Monday, 30 September 2013

Albert Pommier (1880-1943) - Medals

Albert Pommier (1880-1943) was not an artist I knew until I spotted these medals during one of my many internet searches. These ethnic studies have the feel of Emile Monier with a slight hint of art deco and I need to know more about the artist and his works ---

These are titled
 Arabic selling fruit - Veiled Women
Moorish Dancer - Arab riding on a donkey. 

Albert was a French sculptor and medalist, his dates are dates are variously recorded as 1880/1882 - 1943/44, which can only make research more difficult. Although we are certain the he studied sculptor at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris in opening decades of the 20th Century. where, no doubt he would have been schooled in the traditions of 19th Century classicism.

He probably felt limited by such traditional styles and went off travelling to find "his style" - he is recorded as having stayed at the Villa Abd-el-Tif in Algiers and perhaps it was during this stay that he was inspired to create the medals illustrated above - two of these are held in the collection of the Algiers Museum. During his time there he was awarded the prestigious Prix Abd-el-Tif for sculpture in 1914.

Many of the medal seen are African subjects, both studies of the animals and the peoples. Here are a few more.

Another group of works are his military subject and War Memorials, all created c1916 to 1935. These include memorials at Frejus (see right) and another in Lyon. I am struggling with the translation, but I think the Frejus monument was carved from Carrera marble and exhibited at the 1937 Grand Prix de l'Exposition Internationale, yet another source suggests a date of erection as 1931.

Albert Pommier, was a talented sculptor but perhaps as commercially successful as many of his contemporaries, such as Jean Vernon for example.

Here is another medal showing the same soldier as the memorial.

His medals are signed with a PA monogram and I wonder whether this is reason so few medals are found on internet searches - lots of scope for attribution mistakes. Are more medals out there lying in stock boxes as "un-identified" artist ??

Friday, 27 September 2013

Around the Houses - Orlik & Friends

...... another instalment of my continuing series of "Around the Houses" high-lighting original woodcut, linocut and woodblock prints coming up for sale at auction houses around the UK.

Emil Orlik (1870-1932) - woodblock print
`Woman Gathering Wood in a Forest`
Lot 1763 - Woolley & Wallis - 20th Century Design 9th Oct
Estimated at £250-£350

also at Woolley & Wallis is ....

Lot 1595 John Hall Thorpe (1874-1947) "The Caravan"
Estimate £80-120 - a very fair estimate and I expect it to sell for above this price. Although the colours look to be better than most, the paper looks, from the photos, to be discoloured and will need a clean to revive it.

Horace W Tuck - "Fishermen in a Rowing Boat"
Lot 83 - Keys Fine Art Auctioneers - Picture Sales 4th Oct 2013
A small 4x7 inch woodblock print by Horace W Tuck (1876-1951).
He was a landscape painter printmaker and a member of the Norwich Art Circle. From the picture I have seen he painted in oil and watercolours, produced black line engraving as well creating this simple one block woodcuts. All seem to be local East Anglian views and subjects.

Mokuchu (Yoshijiro) Urushibara (1888-1953)
Carnations in a vase
Lot 150 - Bloomsbury Auctions - Watercolours, Drawings & Prints 17th Oct
I have in the past sold the more striking black back ground version of this image. I had it in stock for over 3 years and failed to sell it for a figure close to the £200-£300 estimate on this one. I always believed it was worth that and I am sure they will sell it - I was just the wrong person in the wrong place.

Elizabeth Keith (1887-1956)
Moro Boy, Philippines
Lot 138 - Christie's South Kensington - Travel, Science & Natural History
10th Oct 2013 - Estimate £600-800

Isabel de B Lockyer (exhibited 1914-1939).
"The Shop Window" the original design for a linocut, gouache on paper, signed in ink and dated 1930.The auctioneers say- "Little is known about the artist, though her work bears the influence of the Grosvenor School and William Giles."
Lot 159 - Dominic Winter Auctions - Two Day Sale of Paintings etc
Estimate - £500-800

Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966),
A Seated Figure Outside A Restaurant
Linocut, signed with monogram and dated 1899
Lot 721 - Sworders - Debden Manor 'An Architect's Eye

A small but excellent selection available in the next few weeks. Don't panic, I wouldn't be trying to buy any off these. You will not be "run up" by me, although I am sure some will be keenly contested. I will be at the Woolley & Wallis sale but not bidding on either the Hall Thorpe or the Orlik. I am not sure that the Orlik will sell but the Hall Thorpe will; and probably to some one bidding online.

My personal favourite image is the Isabel Lockyer, the technically best is the Urushibara and the most important "artistically" is either the Emil Orlik or Edward Gordon Craig.

Good luck if bidding.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

J Blair - Art Pottery Figures

I need some help !! with these recent purchases.

