Lot 5
  • 5

Ceri Richards

50,000 - 80,000 GBP
175,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Ceri Richards
  • Interior
  • signed and dated '50
  • oil on canvas


Redfern Gallery, London, where acquired by the family of the present owner in the 1950s


London, Redfern Gallery, Ceri Richards, Exhibition of Recent Paintings, 25th May - 24th June 1950, cat. no.20;
London, Redfern Gallery, Summer Exhibition, 6th July - 28th August 1954, cat. no.215.

Catalogue Note

'Apart from his radiant gifts as a colourist Ceri Richards is also an exceptionally rare draughtsman. In his best work... these two attributes combine together with singular power and persuasiveness.' (Bryan Robertson, Ceri Richards: A Retrospective Exhibition (exh. cat.), Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1960, p.3)

At the end of the Second World War Ceri Richards returned to London, settling in a large Victorian house on Wandsworth Common West Side. In the following years the artist produced a body of work that captured the peace and domesticity of his home life and are today celebrated as some of the most visually engaging of his oeuvre.

At the heart of this new body of work stood two of the century’s greatest and most celebrated artists, Picasso and Matisse. Richards had been well aware of their output for decades, pouring over the pages of R.H. Wilenski’s 1927 The Modern Movement in Art, and responding to their work in his paintings and drawings of the 1930s. This was re-awakened in 1945 with the joint exhibition of both artists at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, and further publications such as the arts magazine Verve, which saw two editions dedicated to Matisse published in 1945 and 1948. As author Mel Gooding writes: ‘For Richards painting was a universe of visual discourse in which living artists drew on the resources and discoveries of great predecessors’ (Mel Gooding, Ceri Richards, Cameron & Hollis, Moffat, 2002, p.81). Richards' drawings and paintings produced after his return to London so beautifully echo this.

Combining his love of music with painting, Richards set to work depicting family members – his wife, two daughters, or, as in the present composition, his sister Esther – within the music room, the piano sitting silent and untouched. In paintings imbued with familial domesticity, Richards drew on Matisse's rounded forms and Picasso's manipulation of perspective, seen in the angled top of the dresser sitting in the back of the present composition. But for all he drew from Picasso in terms both of style and subject (with the inclusion of two vessels that bear striking similarities to the ceramics produced around about 1950 by Picasso at Vallauris) it was Matisse that was to have the greatest influence on works produced during this period. As Gooding writes:  ‘What Matisse provided for Richards was a doorway into a room of his own’ (Ibid, p.93). Using a deep, rich red to depict the carpet and back wall, the eye is led around this domestic interior that overflows with culture and calm, capturing the hope that Richards and other artists of the immediate Post-War period felt. Now that the war was over, life and art could begin again.