JOHN GRAHAM | MARYA
dated 1941 and inscribed To Mar Ionnus
double-sided graphite, colored pencil and ink on paper
Sheet: 11½ by 9 in. (29.2 by 22.9 cm)
Framed: 19 by 16¼ in. (48.3 by 41.3 cm)
Please note that this work will be exhibited at Sotheby’s. Purchased items will be available for collection at Crozier Fine Arts, 1 Star Ledger Plaza, Newark, NJ as of Thursday, December 13th.
This work is in very good condition overall. The sheet is window matted and hinged along the reverse to the backing board. There is a slight discoloration to the sheet. There is a surface layer of dust and stray media, visible upon close inspection. There are scattered accretions to the sheet, primarily near the figure's right elbow. Please contact the Contemporary Art Department for a treatment report from past conservation. Framed in a double sided frame under Plexiglas.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
New York, Allan Stone Gallery, John Graham, April 1973
New York, Allan Stone Projects, Artists of the New York School, October - December 2016
New York, Allan Stone Projects, John Graham: Artist Sweating Blood, September - October 2017
New York, Allan Stone Projects, Draughtsmanship: Selected Drawings from the Allan Stone Collection, March - April 2018
As a bridge between European Modernism and the American Vangaurd, Graham has held a pivotal position in the Allan Stone Collection since the 1970s. During the 1930s Graham’s expertise in Surrealism and Cubism canonized him for a new generation of American Modernists, including de Kooning, Gorky, David Smith and Franz Kline, among others. Graham introduced them to the significance of the unconscious as a source of inspiration and thus contributed to the earliest developments of Abstract Expressionism. Graham rarely painted in any one style, choosing rather to let his intuitive impulses guide him from one theme to another. He studied mysticism and closely followed Freudian and Jungian psychology as they developed. Graham's eclectic impulses grew by the early 1940s as he incorporated elements of Cubism and Surrealism, but also Tribal art, of which he was an avid collector. The spectrum of cultural references in Graham's work points to his mystical tendencies, and gives ground for Eleanor Green’s characterization of the artist as an “avatar" (Eleanor Green and John Graham, John Graham Artist and Avatar, Washington 1987). This double sided drawing incorporates three of Graham's signature references: his wife Marya, who was the subject of some of his best known works; one of Graham's "avatars" or alter ego's with the signature "Ionnus;" and mythic warriors, with the cubist equestrian imagery on the verso.
Graham has been exhibited widely, with comprehensive retrospectives organized by The Phillips Collection in 1987, Allan Stone Gallery in 2005 and the Parrish Museum of Art in 2017. His works are found in numerous public collections, such as the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.