The one above is an endearing little art pottery figure of a crying girl with her dog and the one below is peasant girl sitting amongst the grass and toadstools.

They are both hollow cast earthenware pottery with the modelling competently executed, rather than good. However, the decoration and glazing are basic with colours and glazes trying to recreate the naive nature of early Staffordshire figures. The sensitive nature of the subjects suggest to me that the artist was most likely to be a lady and someone trained as artist sculptor rather than a potter. Luckily the girl and her dog is signed, with an incised name in the underside. -- "J Blair" if I am reading it correctly.

But who is J.Blair ??

This isn't a name that I have encountered before and might just be a one amateur production, even a student creation. However, the fact that they as hollow cast suggest to me a more commercial production as a mould would have been made and probably a series of figures cast. But by who?

My trusty "The Dictionary of British Artists, 1880-1940" provides us with John Blair (1850-1934) and Janet Blair (exh 1899-1913) as the only two likely candidates. John from Edinburgh, exhibited 109 works including 83 at the Royal Scottish Academy whilst Janet from Glasgow, exhibited only 6 works, 1 at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Art and 5 at the Walker Gallery.

Mak'Merry jugJohn Blair (1850-1934), born at Hutton, near Berwick upon Tweed and based in Edinburgh. He mainly worked in watercolour, painting landscapes views of Scottish towns and villages on the east coast, including Edinburgh and the Borders. So probably not our artist.

Another thought was a connection with Catherine Blair, the inspiration behind the Scottish Women's Rural Institute and it's pottery painting co-operative studio Mak'Merry.  See the example here, which is typical of the wares, doesn't have the same feel. So perhaps no connection at all !!

So Janet Blair remains a possibility, but not a certain attribution - do you know anything or fancy a bit of research - any comments welcome.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sleepy Children - eBay Results & John Brunsden

Not much to report -- As I guessed, I was surprised at the sale price of these two pictures.

The Cedric Hodgson "Poppy Sleeps" made the distressing amount of £9.99 !! Whilst the M R Ward failed to sell. With hand on heart; I really knew they were going to struggle. Why ?? everything about them is out of favour. Small is yesterday's size -- everything, including pictures has to super sized. Black and white is last centuries colours, minor artists and finally in today climate of political correctness, who wants to be seen buying pictures of other peoples young children!!

This week on eBay I am trying these --

Both are etching aquatints by the contemporary British art printmaker John Brunsden. The subject matter is quite different to the majority of pictures by him. Often his compositions are expansive stylised landscapes with sweeping vistas and mesmerising  perspectives.

I don't know whether the differences makes my pictures more or less desirable -- or perhaps just different. I will just wait and see.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Sleepy Children - Today on Ebay

Sorry; but this a blatant advert for two etchings that I am trying to sell on eBay. Both follow the theme of sleeping children and both have stories attached.

This one is signed M R Ward and date "09"

..... and this is by Cedric Hodgson or the Baron of Rye

Both a sensitive studies of children and a both quite small. Just the size that sold very well a few years age, much like the subject. The first was one of 2 similar studies I had for sales at the last Antiques for Everyone, the other was bought by "celebrity" dealer Mark Hill to use in his lectures on what to buy !! Naturally a lady fell in love with it and tried to buy it from Mark; sadly for her it was not for sale. As any good dealer would, he told the lady that she was in luck as he could point her to our stand with another similar picture of the same girl and still for sale. 

Soon after I sold the picture. Only for it to be returned 10 minutes later !! What & Why ? Well she had fallen in love with the other etching and this just wasn't the same !! I know many a dealer would have said "Sorry, darling, too late" but no; I returned her the money and here it is.

The second etching "Poppy Sleeps" is adorable, especially with the little Golly watching over her. This picture has already featured on this blog and was for sale on my gallery site - Where it was view by an enthusiast of this artist who emailed me to advise that they had not seen this picture before. A gauarnteed sale you would think --- NO

So --- there they are on Ebay for the whole world to bid on -- have look and watch. You will be amazed at the price they make.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Monica Poole - Tree Stump

I have already posted about the art Monica Poole (1921-2003) and her wood engravings.

I have recently been lucky enough to find another wood engraving by her -- titled "Tree Stump", which I picture just below.

The other pictures I have seen by her have been beautifully executed but quite traditional compositions. You know the type, very detailed studies of flowers and landscapes. This pictures takes the art of wood engraving to another level, it is a beguiling picture of a rotting tree stump, a darkly dramatic composition of decay. It reminds me of the Paul Nash (1889-1946) painting of the World Wars.

There seems to be so much more going on than a simple tree stump - is that a face I see inside the stump ? A Green Man of the wild wood taking refuse ? The only living things is Ivy, that parasitic plant that strangles the life from many a tree.

It is such a shame that wood engraving has fallen out of fashion, who does it today ? Once upon a time many a book or periodical was illustrated solely with these.