Alongside six original works of art by L.S. Lowry, Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern & Contemporary Art Sale on 17th June will see the sale of an important Contemporary German sculpture, “Standart auf Kreuzsockel” (Standard on Cross Base) by A. R. Penck (1939-2017) (estimate: £30,000-40,000 plus buyer’s premium).
Born Ralf Winker (1939-2017) in Dresden in the wake of WWII and the partition of Germany, Penck was a painter, printmaker, draftsman, sculptor, filmmaker, and musician. He was a largely self-taught artist, the art academies of the German Democratic Republic having repeatedly denied him entry. In 1968 he began to exhibit illicitly in West Germany. The unlawful exhibitions led to the Stasi (secret police) watching him, so in 1980 he was expatriated from East to West Germany.
When he officially entered the West in 1980, his established his visual language of reduced, simplified stick figures and symbols influenced by Neo-Expressionism. He called his style “Standart,” standard symbols that could be understood universally, inspired by cave paintings. He utilised “Standart” to confront socio-political themes and personal emotions. In 1970 he said that “Every Standart can be imitated and reproduced and can thus become the property of every individual…What we have here is a true democratisation of art.” This unique stainless-steel figure is one of seven, each with a different base. The free-standing sculpture showcases the austere simplicity of the industrial material as well as the irregular depiction of the human body.
A group of works from a Private Collection by the renowned Scottish artist Pat Douthwaite (1934-2002) are also on offer in the sale, consigned by a friend of the artist. Alongside five drawings are “Annie Steiner with Sacrificial Goat” (estimate: £4,000-6,000), which was illustrated in the artist’s obituary in The Times, and “Me with Charlie, Eskdalemuir” (estimate: £4,000-6,000). Douthwaite was born in Glasgow, and initially studied movement, mime and modern dance under Margaret Morris, the wife of Scottish Colourist artist J.D. Fergusson. After changing to persue a career as an artist, she moved to Essex, then travelled the world before settling down as a painter and printmaker. Douthwaite’s work pursues a variety of theme, often reflecting the torment of humanity, and particularly that of women. Her expressive dark imagery combines vibrant colours with fragile lines.
Further works of note in the sale include “Village Normande” by Spanish artist Carlos Nadal (1917-1998) (estimate: £4,000-6,000), “St Mark’s Church, Hackney” by Harold Steggles (1911-1971) (estimate: £4,000-6,000), and a good group of vibrant paintings of his native Scotland by John Lowrie Morrison, also known as ‘Jolomo’ (b.1948), including “Rocky Beach, Iona” (estimate: £2,500-4,000).
Amongst the sculpture in the sale is ‘Warrior’ by Arthur Dooley (1929-1994) (estimate: £2,000-3,000). Dooley was a self-taught sculptor from Liverpool, who after working in the dockyards of his home city enlisted in the Army before running away to join the Palestine Liberation Organisation. He first experimented with sculpture whilst serving a sentence in military prison, and after release began working as a janitor at St. Martins School of Art. Here he observed the students and developed his characteristic style using discarded materials and particularly scrap metal, influenced by his past experiences working in the docks. In 1961 was given his first one man show at St. Martins. This patinate bronze sculpture depicts a Warrior, a recurring theme in Dooley’s oeuvre. Also of note are two sculptures by popular wildlife artist Guy Taplin (b. 1939). Taplin is known for his use of driftwood, which he carved and paints to create elegant depictions of birds. Now on offer is “Mallard” (estimate: £700-1,000) and “Merganser” (£600-800).