LAILA SHAWA | THE WELL
signed and dated Laila Shawa '67
oil on board
80 by 50 cm.; 31½ by 19⅝ in.
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This work is in good condition. There is a pinpoint of paint loss in the lower right corner possibly due to a frame abrasion. There is no restoration apparent when viewed under the UV light.
The catalogue illustration is fairly accurate with the original work having more orange tonalities and degradations of red overall in comparison to the catalogue illustration.
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.
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Collection of Hamman R. Shawa, Jordan (gifted directly by the artist in 1980)
Acquired from the above by the present owner
“The first painting made in Beirut not long after the devastating June war and the only known work of this type from 1967, The Well forgoes all allusion to landscape in favour of a hot expansive background of reds and yellows. Beneath the disc of a searing sun - a visual element recurring throughout Shawa’s oeuvre - three exhausted women in traditional garb with water urns, the diminutive well of the title and a bulky, masculine mosque, are strewn across the picture plane. Although it leans on works made for the 1965 Marna House exhibition in Gaza, such as Family (1965), the expression of isolation and suffering, a focus on architecture and the unmooring of compositional elements are new. This is a rare transitional work, prescient of the highly successful series of cities commenced in 1968 and, of a focus on the psycho-politics of women. The latter was explored in contiguous works under the umbrella title On Marriage and Prostitution, a highly expressionistic and controversial series of paintings, but abandoned only to be revisited and explored extensively after 1987.”
Laila Shawa in conversation with Christa Paula, January 2020