We are pleased to announce the formal representation of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust in London. We have worked with the Trust on aspects of international representation in the past but 2017 will mark a significant increase in our involvement, both in the UK and beyond. Works from the Trust will be exhibited at the London Art Fair (18th - 22nd January 2017) and plans are being laid for our first major London exhibition of the artist's work later in the same year.
Barns-Graham was one of the most important artists who convened in St Ives during the 1940s. Born in St Andrews and educated at the Edinburgh College of Art, she was encouraged to visit St Ives by her tutor, Hubert Wellington. After moving to the fishing village in 1940 she spent most of the rest of her life there, although she frequently returned to her native Scotland. Together with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth she formed part of a core of very progressive abstract artists. Her elegant early figurative paintings recall the early naïve work of Christopher Wood and Winifred Nicholson, but throughout the 1950s she developed her own abstract language that was derived from the landscape. Later experimentation led to a use of more geometric forms before a reversion to expressionism and an increasingly vibrant palette.
Although arguably under-valued in comparison to her most notable peers (Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost included), Barns-Graham has long been a stalwart of the secondary market. David Bowie was a keen collector of her work and two of her paintings appeared in the recent Sotheby's auction of his collection. A glacier painting - one of the most sought after periods of the artist's work - sold in the evening sale for a world record price of £106,250. In the following day sale, a beautiful view of Zennor took a hammer price of £50,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £12-18,000. Acting on behalf of a private American collector, Waterhouse & Dodd bid over the top estimate but came nowhere near securing the lot. These results are indicative of a number of factors: firstly, that her works have been sought by discerning collectors for some time; secondly, that interest in her work is rising; and thirdly, that she (unlike many other 'St Ives' artists) can boast a genuinely international following.
We are very excited to be working with an artist who was unafraid to push boundaries in her painting and embrace various stylistic developments. We have been successful in our representation of Barns-Grahams' work in the past and look forward to introducing much more to our existing collectors, as well as developing her reputation beyond the narrow confines of the modern British market.
For more information, please contact Jamie Anderson (+44 20 7734 7800).