An iconic painting by one of the country’s most popular artists working today is coming up for sale in Tennants Auctioneers’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale on 25th June. ‘The Ark’ by Gary Bunt (b.1957) is expected to sell for £12,000-18,000 (plus buyer’s premium).
Bunt, a self-taught artist, and poet based in rural Sussex, began painting full-time in his 20s. However, shortly afterwards he became seriously ill, which inspired a deep faith which is reflected throughout his work today. Bunt’s naïve and often whimsical style captures idealised scenes of English rural life, with themes of Christianity woven deftly through. Indeed, many of his works have a poem or prayer on the reverse, such as the present painting executed in 2013 of a children’s model Ark and teddy bears which reads “The Ark / Do animals believe in Jesus / Do animals say their prayers/ Are raindrops really angels tears? / Are there Christian Teddy Bears?”.
Leading 20th century artists represented in the sale include Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) one of Australia’s most important artists best known for his representations of legendary outlaw Ned Kelly and the drought-parched Outback. Nolan moved to England in the early 1950s, and the present works were gifted to the vendor who worked for Nolan’s widow, Mary, for many years. On offer is ‘Greece’, a mixed-media depiction of a sailing dinghy off the Grecian coast, painted whilst Nolan was staying on the island of Hydra with Australian writers George Johnston and Charmian Clift (estimate: £1,000-2,000), a lithograph ‘Ned Kelly I’ (estimate: £300-500), and two etchings depicting Ned Kelly and a cow carcass in the Outback (estimate: £300-500 each). Further notable works include ‘Vertical Lines’ and an untitled mixed media work by Sir Terry Frost (1915-2003) (estimate: £1,500-2,500 each), and a watercolour ‘Study of Lucky (Lux)’ by Maggi Hambling (b.1945). An album of photographs of the Ballets Russes’s performance of ‘Thamar’ by Keith Vaughn are also on offer, with an estimate of £700-1,000.