Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988)   BIOGRAPHY

Gloxinia, 1934
Framed (ref: 39)
Signed and dated 1934

Pen, ink and wash on tracing paper, 15 1/2 x 8 5/8 in. (39 x 22 cm.)


Provenance: Patrick Seale Gallery; Miss E. Boyden, March 1983

Colquhoun made a number of drawings and paintings of plants during this period (for instance Crane Flowers, oil on canvas, 1935, lot 358, Christie's 9.6.89). They are not, strictly speaking, pure still lives, or pure plant studies; they reflect more her interest in abstract design and her passion for the exotic and the occult. In flower mythology the Gloxinia is associated with eroticism and is symbolic of love at first sight and pride.

Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988)

Painter, draughtsman, poet and lecturer, born in Shillong, Assam, India. Studied at Slade School of Fine Art, 1927-37, where her teachers included Henry Tonks, Randolph Schwabe and Vladimir Polunin, then privately in Paris and Athens. She exhibited extensively, at RSA, RA, LG, Contemporary Art Society, and had solo shows at Fine Art Society, Mayor Gallery and elsewhere. The Tate, Bradford and Cheltenham public galleries hold her work. She often painted in tempera and chose subjects of an exotic nature, treated in a surrealist vein, underwritten by fine draughtsmanship. In 1960-70 she developed Merz Collages (the term 'Merz' refers to the use of found objects and papers in these collages, a technique evolved originally by the Dadaist Kurt Schwitters). From 1970 onwards she began research into the occult and alchemy. She lived for many years in Paul, Cornwall. The Newlyn Orion Gallery held a retrospective of her work in 1976.

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