GEORGE LESLIE HUNTER
PINK ROSES (RECTO); STILL LIFE OF ROSES IN A BLUE VASE (VERSO)
signed l.r.: L Hunter
oil on canvas
61 by 51cm., 24 by 20in.
Original canvas. There is surface dirt throughout and the work may benefit from cleaning. Overall though the work is in very good original condition.
UV light inspection reveals no evidence of any retouching or restoration.
Held in an attractive gilt frame.
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.
T. & R. Annan & Sons, Glasgow, where purchased by the father of the present owner
Pink Roses is a typical example of George Leslie Hunter’s still-life painting from the late 1920s. The influence of the French Post-Impressionist and Fauvist painters such as Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne is evident in the bold brushwork, vibrant colour and flattened perspective. Hunter became an avid admirer of modern art during his visits to Paris, which was probably where he first met two of his fellow Colourists, Samuel John Peploe and John Fergusson, in 1911. The 1920s were an important period in Hunter’s artistic development, and these years saw Hunter move away from the darker backgrounds and careful compositions of his early still-lifes which were heavily influenced by seventeenth-century Dutch painters such as Willem Kalf, whose works he encountered in the galleries of Glasgow. By the mid-1920s, Hunter mainly favoured lighter backgrounds, as shown in Pink Roses, which allowed further exploration of form and colour. Roses were commonplace in Hunter’s still-lifes, particularly in the years that followed a period of severe depression. He emerged from these difficult times with a renewed enthusiasm for life that was reflected in his vivacious handling of paint and vibrancy of colour. Pink Roses typifies both this and Hunter’s skilful fusion of Dutch still-life and Post-Impressionist influence.
In its handling, composition and subject, Pink Roses bears striking similarities to another of Hunter’s paintings, A Bouquet for Mollie, which was sold in these rooms 24 April 2006, lot 156. Mollie was the daughter of John Gibson Jarvie, Hunter’s cousin and a merchant banker who had aided Hunter during his financial difficulties of the early 1900s. A Bouquet for Mollie was given to her for her eighteenth birthday on 1 May 1928. The similarities between this work and Pink Roses are so marked that a connection between them is highly likely; possibly two slightly different versions of the same bouquet. An anecdote of Dr Honeyman in his biography of Hunter confirms that the artist did paint multiple works of the same subject. Honeyman recalls visiting his studio with a potential buyer in 1929 and viewing a still life of roses that had been ‘snatched from Hunter’s easel that very morning,’ and was one of two paintings from the same bouquet. (T.J. Honeyman, Introducing Leslie Hunter, 1937, p.162). There are, however, differences between A Bouquet for Mollie and Pink Roses, most notably the increase in foreground objects and defining lines in the latter.
The Scottish Colourists shaped the course of contemporary Scottish art and culture and enlivened British art with the vivid colour and free brushwork of French Post-Impressionism. Hunter was at the forefront of introducing modernism in British painting. Peploe confirming this commented that, ‘Hunter at his best… is as fine as any Matisse.’ (B. Smith & J. Marriner, Hunter Revisited, 2012, p.7)