing to go home…’ (the Artist, quoted in Bomberg en Ronda, (exh. cat.), Museo Joaquín Peinado, Ronda, 2004, p.9).

The elation Bomberg felt in Ronda is palpable and the body of work he completed there comes close to the raw intensity and abstract fervor of his pre-war paintings. In Moorish Ronda, Andalucia, Bomberg combines expressive flashes of jewel-like colour with black impasto that literally reverberates across the composition dissecting the mountainous panorama with a verve and confidence that reveals the artist at his very best.